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.
In this video I review a bunch of different kinds of meditation cushions and one meditation bench. I have spent so much time on cushions in my life, not just while I was pretending to meditate, but also while receiving teachings. A good meditation cushion is essential at least as important as a good mattress. A good cushion supports your meditation posture and is still comfortable after many hours of use. A great cushion is still comfortable after “many hours for many months or even years” of use.
The other night I attended a talk at the Interdependence Project in New York. The talk was given by two psychologists who use mindfulness meditation in their practice.
If you live near New York or know someone who does, you might want to check out one of the What Meditation Really Is events that are taking place in the next two weeks. More info after the jump...
This was sent in by Melle, a friend of ours from the Netherlands...
Holding the train in your arms
The train can be an excellent place to meditate. Especially when you manage to get a seat. The train I regularly commute on is one of the busiest lines in the country. It has the airport as one of its main stops and lots of business people use the coaches as their first working space of the day. You have the grumpy people hiding in their papers, avoiding any contact, and the rise-and-shine early chit-chat ladies all mixed together in a relatively small room, travelling at about 100 km/hr. Feelings are bound to rise, and not always in a very flowery way.
Mindfulness probably means slightly different things in different traditions of meditation. At WMRI we usually talk about three principles for using an object, such as the breath, a candle or even the state of non-distraction itself, as the focus of our meditation.
1) Mindfulness – which is the pure knowing or awareness of the object.
2) Watchful Awareness – making sure that we are keeping our attention gently focused on the object
3) Abiding or Remaining Spaciously – It is said that we should ‘train in letting the mind remain’. We should remain in whatever we are aware of, be it:
—meditating with an object like watching the breath, or
—simply remaining in the state of non-distraction or pure awareness of the present moment.
Approximately forty-five people attended my talk, which took place in a conference room at the bank. I was really impressed by the people I met. They have very stressful jobs and not a whole lot of spare time and yet they made time to come and meditate and learn more about meditation. These folks were sincerely interested in learning how to uncover the inherent wisdom, love and compassion that we all possess. The fact that we could discuss the relationship between contentment, mind and meditation in a corporate environment is actually very cool.
The Tenzin Gyatso Institute’s Scholars program is a revolutionary program, inspired by HH Dalai Lama, to bring the living tradition of Tibetan Buddhist wisdom together with the insight and intelligence of modern scientific research. If nothing else Tibetan Buddhist philosophy will become much more accessible and relevant for people if the world views that it refutes or builds upon weren’t only those that were in vogue in India fifteen hundred years ago. But as one scientist says in the following video maybe the Tibetans couldn’t have sent a man to the moon, but if they had been part of the project we could have gotten there without having to fight about it.
There is a lot of stuff on the web right now about Steve Jobs’s spiritual life. Even his last words (“Oh Wow, Oh Wow”) have captured people’s imagination.
Below is the video I made of the talk Josh gave that night. I have titled the talk the Implications of Spiritual Practice and Relationships. Josh deftly combines poignant cultural observations, challenges of following a spiritual path and quotes from the Buddha. Plus he has a good sense of humor. Enjoy!
p.s. Keep an eye out because next week, Josh will make his debut as a whatmeditationreallyis.com blogger.