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?
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?
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
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?
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
To find that way of being we have to make some kind of effort to recognise what is blocking us and setting ourselves up to let those blockages dissolve. Continue reading How do we balance ‘doing’ and ‘not-doing’ in our meditation 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?
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
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
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?