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Sharpening the Sword of Prajna: The Awakening of Insight

Practice Teachings of Ven. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche with Judy Lief

“Prajna is of absolute, utmost importance in Buddhism. As you are progressing on the path, even if you are not yet enlightened, there are always glimpses of prajna. Prajna discriminates between entities very clearly. It distinguishes between what is and what is not, but it does not promote or reject anything.”

The focus of this year’s retreat will be on vipashyana and the awakening of prajna or knowing. Prajna “best knowing” extends from simple intellectual understanding to direct intuitive insight.  On the path of dharma, the ability to think clearly, to develop curiosity, to question and engage with the teachings is essential.

Shamatha, or mindfulness, practice provides a foundation. With that grounding, vipashyana or insight practice, brings clarity and brightness. Vipashyana gives rise to prajna; in turn, prajna gives birth to the realization of egolessness and the open expanse of shunyata.

Vipashyana awareness extends the meditative experience into all the activities of daily life. As meditation in action, it cuts through dullness and disconnection and awakens a more sharp, fresh, and tender approach to life.

Topics include:

  • The dawning of vipashyana from the ground of shamatha
  • Engaging with the dharma
  • The connection between shamatha, vipashyana, prajna, and egolesssness
  • The crucial role of inquisitiveness
  • Gentleness as the mark of learning

In this course, we will focus on volumes one and two of The Profound Treasury, which covers the hinayana and mahayana teachings of the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Profound Treasury is based on thirteen years of lectures given by the Vidyadhara at the Vajradhatu Seminaries, advanced programs for his senior students. Judith Lief, a close student of the Vidyadhara, is a Buddhist teacher and the editor of The Profound Treasury.

Judith Lief

Judith Lief is a Buddhist teacher who trained under the Tibetan meditation master Ven. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She has been a teacher and practitioner for over 35 years, and continues to teach throughout the world. Ms. Lief was a close student of Ven. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who trained and empowered her as a teacher in the Buddhist and Shambhala traditions.

Ms. Lief is an author and editor of numerous books on Buddhist meditation and psychology including Making Friends with Death: A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality. Her articles have appeared in The Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, O Magazine, Buddhadharma, and The Naropa Journal of Contemplative Psychotherapy.

The love and wisdom that were put into creating this beautiful retreat container was so tangible and felt magnificent.Volker S
This retreat is the best combo of study, practice and companionship – and Judy Lief is simply awesomeStephanie T
This is much more than a great program: it is about Legacy, the continuation of the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa’s transmission to a new generation and into the future.Gina S
I appreciated that we began in silence for two days, to calm the mind and allow us to greet and get to know each other on a more than surface level. I was grateful for the short talks throughout the retreat on the meaning of the chants and rituals. Judy’ s teaching talks are…peerless. I don’ t know how else to say it. Her lived experience of the path is palpable. Soothing to my soul.Christopher B