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Guru & Avalokiteshvara: Guru-Yoga, Refuge & Bodhichitta
This weekend I’ve been asked to speak about a practice that was composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama called The Yoga of the Spiritual Master Inseparable from Avalokiteshvara, which is a practice of guru-yoga that focuses on the development and practice of compassion. And...
Commentary on "The Guru Inseparable from Avalokiteshvara" – Dr. Berzin
Cherishing Others Gives Meaning to Life
Introduction In our weekend seminar we will focus on refuge. If we look at any of the Buddhist texts, we find that refuge is always described as the most fundamental aspect of the Buddhist path. In fact, it is the entry way into Buddhism. Refuge defines the dividing line...
Refuge: Putting a Safe Direction & Meaning in Our Lives
Developing Interest in Benefiting Future Lives
Background of the Text This text was written by Atisha, a great Indian master who lived about 1,000 years ago. He had been to study in Indonesia on the island of Sumatra. He had made a long, very difficult journey there. Buddhism had spread there long before, and he went...
Commentary on “Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment” – Dr. Berzin
The Buddhist Framework for Mahamudra
Initial Sketch of the Topic "Mahamudra" is a Sanskrit word meaning "great seal" and refers to the nature of all phenomena. Just as a wax seal is stamped on legal documents to authenticate their signature, likewise the nature of reality is figuratively stamped upon everything...
The Practical Application of Mahamudra
Essentials for Understanding and Practicing Tantra
Defining Tantra in Terms of Basis, Path and Result I am delighted to be here and to have this opportunity to speak with you about approaching Vajrayana as a Westerner. This is always an interesting question. Is there really a difference between approaching it as a Westerner or...
Approaching Tantra as a Westerner
Mahamudra: Review of the Common Preliminaries
Introductory Verses The text begins with the salutation and promise to compose: Namo mahamudraya: Homage to mahamudra, the great seal of reality. I respectfully bow at the feet of my peerless guru, lord of that which pervades everywhere, master of those with actual...
Commentary on "Root Text for Mahamudra" – Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche
Mind Training for an Initial Lam-rim Scope
Verses 1 through 7 Taking Advantage of Being in a Holy Place As I explained yesterday, we are at a special place here where the Buddha manifested his enlightenment and where many enlightened beings have been. Nagarjuna and his two spiritual sons, for instance, and many...
Commentary on “37 Bodhisattva Practices” – The Dalai Lama
Conviction in the Dharma
Review of the Main Points of the Lam-rim The lam-rim is divided into three scopes, each with different states of mind that act as pathways enabling us to reach enlightenment. This structure was first formulated by the great eleventh-century Indian master Atisha, who was...
Self-Transformation through the Lam-rim Graded Stages
Proper Friends, Safe Direction, Ethics, and Liberation
Verses 5 through 9 Brief Review We have seen that Togme Zangpo starts his poem with a presentation of the main points that we find in the lam-rim, the graded stages of the path. After paying homage to Avalokiteshvara, and the promise to compose the text, he talks of the...
Commentary on “37 Bodhisattva Practices” – Dr. Berzin
Traditional Stories: Karma & Refuge
Continuation of Refraining from Using Divisive Language Yesterday, we were speaking about the fifth destructive action, which is using divisive language. We have already covered the three destructive actions of body and the first of speech. We were discussing the second...
Traditional Stories about Life, Death, Karma and Refuge