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About the Meditation

Meditation session led by Rebecca Li

The guided meditation begins at 21:28.

For centuries Himalayan practitioners have used meditation to quiet the mind, open the heart, calm the nervous system, and increase focus. Now Western scientists, business leaders, and the secular world have embraced meditation as a vital tool for brain health.

Whether you’re a beginner, a dabbler, or a skilled meditator seeking the company of others, join expert teachers in a forty-five-minute weekly program designed to fit into your lunch break. Each session will be inspired by a different work of art from the Rubin Museum’s collection and will include an opening talk, and a twenty-minute sitting session.

This program is presented in partnership with Sharon Salzberg, the Interdependence Project and Parabola Magazine.

Related Artwork

Lama (Teacher), Milarepa; Tibet; 18th century; stone; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; F1997.52.4 (HAR 700037)
Lama (Teacher), Milarepa; Tibet; 18th century; stone; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; F1997.52.4 (HAR 700037)

Theme: Awaken


Milarepa is remembered for his remarkable determination and inspiring story of personal growth, which traces the progression from confusion to clarity.

Milarepa was born to a wealthy family, but his father’s death left him and his mother at the mercy of his aunt and uncle, who put them to work as servants. At his mother’s request, Milarepa studied the craft of black magic so he could retaliate against their cruelty. Once he mastered these magical skills, he used them to kill his aunt and uncle’s entire family. Soon after, his joy faded and was replaced by inescapable remorse, leading him to seek out a master teacher.

Nyingmapa Lama Rongton sent Milarepa to learn with Marpa, who realized that Milarepa had to first purify himself from the negative karma he had accumulated. He gave Milarepa an extremely hard apprenticeship, which included building towers out of rocks with his bare hands, then being ordered to tear them down. But Marpa eventually gave Milarepa full transmissions of all the Mahamudra teachings from Naropa, Maitripa, and other Indian masters. Practicing these teachings for many years in isolated mountain retreats, Milarepa attained enlightenment.

About the Speaker

Rebecca Li, a Dharma heir in the lineage of Chan Master Sheng Yen, is the founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community. She started practicing with Master Sheng Yen in the 1990s and served as his translator until his passing in 2009. She later trained with and received full Dharma transmission from one of his Dharma heirs, Dr. Simon Child, in 2016. Dr. Li teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures, and leads retreats in North America and the UK. She is a sociology professor at The College of New Jersey, where she also serves as faculty director of the Alan Dawley Center for the Study of Social Justice. Her latest book is Allow Joy into Our Hearts: Chan Practice in Uncertain Times. Find her talks and writings at