THE PATH OF STILLNESS
"O mind, make this resolve: I am bound to others.
From now on you must not be concerned with anything but the welfare of all sentient beings."
Welcome to my website! My name is Chökyi (this is my Buddhist name, which in Tibetan means "joy in dharma"), and I am an aspiring yogini in solitary shamatha retreat within the Buddhist tradition of Dzogchen.
This is a brief story of my journey into retreat:
I longed to enter retreat from the first time I came into contact with Lama Alan´s shamatha and Dogzchen teachings in 2016, even though at the time I barely knew any Buddhist dharma and I didn´t really know what retreat would entail. In less than a year, and with very little preparation, I had left my job to join the winter retreat in Holy Island, followed by Lama Alan´s 2-month retreat in Tuscany. Shortly after, in July 2017, I entered solitary retreat under his guidance and I have never looked back.
My interest in meditation began as a result of delving into the relationship between body and mind through years of practice as a complementary therapist, slowly coming to realize that sustainable and genuine wellbeing, the authentic alleviation of suffering I wished for my clients, comes only from deeply understanding and transforming the mind. Looking for methods to achieve this, I trained as a MBSR teacher, but I found that the secular approach to meditation did not offer the depth of practice and knowledge I was seeking. It was then that I encountered Lama Alan´s meditation teachings and became interested in shamatha and the Buddhist contemplative approach.
"Is it possible for people like us, screwed up by modernity, to fully achieve shamatha, to go through all stages and fully get it? There is no doubt that it has been achieved by many individuals in the past, many of my lamas have. Is it possible for us, are we too damaged goods?
Shamatha is a temporary retreat into simplicity from the complexities of the world. For a while you withdraw, you are useless to the world. You withdraw because of compassion.
Is it worth it? It´s a major investment!!!! It´s a lot of sacrifice, time, effort… What is the return? Atisha, who is said to be the speech emanation of Padmasambhava, says that if you achieve shamatha you can do more good in the world in one day that in hundred lives without it.
But is it possible? What if I fail, have I wasted my time? That´s impossible, if you have the right motivation, practice correctly with ethics, even if you do one day is useful.
Every moment of practice is a success."
- B. Alan Wallace
I believe that sustainable positive change in the outer world can only occur through the radical transformation and healing of one´s mind, and I am committed to attain and embody the highest expression of this I am capable of. It is my heart´s deepest wish to fully devote my life to the path of Dogzchen, exploring the potential of the mind and of human consciousness through contemplative practices.
I feel this is the most meaningful way I can be of service to this world, and I hope the insights and experience that I am gaining will contribute to its positive transformation. That´s why I am thrilled to have been accepted as volunteer for the Center for Contemplative Research, which will enable me to participate in their scientific research program, to help acquire the knowledge and develop the methods for cultivating the inner and outer harmony and peace urgently needed for the flourishing of this planet.
"This is the Buddha’s view, this is what he has found to be true: consciousness is not physical, it goes back and back, and it will continue, continue; suffering and its causes can be removed from the mind utterly – and that’s a pretty revolutionary concept, philosophically and psychologically – and that every being has this got this potential. And it’s got far more subtle levels of cognition than we posit in modern psychology and neuroscience. The Hindus discovered this before the Buddha: with śamatha, they accessed these subtler levels of their own mind. And still today there are people like you and me, up in the mountains, metaphorically or actually, accomplishing this single-pointed concentration. It is not a dead technique. It’s a living technique, and it was around well before the Buddha; he happily took it with him when he diverged in his own direction."
- Ven. Robina Courtin
I want to thank Lama Alan for his teachings and guidance, for his kindness, patience and trust in me; my loving, patient and generous parents; my vajra brothers and sisters, for their continuous encouragement and support; and all of my friends, with many of whom I have not spoken for several years, for their patience and understanding.