Erric Solomon was born in Boston, USA and has been studying and practising Buddhism under the guidance of Sogyal Rinpoche since 1984. Under Rinpoche’s guidance Erric also studied under Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche and Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche in Nepal, and has received teachings from many of the most accomplished Tibetan teachers of the last 30 years.
Erric worked in Silicon Valley, California as vice president of software engineering in one of the world’s largest software companies, before he moved to France in 2006 to do the Three Year Retreat in Lerab Ling. Since the end of 2009 he has been an Executive Director of Rigpa International, where his management experience and his Dharma knowledge are brought to bear. Erric directs the department of Educational Resources and plays a key role in curriculum development. Under Sogyal Rinpoche’s guidance, he has been directing the devlopment What Meditation Really Is, a new dynamic approach which combines a blog, online access to teachings, courses given in Buddhist centres and an online course in order to offer meditation instruction to as broad an audience as possible. Erric is especially interested in developing Public Programmes and exploring ways of communicating the principals of Buddhism outside of a traditional Buddhist context.
If you live near San Francisco and are interested in finding more out about meditation and the What Meditation Really Is program here are two events you should consider checking out. I will be at both of them.
With our What meditation really is App you can get the blog, the Dare to Meditate guide and our library of Teachings and Interviews on your iPhone/iPad/iTouch. Please let us know how you like it and how we can improve it by leaving a comment. And please don’t forget to rate the App in the iTunes App store. And yes we are also working on an Android version. Photo and comments after the jump...
These days there is all kinds of interesting stuff on the web about meditation and that's a good thing! After the jump you will find some links to recent articles and videos about meditation.
The Wisdom of Compassion: Teachings with Patrick Gaffney in San Francisco
When I think of my list of great teachers that almost no one knows about, Patrick Gaffney is at or near the top. For those of you lucky enough to come to the Wisdom of Awareness seminar last June, you know what I am talking about as he was one of the speakers.
For most of his life Patrick has preferred to stay in the background. But he was the co-editor of Sogyal Rinpoche’s Tibetan Book of Living and Dying as well as an accomplished translator of Tibetan texts into English. Now, Sogyal Rinpoche is asking Patrick to teach publicly. Rinpoche has said of Patrick, “he is one of my oldest and closest students; and if anyone were to understand my mind or my work, it is him.” Anyone who has seen Patrick teach before knows that he brings a clarity and depth of explanation to the teachings that can really transform our understanding.
I am always looking for books on the Buddhist view on emptiness and that I can give to my non-buddhist friends, or people who are just starting on the path, whenever they asked about the Buddhist view.
Years ago, one of my friends at work, an incredibly intelligent, intellectual former professor, asked me for two books. I based on what I knew about him, I gave him Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and a translation of a traditional book on reasoning and philosophy. He liked Suzuki Roshi and couldn’t get past the first few pages of Chandrakirti. The problem is that traditional texts on emptiness are written for people who are already Buddhist and often assume quite a scholarly education. Even most of the contemporary ones are too.
So I really wanted to read Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyal’s book, "The Power of an Open Question: The Buddha's Path to Freedom". I asked her for a copy, offering to review it here. She agreed. Then I panicked. She’s a friend, what if I hate the book? I don’t know if that is an open question, but that is the one I had when I started to read the book.
But after reading her “personal koan”, I started to forget about my question and ponder hers. Most of us try to ignore the inevitable and spend our lives trying to grasp what cannot be grasped and then suffer the discontentment that follows or worse.
When I was in Boston a month or so ago, I got a chance to visit with Marvin Minsky. Professor Minsky was the co-founder of the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT and one of the pioneers in the field of computer science and robotics.
Since the early 1950s, Marvin Minsky has worked on using computational ideas to characterize human psychological processes, as well as working to endow machines with intelligence. In the early 1970s, Minsky and Seymour Papert began formulating a theory called The Society of Mind which combined insights from developmental child psychology and their experience with research on Artificial Intelligence. The Society of Mind proposes that intelligence is not the product of any singular mechanism, but comes from the managed interaction of a diverse variety of resourceful agents.
So I thought it might be fun to ask him some questions about what is the “sense of self”, awareness and consciousness.
I caught up with Dan Goleman recently in New York. Neither of us could think of where to meet, so somehow we ended up at the infamous Olive Garden chain's Time Square Flagship. Well, it is the pinnacle of the Olive Garden experience with views in every direction of the Square. And we discovered they have gluten-free pasta for those of you where that is an issue.
Dan was especially interested in hearing about the whatmeditationreallyis.com meditation program. I posed the following question to him and this was his answer:
In this video, from April 2005, Sogyal Rinpoche explains about how we can discover the source of true contentment. In less then ten minutes, Rinpoche explains the connection between the mind, meditation and contentment. This video is from the WhatMeditationReallyIs.com course.
I met someone the other night who criticized one of the most popular and successful secular meditation programs out there. His point was that while it is wonderful that people are meditating and through mindfulness leading healthier lives, BUT, there is nothing in that system that promotes any kind of ethical behavior. In other words, you can meditate in the morning and then lie, cheat and steal all day long. My new acquaintance’s position was that ethical behavior is a necessary component for true spiritual discovery.