Mitra Karl Brunnholzl’s teaching clearly demonstrates his wealth of academic knowledge and his profound experience acquired on the path of study and practice. In the first talk of this weekend teaching MItra Karl presented the four major schools of Buddhist thought, Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Yogachara (sometimes referred to as Chittimatra or Mind Only) and Madhyamaka, skillfully distinguishing between viewing these schools from a historical perspective and from a practice experience perspective. This single talk, which is included in this set of recordings, is also available as a separate recording and is highly recommended for anyone studying the four schools. In Talk 1 of his teaching on The Union of Mahamudra and Madhyamaka, Mitra Karl provided commentary on two verses (Five Stanzas on Love and The Entrance into the Prajna of Madhyamaka) that present the relationship between Mahamudra practice and Madhyamaka analysis. With a delightful mix of knowledge, experience, and humor, MItra Karl made material that would otherwise be nearly impenetrable understandable and extremely helpful. In the final two talks of the weekend, he presented the practice of Mahamudra based on a commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche on the Kagyu Lineage Supplication. With respect to Mahamudra Shamatha he taught the essence of the practice in three points and then provided instruction on using a variety of meditation objects. With respect to Mahamudra Vipashyana, he presented and elaborated extensively on the triad of stillness, movement and awareness. For this topic he referred not only on the Kagyu Lineage Supplication, but also to two pith instructions on stillness, movement and awareness: Pointing Out Instructions by Künkyen Dashi Öser and Pith instructions on Mahamudra by Ju Mipham Rinpoche. All of the texts Mitra Karl relied in this teaching can be found in his book, Straight from the Heart: Buddhist Pith Instructions (Snow Lion, 2007). Having these texts in front of you is necessary to get the full benefit of this teaching. Throughout these talks, Mitra Karl invited questions which he entertained with patience and wisdom. In addition, he offered a full hour of Q&A at the end of the first day. All of the teachings presented in these talks were extremely helpful even for practitioners who already have significant familiarity with Mahamudra Shamatha and Vipahsyana practice. These talks are long and packed with insight.
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