Balancing the Heart and Mind

B. Alan Wallace
Balancing the Heart and Mind:

Practice of the Four Immeasurables and Shamatha Meditation

(December 10, 2006)

The Jefferson Tibetan Society of Charlottesville, VA was pleased to host author, scholar and accomplished Buddhist practitioner Dr. Alan Wallace for a 2-day meditation retreat, Balancing the Heart and Mind: Practice of the Four Immeasurables and Shamatha Meditation.

B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. is an internationally known meditation teacher, dynamic lecturer and scholar, one of the leading American translators, and on the forefront of Buddhism and Science research. He has been involved in the serious practice, study and translation of Buddhism for 35 years. He is one of the two primary translators to H.H. Dalai Lama for the Mind and Science conferences and research projects. His extensive books on Buddhism are helpful to people of the Vipassana and Zen traditions in addition to those of all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Alan has engaged in extensive retreats throughout his life, including numerous solitary retreats and was a co-teacher of a 1 year Shamatha retreat. He will be leading two 3-month Shamatha retreats in 2007 as part of the pioneering Shamatha Research project, a scientific study of the long-term effects of meditation on cognitive, attentional and affective functioning. He graduated summa cum laude from Amherst college, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science and has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University. He was a Buddhist monk for 14 years and has edited, translated and authored or contributed to more than 30 books on Buddhism, medicine, language, science and culture.

Here you can get some of his publications.

"We need to work with both the heart and mind, and their integrated cultivation is crucial to balanced spiritual practice." In this 2 day retreat on Balancing the Heart and Mind, Dr. Alan Wallace will focus on the cultivation of shamatha (meditative quiescence) and the Four Immeasurables (loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity). His unique combination of traditional Buddhist knowledge and modern psychology allows him to present these topics in a way that is both vivid and at the same time analytic and profound. The retreat will include extensive instruction, silent meditation and guided meditations, interspersed with periods for group discussions, focused on the practical applications of these practices in daily life.

The Jefferson Tibetan Society's primary function is to provide teaching and meditation practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as exemplified by His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings. See for more information.

Teachings in MP3 & OGG Format:

The Aspiration of Samantabhadra

All that appears and exists, all of samsara and nirvana,
Has one ground, two paths and two results.
It is the display of awareness and ignorance.
Through the aspiration of Samantabhadra
May all be fully awakened
In the citadel of the dharmadhatu.

The ground of all is uncomposed,
An inexpressible, self-arisen expanse
Without the names "samsara" and "nirvana."
If it is known, buddhahood is attained.
Not knowing it, beings wander in samsara.
May all beings of the three realms
Know the inexpressible ground.

I, Samantabhadra
Know naturally that ground
Without cause and condition.
I am without the defects of superimposition and denial of outer and inner.
I am unobscured by the darkness of mindlessness.
Therefore, self-appearance is unobscured.
If self-awareness remains in place
There is no fear even if the three-fold world is destroyed.
There is no attachment to the five desirables.
In self-arisen, non-conceptual awareness
There is no solid form or five poisons.

The unceasing lucidity of awareness
Is five wisdoms of one nature.
Through the ripening of the five wisdoms
The five families of the first buddha arose.
From the further expansion of wisdom
The forty-two buddhas arose.
As the display of five wisdoms
The sixty blood drinkers arose.
Therefore, ground-awareness never became confused.
As I am the first buddha,
Through my aspiration
May beings of samsara's three realms
Recognize self-arisen awareness
And expand great wisdom.

My emanations are unceasing.
I manifest inconceivable billions,
Displayed as whatever tames beings.
Through my compassionate aspiration
May all beings of samsara's three realms
Escape the six states.

At first, for bewildered beings
Awareness did not arise on the ground.
That obscurity of unconsciousness
Is the cause of bewildered ignorance.
From that unconsciousness
Emerged terrified, blurry cognition.
Self - other and enmity were born from that.
Through the gradual intensification of habit
Sequential entry into samsara began.
The five poisonous kleshas developed.
The actions of the five poisons are unceasing.
Therefore, since the ground of the confusion of beings
Is mindless ignorance,
Through the aspiration of myself, the buddha,
May all recognize awareness.

The connate ignorance
Is a distracted, mindless cognition.
The labeling ignorance
Is holding self and other to be two.
The two ignorances, connate and labeling,
Are the ground of the confusion of all beings.
Through the aspiration of myself, the buddha,
May the thick, mindless obscurity
Of all samsaric beings be dispelled.
May dualistic cognition be clarified.
May awareness be recognized.

Dualism is doubt.
From the emergence of subtle clinging
Coarse habit gradually develops.
Food, wealth, clothing, places, companions,
The five desirables and beloved relatives --
Beings are tormented by attachment to the pleasant.
That is mundane confusion.
There is no end to the actions of dualism.
When the fruit of clinging ripens,
Born as pretas tormented by craving --
How sad is their hunger and thirst.
Through the aspiration of myself, the buddha,
May desirous beings
Not reject the longing of desire
Nor accept the clinging of attachment.
By relaxing cognition as it is
May their awareness take its seat.
May they attain the wisdom of discrimination.

Through the emergence of a subtle, fearful cognition
Of externally apparent objects
The habit of aversion grows.
Coarse enmity, beating and killing are born.
When the fruit of aversion ripens,
How much suffering there is in hell through boiling and burning.
Through the aspiration of myself, the buddha,
When strong aversion arises
In all beings of the six states,
May it be relaxed without rejection or acceptance.
Awareness taking its seat,
May beings attain the wisdom of clarity.

One's mind becoming inflated,
An attitude of superiority to others,
Fierce pride, is born.
One experiences the suffering of disputation.
When the fruit of that action ripens
One is born as a god and experiences death and downfall.
Through the aspiration of myself, the buddha,
May beings with inflated minds
Relax cognition as it is.
Awareness taking its seat,
May they realize equality.

Through the habit of developed dualism,
From the agony of praising oneself and denigrating others,
Quarrelsome competitiveness develops.
Born as an asura, killed and mutilated,
One falls to hell as a result.
Through the aspiration of myself, the buddha,
May those who quarrel through competitiveness
Relax their enmity.
Awareness taking its seat,
May they attain the wisdom of unimpeded activity.

Through the distraction of mindless apathy,
Through torpor, obscurity, forgetfulness,
Unconsciousness, laziness and bewilderment,
One wanders as an unprotected animal as a result.
Through the aspiration of myself, the buddha,
May the light of lucid mindfulness arise
In the obscurity of torpid bewilderment.
May non-conceptual wisdom be attained.

All beings of the three realms
Are equal to myself, the buddha, in the all-ground.
It became the ground of mindless confusion.
Now, they engage in pointless actions.
The six actions are like the bewilderment of dreams.
I am the first buddha.
I tame the six types of beings through emanations.

Through the aspiration of Samantabhadra,
May all beings without exception
Be awakened in the dharmadhatu.

From now on whenever a powerful yogin
Within lucid awareness without bewilderment
Makes this powerful aspiration,
All beings who hear it
Will be fully awakened within three lives.

When the sun or moon is grasped by Rahu,
When there is clamor or earthquakes,
At the solstices or at the year's change,
If he generates himself as Samantabhadra
And recites this in the hearing of all,
All beings of the three realms
Will be gradually freed from suffering
And will finally attain buddhahood
Through the aspiration of that yogin.

From the Tantra of the Great Perfection Which Shows the Penetrating Wisdom of Samantabhadra, Chapter Nine.

Translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso and The Dzogchen Ponlop, Rinpoche.

Kaccayanagotta Sutta

To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View)
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

Listen to this Sutta online at

The Nectar of Manjushri's Speech

Audio Recordings from
Khenpo Sönam Tobden's Teachings
Khenpo Kunpal's commentary
'The Nectar of Manjushri's Speech'
on the Bodhicharyavatara

The recordings were made during Rigpa Shedra East 2006/2007 in Pharping / Nepal. Khenpo teaches in Tibetan. The recordings contain English translation by Gyurmé. The teachings on this commentary will finish beginning of April 2007, but there are already 100 hours of teaching MP3 online.

You can download all recordings at

Additional Study material

Andreas Kretschmar's translation of the first five chapters of Drops of Nectar, Khenpo Kunpal’s commentary on Shantideva’s Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas is available as PDF at (free download, includes Tibetan of commentary as Wylie text)

The Padmakara Translation Group (French site) will publish a complete English translation of Khenpo Kunpal's commentary in November 2007: see Wisdom-books.

Dharma Calendar for Western Europe

This is a small calendar for Dharma events for western Europe. It covers, in particular, teachings from Mahayana and Vajrayana teachers in the german speaking area of Europe (Austria, Germany & Switzerland), as well as some events in neighbouring countries such as Italy, France, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, etc. I try to include as many events as possible, but the calendar is, of course, not complete, nor is it always up to date.

Click here to open the calendar in a new window.