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Laurie M Conrad

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· We Meet in Dreams, A New Interpretation of Dreams

· Visits With Angels

· Realms of Light: Clairvoyant Experiences of Life After Death

· The Spiritual Life of Animals and Plants

Short Stories
· Still Working on the Musical Score of Glimpses: A Composer's Journal

· Filling in the Sketches for the Flute and Piano Piece : A Composers Journal

· Working on the Dance for “Glimpses”: A Composer’s Journal

· Finding Melodies and Harmonies for 'Glimpses': A Composer's Journal

· Sketching out 'Glimpses' for Flute and Piano: A Composer's Journal

· Starting to Write for Flute and Piano: A Composer's Journal Entry

· Another Story from The Spiritual Life of Animals and Plants

· Story From 'The Spiritual Life of Animals and Plants'

· After the Musical Score is Finished: A Composer's Journal

· Finishing the Musical Score of 'Unsung Songs: Songs of the Earth'

· The Medjugorje Hymn to Our Lady

· Writing the Musical Score: A Composer's Journal

· Our Lady's Newest Message from Medjugorje: A Mystic's Journal

· Copying Out the Music: A Composer's Journal

· Still Writing the 'Unsung Songs' Cycle: A Composer's Journal

· An Interview on Creativity and Mystical States: A Mystic’s Journal

· The Living Rosary : A Mystic’s Journal Entry: November 28, 2010

· Our First and Last Mistake: A Mystic's Journal

· Letting Go of the Past: An Exercise in True Being: A Mystic’s Journal

· The Madonna's Latest Message from Medjugorje: “Be My River of Love”

· Elegie

· 3 Poems for the Flute Piece Glimpses

· The Dancer

· Spring Song

· The Message

· Poems For the Dying

· Unsung Song: The Visit

· Two Songs: 'Sailboats' & 'A Feather'

· Poem: Words to the Song, 'The Storm'

· Poem: The Golden Arrow

         More poetry...
· See the CD cover for the 'Unsung Songs: Songs of the Earth' Here!

· Listen to my new piece Unsung Songs

· New Amazon Review of We Meet in Dreams

· Epilogue to New Book We Meet in Dreams

· New Book We Meet in Dreams Now Available on Amazon!

· More Reviews of the CDs 'Visions' and 'Images'

· Read the First Newspaper Review of We Meet in Dreams

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Books by Laurie M Conrad
The Dalai Lama's Visit to Ithaca, N.Y.: The Doctrine of Emptiness: Training the Mind, Verse Eight: Meditation Class: A Mystic's Journal Entry, November 8, 2007 by Laurie Conrad.

Thursday, November 8

This week we continued our studies of the Eight Verses on Training the Mind written by Langri Thangpa (1054-93), the final verse:

Verse Eight:
By ensuring that all this remains undefiled
From the stains of the eight mundane concerns,
And by understanding all things as illusions,
I will train myself to be free of the bondage of clinging.

This verse in a way includes all the other seven vows: if we can free ourselves of all attachments to all forms, the previous seven vows are not difficult to achieve. This is why in his lecture, His Holiness the Dalai Lama called the last two verses the "short path".

By ensuring
For me, this phrase, By ensuring is similar in nature to the phrase I will train myself, which is found in all eight verses or vows: i.e. it is our own responsibility to put these vows into practice, to live them. No one can take these vows for us, nor practice them for us.

all this
We decided that all this referred to the previous seven verses.

remains undefiled/ From the stains of the eight mundane concerns
I asked the class what the eight mundane concerns were. After some thought, Trudy answered: "We don’t know what they are." Which is true , we did not know. However: it is not necessary to know specifically what those eight mundane concerns are. The point is that they are mundane, and therefore connected to the ego - and that to entertain them defiles and stains the Mind of Clear Light and our lives, as all the aggregates, or ego thoughts, do.

And by understanding all things as illusions
This is the key to this valuable verse. First, I asked the class for a definition of The Doctrine of Emptiness: this Tibetan Buddhist Doctrine is often misunderstood in the West. Westerners tend to think of it as a doctrine that supports nihilism, that nothing exists - which is not true . In fact, in past lectures I have attended, the Dalai Lama has warned us against falling into nihilism. His Holiness has suggested that if we feel that we are falling into nihilism that we apply the antidote, i.e. remind ourselves that mundane, conventional, physical reality has its own conventional reality.

The Doctrine of Emptiness
, for the Tibetan Middle Way Buddhists, means that all forms are empty of independent, inherent existence.

This includes the ego, or "I thought". Chris took notes at His Holiness’ lecture on The Eight Verses of Training the Mind and she gave them to me after class. Chris had written: "The ego, the personality, the small self is also devoid of inherent existence. ‘Self’ and sense of ‘I am’ are constructs based on physical and mental elements, derived from factors that cannot stand on their own. Therefore, the self is empty of inherent existence. The self only exists in dependent relation with physical and mental elements or aggregates. The physical and mental elements also have no true Reality (and here the Dalai lama mentioned Quantum physics.). Grasping at the sense of ‘I am’ is at the root of our afflictions. For instance, holding onto a notion of self leads to attachment and clinging."

In other words, if we examine who we are: we are more than our thoughts and emotions, more than our personalities and physical bodies. If we examine our personality or ego: it is only comprised of thoughts that come and go. Therefore, those thoughts cannot have inherent existence; they arise within the mind and physical brain, a physical brain which is dependent upon our physical body. Our physical body is dependent upon our parents for its very existence, and the food we eat and the water we drink for its continued existence. Therefore, we must be something more than the ego or personality and physical body. If this is so, then our ego or smaller self - does not independently, inherently exist. Our ego self is devoid of true Reality.

The Doctrine of Emptiness
is closely connected to The Doctrine of Dependent-arising. The Dalai Lama would say that nothing in form inherently exists, i.e. nothing in form has Ultimate or True Reality or Existence. Everything in form - all physical and mental things and objects, including our own physical bodies - depend on something else for their very existence. Therefore, they do not independently, inherently exist. For instance, if we take the example of a wooden cart: if we take the cart apart, take its wheels off, disassemble the sides and bottom: where is the cart? The cart is dependent on the tree’s wood, the wood cutters, the workmen that cut the wood and those who then assembled the cart. The cart does not exist on its own, is does not independently or inherently exist. The tree is dependent on other factors for its physical existence as well: the seed that began it, the rain and sun that supported its growth. For the Tibetan Buddhist, all forms are empty of independent, inherent existence. Any thing in form is dependent on something else for its very existence; therefore nothing in form can be Ultimately Real.

In this sense: the world is illusion.

And by understanding all things as illusions,
I will train myself to be free of the bondage of clinging.

In other words, if we understand the Doctrines of Emptiness and Dependent-arising: we can then train ourselves to be free of clinging, or attachment.

I asked the class why attachment put us into bondage, why we need to rid ourselves of this clinging. Diana said: fear of loss leads to anger which leads to hatred which then leads to jealousy and greed: in other words, attachment leads to pain and suffering. Trudy said that attachment to things or people blocks us from the Higher; attachment replaces the Higher in our lives, i.e. we get stuck in material forms. I asked the class to define "forms" and they said forms included material things, ideas and emotions, as well as people, animals and flowers and all other beings.

I added that these illusions also include the notions of time and space, and the notions of duality and separation. If we think we are merely the physical body, and that others are merely their physical bodies - then we will feel separation from others. The erroneous notion of duality tells me that I am here, sitting on the couch - and Pam is there, across the room - i.e. that we are two separate entities separated by space. To know that space does not ultimately exist as we know it, we need only to examine the bilocation skills of the saints of many religions; to disprove that time ultimately exists, we need only to examine the clairvoyance of the saints of many religions. Separation, as we experience it, either of time or space, does not Ultimately exist. Only our human perceptions convince us that separation exists. If we realize that separation does not truly exist, then we will not cling to anything in form, there is no need to cling.

Then I asked the class how the Doctrine of Emptiness could help us overcome the bondage of clinging, or attachment. M. said: "What are you clinging to, if it does not ultimately exist?".




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