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Overcoming Obstacles with the Initial Scope Lam-rim Teachings
Introduction Tomorrow is the Buddhist holiday known as Lhabab Duchen in Tibetan, or the Descent from the Heaven of the Thirty-three in English. The best way to celebrate this special day is to have a Buddhist teaching on the four noble truths, the first teaching that the...
Overcoming Obstacles to Realizing Renunciation, Bodhichitta and Emptiness
The Context for Understanding Emptiness
Voidness (emptiness) ̱̱is a very difficult topic, but a very essential topic. In order to approach it, we need to see where it fits into the general presentation of the Buddhist teachings. As we all know, Buddha taught his understanding, his realization in terms of what is...
The Emptiness of the False “Me”
What’s the Point of Studying Buddhism?
When we talk about meditation in a Buddhist context, we’re talking about something rather specific. Nowadays, we often hear the word “meditation” in all sorts of places, because it has quite a good reputation and many people are using it as an aid to relaxation and so on....
How to Study Buddhism: Listening, Thinking and Meditating
Overdependence on the Spiritual Teacher
Avoiding Overdependence on Others for Spiritual Energy Even after committing oneself to a spiritual path and establishing a disciple-mentor relationship, maintaining energy and motivation in one's spiritual practice may often present a challenge. Thus, seekers need a variety...
Unhealthy Relationships with Spiritual Teachers
Self-Voidness & Other-Voidness in the Four Noble Truths
This weekend I’ve been asked to speak about self-voidness and other-voidness, what is called in Tibetan rangtong (rang-stong) and zhentong (gzhan-stong). This is a very advanced topic, and very complicated, and also a very important topic. Therefore, it requires a great deal...
Main Points of Self-Voidness and Other-Voidness
Brief Review We started our discussion of the Eight Verses of Mind Training by Langri Tangpa, with the first verse: (1) May I always cherish all limited beings by considering how far superior they are to wish-granting gems for actualizing the supreme aim. We discussed how...
Commentary on “Eight Verses of Mind Training” – Dr. Berzin
Avoiding Causes for Mentally Wandering from Bodhichitta
Verses 2 and 3 Review Prostration and Buddha-Nature We have been discussing the first verse of Bodhisattva’s Garland of Gems, which has to do with how to meditate in general and, more specifically, how to meditate on bodhichitta. The topic was introduced by the prostration or...
Commentary on “A Bodhisattva’s Garland of Gems” – Dr. Berzin
Mahamudra: Finding the Mind and Attaining Shamatha
Clarification of Points about Kagyu and Sakya Teachings There are many different traditions, for instance in Kagyu there’s the tradition of two streams merged together, which refers to having both sutra and tantra mixed together within the mahamudra teachings. The disciple...
Commentary on “Root Text for Mahamudra” – Tsenshap Serkong Rinpoche
Relationships with All Beings, a Spiritual Teacher and a Yidam
According to Buddhist analysis, not only do a self that is hugging someone, the other person being hugged and an action of hugging arise dependently on and simultaneously with each other, a self that is hugging also arises dependently on and simultaneously with many other...
Dependent Arising of the Self in Terms of Relations with Others
Exercises & Further Points Concerning Negative Influences
Review Throughout our lives we have the thought of ourselves in terms of “me” and “my life.” We’ve experienced this the entire span of our lives, not just one year of it, and because we’re not some rigid, solid blob that can’t be affected by anything, we’ve been influenced by...
Work-Life Balance: How to Get More Satisfaction in Life