The Apramanas and the Five Buddha Families

Love and compassion express themselves differently in different situations and we all need all of them both in ourselves and in others and as a society. Furthermore they all contain within themselves the other four energies/qualities in different measure. Any of one of them becomes distorted if not combined sufficiently with all the others. Continue reading The Apramanas and the Five Buddha Families

Pure Lands Part 2: Mantra and Pure Lands

Saying their name, it’s as if we are invoking them and then recognising that they have a power to connect to you. If it’s an Enlightened Being, they have the power to connect you to your own Awakening, the Mandala of Awakening. You could call it the ‘Samadhi of Awakening’. The Pure Lands are a special kind if samadhis created by Awakened beings for other beings to enter. So they are actually a special kind of shamatha and vipassana. Continue reading Pure Lands Part 2: Mantra and Pure Lands

life story, namtar, vimoksha, past lives, reincarnation, UK Buddhist teacher, Lama Shenpen Hookham, female UK Buddhist teacher.

Our life story as our path to Awakening: How does our story go from life to life?

The story passes from life to life in the sense that it is still your story however you tell it. You are the person and the story is basically your path to Awakening be it fast or slow. The stories we tell ourselves all fit into the whole in some way or another – the whole thing is not in time or space Continue reading Our life story as our path to Awakening: How does our story go from life to life?

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Do we need to listen to the same teachings again and again?

It is interesting isn’t it? I remember being amazed to see Tibetan Lamas looking totally absorbed,  listening to one of their number talking about simple things like the precepts and Refuge, the six realms and so on, and being clearly moved by the teachings even though they had heard the same teachings from childhood. 

I got the sense that for them it was like being born into a pure realm where they were hearing only the Dharma and they were just rejoicing at being there and hearing the truth of it – as if it were also a meditation for them – a reminder of deep truths and always with the possibility this time it might go just that bit deeper and become a genuine realisation coming to them and changing their mind forever… Continue reading Do we need to listen to the same teachings again and again?

Long Read Part 1: What is a Pure Land? And Why pray to be reborn there?

First of all we need to know what a Pure Land is and what it means. Eventually we learn that the pure land is nothing other than our true nature. The pure land manifests in the heart when we realise that our true nature is our Buddha nature. So why call this a pure land? Why a place? We are Buddha nature. We are expressions of Buddha nature so why talk about it as if it were a Pure Land? Eventually it’s a matter of seeing this world we are in now as being the Pure Land. Continue reading Long Read Part 1: What is a Pure Land? And Why pray to be reborn there?

Video: Buddha Nature Event with HH the Karmapa

Last Saturday Lama Shenpen was invited to speak at a prestigious event organised by the Tsadra Foundation to launch their Buddha Nature Resource website. The online Zoom event featured short talks on Buddha Nature by the prestigious guest speakers, including a special recorded address by HH Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje Continue reading Video: Buddha Nature Event with HH the Karmapa

Does giving up Samsara mean giving up on life in general?

It is not saying everything is transient and without the slightest meaning. I often see samsara being used to mean life in general.  It doesn’t mean life in general.  Samsara means the weary round of rebirth driven by ignorance of our true nature beyond thought, clinging to wrong views, getting caught up in the complications of our confused thinking that turns all we do into karmic actions that bring about further entrapment in samsara – the weary round of rebirth and falling into the sufferings of the six realms. Continue reading Does giving up Samsara mean giving up on life in general?

mandala principle, boundaries, Tibetan Buddhism, Lama Shenpen Hookham UK Buddhist Teacher

Mandala Principle & Boundaries: Boundaries feel threatening to me, what aren’t I getting?

Mandalas are a way of describing the world of our experience in which everything is appearing and yet is ungraspable. The only reason we experience anything is because we can distinguish it from anything else. If it were all uniform with no differentiation it would not be experience would it? It wouldn’t be anything. Continue reading Mandala Principle & Boundaries: Boundaries feel threatening to me, what aren’t I getting?

UK Female Buddhist Teacher Lama Shenpen Hookham

Excerpt from Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting & Other Stories – Karma Thinley Rinpoche & the Snake – what would you have done?

In the video below Lama Shenpen introduces the story of Karma Thinley Rinpoche and the Snake, and describes how she likes to leave some of the stories in her book open ended, in order to ask the reader, what would you have done? What spiritual teaching would you have received if you were in Lama’s place? What have you taken away from the story? Read the full excerpt below: Continue reading Excerpt from Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting & Other Stories – Karma Thinley Rinpoche & the Snake – what would you have done?