A Student asks:
You use the term ‘Formless Meditation’ I am wondering what the Tibetan is for this? Is it the same as meditation without characteristics?
Lama Shenpen Replies:
Formless Meditation is a term coined by Trungpa Rinpoche which is clearly meant to include far more than simply a Shamata practice without a particular focus or object (Tibetan: dmig pa med pa) or characteristic (mstan ma med pa).
He clearly didn’t mean a practice of formlessness that led to the formless god realms.
I think he meant it to be a general term for the discipline of sitting looking directly at your experience without relying on any kind of gimmicks – just being simple.
It contrasts with the various form practices that are available in Tibetan Buddhism.
I inherited the term from Rigdzin Shikpo and am not particularly happy with it as a term even though it seems to suit people because if they are looking for simplicity – formless sounds just what they are looking for – no belief system involved!
Learn how to practice Formless Meditation, or how to take your meditation practice deeper with Lama Shenpen’s Living the Awakened Heart Training – a structured, comprehensive, supported, distance learning programme. The training, which is open to all, brings the profound Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings to a western audience in an experiential, accessible way, through spiral learning. Find out more and how to join at www.ahs.org.uk/training
If you would like to make an offering in appreciation of Lama Shenpen’s teaching and wish to support her activity, please do so here.