Tasting the Essence of Tantra: resource page gateway

This is the place where people involved in Rob’s course series can find links to the resources associated with their group.
These resources are kept on password protected pages not because they are so serious or secret, but because the group is private.
This is mainly for two reasons:

  • The teachings given require explanation & a firm grounding before the practices can be put into action in a beneficial and supported way
  • We would like to support having a safe-space for people to share their personal experiences without being nervous about things that they share leaving the group

In this regard, please remember and respect your agreement with the group to keep these teaching materials and that which others share in the group private. This includes not sharing the audio recordings with people outside the group. If you have any questions about the reason for this or how a privacy policy (tavshedspligt) works concretely, please talk to your group, your group’s coordinator or to Rob Preece, as he will be very happy to explain it in more depth.

A full description of the course can be found here.
Click on a thumbnail or module title for access to materials and recordings.

Shakyamuni_detail-forweb
Module 1:
 Becoming a stable vessel 
completed: 22-24 May 2015
In this module we will begin to work with the awareness of sensation, feeling and emotion within the body. This creates a sound basis of practice and a resource to help stabilise our relationship to our emotional life and the body. Within this we will explore the cultivation of a sense of definite emergence (renunciation) and refuge. This retreat will be supported by the practice of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Learning Objectives:

  • To learn ways of being with feeling, emotion and sensation that become a stable resource in life.
  • To restore and open a healthy relationship to the body
  • Learning to listen to the inner wisdom that comes through a deeper relationship to the body and feeling.
  • Seeing the ways of being that bind us in unconscious ignorance
  • Cultivating the intention to awaken from these unconscious ways of being
  • Cultivating the quality of refuge in the three Jewels
  • Developing a relationship to the meditation of Shakyamuni Buddha


Chenrezig-icon-150x150
Module 2: Awakening right intention
completed: 30 October -1 November 2015
During this retreat we will begin to explore the healing of some of our wounding to our sense of self through developing compassionate presence. On the basis of compassion for ourselves we will develop the practices of Tong Len and the meditations for awakening Bodhicitta, the aspiration to serve the welfare of others, entering the Bodhisattva path. This retreat will be supported by practices associated with the deity Chenrezig.

Learning objectives:

  • Cultivating a healthy sense of self acceptance through compassionate presence
  • Beginning to open the quality of compassionate presence for the sake of others
  • Deepening the experience of compassion and loving kindness through Tong Len (Taking and giving)
  • Opening the heart of Bodhicitta as the intention at the route of Tantric practice
  • Taking the Bodhichitta Vow
  • Developing a relationship to Chenrezig through meditation.

Manjushri

Module 3: Discovering the nature of mind
completed: 20-22nd May 2016
In this module we will bring together the insight of emptiness from Madyamika philosophy with meditation on the nature of mind in Mahamudra. We will look at the cultivation of the insight of emptiness and explore the stages for developing the practice of tranquil abiding and deepen the understanding of Buddha nature, Dharmakaya as the innate clear light nature of mind. This retreat will be supported by introducing the deity Manjushri.

Learning objectives:

  • Developing the capacity of clear present awareness resting in the nature of mind from the Mahamudra tradition
  • Establishing an understanding of the stages of tranquil abiding and the obstacles to be overcome in the process.
  • Gain a taste on a more felt level of the underlying presence of Dharmakaya as the ground of being
  • Developing a relationship to the deity Manjushri

Module 4: The nature of Deity practice
completed: 28-30th October 2016
In this module we will look more deeply at the psychology of deity practice and the sadhana developing our relationship to the sacred through prayers, offerings, prostrations and creating sacred space. We will look at the deity as gateway to our innate Buddha nature and how visualisation and mantra bring a taste of the deities quality.We will also explore the meaning and significance devotion and the role of the deity in guru yoga. This retreat will be oriented around the practice of Green Tara.

Learning Objectives:

  • To experience a sense of the sacred in deity practice as we create the environment in which the deity is invoked.
  • Learning the essential heart of the practice of sadhana or method of awakening the deity.
  • Learning the rituals of offering and exploring a personal creative relationship to prayer in relationship to the deity
  • Learning to create sacred space and the sustaining of a deity practice in the context of retreat
  • Developing the relationship to the deity Tara

Module 5: Awakening the energy body
completed: 19th- 21st May 2017
In this retreat we will shift attention to developing awareness of the energy body, introducing the processes of healing and purification and the significance of working with exercises such as Kum Nye. We will explore the nature of the Chakras and their function and the relationship the elements of nature. We will look at the kind of energy problems that can arise in the body because of our emotional life or through meditation, and how they can be healed. We will explore the roll of an alchemical vessel in the process of transformation and healing. The practice of Vajrasattva will be introduced as a basis for healing.

Learning Objectives:

  • To increase sensitivity and awareness of the nature of the energy-wind body and how it moves within us
  • To learn ways of being with energetic processes that emerge in meditation
  • To gain a deeper experience of the processes of healing and purification and how they can be applied in practice
  • Integrating the relationship between the deity and the energy body as a felt experience
  • Developing the beginning of the relationship to the deity Vajrasattva
  • Gaining more immediate connection to the innate nature of mind through the practice of Vajrasattva

Module 6: Working with the shadow
completed: 27-29th October 2017
During this retreat we will begin to look at the transformation and purification of the shadow. We will go deeper into ways of working with the energy of our emotions and psychological patterns looking at their purification and transformation through symbolic ritual. We will explore the relationship between peaceful and wrathful deities, introducing the principle of transformation used in higher tantra practice. This retreat we will introduce the deity Vajrapani and the fire practice of Dorjekhadro.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learning to recognise aspects of our nature that need to heal and transform
  • Learning ways to purify and transform emotional and psychological patterns
  • Deepening the understanding of the archetypal nature of deities in the transformation process
  • Understanding the meaning of the alchemical vessel in the process of transformation
  • Learning to work with channels of transformation in life
  • Learning the practice of Vajrapani.
  • Learning the fire ritual practice of Dorjekhadro as a means of purification.

 



Module 7
: 
The Masculine and Feminine
completed: 20-22nd April 2018
In this module we will begin to look at the inner and outer relationships between the masculine and feminine expressed in the nature of tantric daka/dakini and Jung’s anima/animus. We will begin to explore the significance of our search for union on psychological and energetic level. We will look at the meaning behind the divisions of mother and father tantra. This process will be supported by deepening the practice of Heruka Vajrasattva looking towards the practices of Higher tantra.

Learning Objectives:

  • Opening up our relationship to our male and female sides and how they live within us
  • Recognising the meaning of the daka/dakini as profound aspects of our nature
  • Understanding and experiencing a taste of our innate unified male and female nature in the aspect of the deity Vajrasattva/Varjaprabhavati
  • Understanding the outer inner and secret aspects of our male/female nature and their awakening
  • Understanding the psychological significance of the journey of Mother tantra.


Module 8: The Mandala and Visions of wholeness
completed: 26-28th October 2018
In this final retreat we will begin to draw together elements of practice that have gone before into a more cohesive whole. This will emphasise the relationship between form and emptiness and its expression in the mandala as a symbol of the homeostatic nature of the psyche. We will explore the 5 Buddha families and 5 elements and their contribution to the psychological nature of wholeness. During this week will also begin to look at the way forward in terms of individual practice and further personal retreat.

Learning objectives:

  • Gaining an experience of the nature and meaning of the mandala as a vision of totality
  • Recognising the non-dual relationship between form and emptiness
  • Bringing the relationship to the process of the retreats to a sense of completion both individually and as a group working together
  • Looking at ways to carry practice out into the work or life
  • Learning how to bring together the conditions for personal retreat
  • Exploring where personal practice may need to go from here.
  • Any other business!

 

Recommended Reading:

The Wisdom of Imperfection, The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra, The Courage to Feel, Preparing for Tantra, by Rob; Introduction to Tantra, by Lama Yeshe; The Three Principle Aspects of the Path, by Geshe Sonam Rinchen; An Ocean of Ultimate Meaning, by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche; Awakening the Heart, by John Welwood.