A conversation about God: Can a Buddhist use the word ‘God’?

Even after fifty five years I still find, like you that my word for that awe-inspiring, all-pervasive sense of benevolent presence is ‘God’, yet like you all my spiritual connections are Buddhist and the Buddha’s teachings are what I live by. The majority of western Buddhists are not from that camp I think – there experiences with God and God language are not positive and often never were. It is a very interesting area isn’t it? Continue reading A conversation about God: Can a Buddhist use the word ‘God’?

Can I listen to music when I meditate? Or use an object to focus on?

Some people are not able to engage properly with vipashyana because they just haven’t enough Shamata [calm abiding], and sometimes the reason is that they are too tense and so relaxation needs to be their first step.
Others are too loose so focusing on a single object helps to bring the focus back to a single point in order to settle and integrate the mind and body enough to be able to develop vipashyana. Continue reading Can I listen to music when I meditate? Or use an object to focus on?

Does Awareness – Openness Clarity Sensitivity – disappear during deep sleep?

Queen Shrimala in the Shrimaladevi Sutra says to the Buddha, there are two great mysteries that are hard to understand – first how the chitta (heart-mind) is primordially pure and second how what is primordially pure can become obscured. Continue reading Does Awareness – Openness Clarity Sensitivity – disappear during deep sleep?

Lama Shenpen teaching Emptiness Dependent Origination Tibetan Buddhism

Lama Shenpen Teaching in February on Dependent Origination

Lama Shenpen will be giving her first teaching of the new year on Saturday 13th February as part of the Teaching & Meditation weekend running from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th February. Lama Shenpen will introduce this year’s Living the Awakened Heart teaching theme of Insight into Emptiness, with the focus of this teaching being Dependent Origination. The weekend will continue with teachings from Dashu, … Continue reading Lama Shenpen Teaching in February on Dependent Origination

frozen wave against sunlight

How should we interpret the word ‘Chitta’ – the heart-mind – as we take our understanding and practice deeper?

‘Mind’, ‘heart’ and ‘awareness’ all work in various contexts – but not in a particularly precise way – but look out for when mind seems to be taking you into your head and thinking… Continue reading How should we interpret the word ‘Chitta’ – the heart-mind – as we take our understanding and practice deeper?

multiethnic couple meditating together in park

What does the word ‘bliss’ mean in connection with love & compassion teachings?

I wonder if this is a question about what bliss means exactly in this context. It is likely that it is this word that is confusing you. We tend to think of bliss as an intense version of a strongly excited state of being happy. If so then its not really the right word here…. It doesn’t help others for you to be overwhelmed by their pain and suffering – it helps them for you to bring your heart and its natural qualities of connection – your calm and compassionate presence… Continue reading What does the word ‘bliss’ mean in connection with love & compassion teachings?

unrecognizable pilgrims touching prayer wheels in ancient temple in nepal

What Does Accumulating ‘Merit’ Mean? Understanding Punya & that we are punya itself

Punya is rather misleadingly translated as merit but since punya belongs to us, it is our personal wealth and power, which we can give away for the benefit of others. In order to give to others in a way that will truly benefit them, we have to think about what is the most effective way of using our punya… Continue reading What Does Accumulating ‘Merit’ Mean? Understanding Punya & that we are punya itself

tealight candle on human palms

How should we practise for those who have died? Do we focus on their ‘old’ identity? Should we expand the practice to all beings too?

When someone is in our heart they are always in our heart – through life through death through all their lifetimes and all our lifetimes too. That is how the Bodhisattva vow works, that is why we can make a vow to bring all beings to Awakening. It makes sense because we are connected with all beings in our hearts whatever life circumstances they are in or identities they have adopted. Continue reading How should we practise for those who have died? Do we focus on their ‘old’ identity? Should we expand the practice to all beings too?