Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Observer and the Observed

(Back from two and a half week retreat with Ruth Denison, at Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center, I am devoting the next few weeks to sharing Ruth's wonderful teachings.)

A while ago, I lamented the lack of media presence for women Buddhist teachers. As a small step, I took many short videos of Ruth throughout the retreat. Here is the first one in the series, catching Ruth during an impromptu sharing about her experience of awakening:

Very profound, and beautiful . . . 

One evening, I got a glimpse of the oneness alluded to by Ruth. She had asked us to join her for one last sitting, after a joyful dance to the tune of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. A few  minutes in, there was the experience of body dissolving, completely, and leaving only pure energy, boundless. A very powerful moment, that tore apart prior illusions of separateness and solidity. 


  1. Thank you for sharing these teachings and stories! They're just wonderful. I'm so glad you had such a great experience during your retreat and I'm loving reading about it!


  2. I am glad, Nate. Sharing them is a real privilege.

  3. @ATerryS @MindDeep Thanks. Years ago I read some Krishnamurti. "the observer and the observed" stuck in my mind. Now I have a better understanding

    @itsalldhamma RT @MindDeep many many thanks for the Ruth Denison video honoring #krishnamurti "The observer is the observed"

  4. I read J. Krishnamurti before I started the practice, more than eight years ago, I was around 19.
    I found him very clear as opposed to many who called him 'difficult'. Writing to say I was glad to hear Ruth mention and then see people say the same thing in the comments -brought a sense of unity :)

    Dear Marguerite,
    May these moments of unity revisit thee. May these moments be more expansive, may you dwell such.

    Truth and lv

  5. Yes, Pooja. Our habitual way of being is so narrow and constricted. We are conditioned to spend most of our life thinking about random stuff, rather than truly living. Hence the need to practice, practice, practice.

  6. thank you so much for sharing this!

  7. And thank you for the gift of your appreciation! Ruth is such a treasure of wisdom. I wish more people could benefit from her teachings.

  8. A note of appreciation from Katherine Rand:

    Many thanks to Marguerite Manteau-Rao for filming this little video on her recent retreat. I believe that Ruth’s ability to convey this experience and to elicit it in others is tied to her emphasis on the body in her teaching. I too credit Ruth and the short retreat I did with her for moving me from theory to practice, a real “aha!” moment and inside / outside dropping away.

    Look forward to more shared wisdom…