If you awaken fully, do you disappear?

A Student writes: If you ‘Awaken’ fully do you disappear? Lama Shenpen replies: This is a very interesting question. I think the answer is maybe but not necessarily – and I believe there is an element of choice involved in this too.  I am reading a book called ‘Rainbow Body and Resurrection – Spiritual Attainment, the Dissolution of the Material Body and the Case of … Continue reading If you awaken fully, do you disappear?

What are the Seven Branches of Prayer?

The seven branches of prayer begin with salutations, which traditionally take the form of bowing and prostrations. The idea is that we honour the Awakened ones with our body, speech and mind, giving up our pride and egocentricity in order to be open to the vision of the Buddhas. So the gesture of salutation or bowing is one of acknowledging, aligning, honouring and celebrating. Continue reading What are the Seven Branches of Prayer?

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Do we have to abandon rational thinking? A conversation about thinking, intuition and faith

Sane people think – rational people think. So why do you say we have to abandon rational thinking? I would say we need to abandon clinging to views, opinions and intellectual conclusions when opening to the true nature of reality… Continue reading Do we have to abandon rational thinking? A conversation about thinking, intuition and faith

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If there were no objects for awareness to illuminate what is known, would there just be pure being?

Something has to happen in the way we look at everything – we are so used to either dividing everything up into seer and seen or to just blanking out and becoming vague about everything. Something quite different from both needs to happen Continue reading If there were no objects for awareness to illuminate what is known, would there just be pure being?

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Three Ordinary Ideas Called into Question by Karma in Buddhism

There are three ordinary ideas that we have that make karma seem particularly strange but which are ultimately called into question in Buddhism. The first is that people are very separate from the material world; the second is that the present and the future are very separate; the third is that different beings and different locations in space are very separate. Continue reading Three Ordinary Ideas Called into Question by Karma in Buddhism

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How can we use our imaginative faculty to good effect in Dharma practice?

Lama Shenpen: I find myself wondering what exactly we mean by ‘imagination’.  We use the term in various ways. To start with we use it for a faculty we have, the faculty that intelligence has to create – to be creative and to explore possibilities just because we can imagine them – and then come up with something more as if from nowhere. It is … Continue reading How can we use our imaginative faculty to good effect in Dharma practice?

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