The Buddha’s path means giving up attachment to all we are holding on to. It means giving up our cherished views about ourselves and the world. This can be as scary as death itself. It is easy to have doubts, thinking that maybe the whole idea of Enlightenment or Awakening is a pipe dream or a fantasy. Deep reflection on death, however, can help us cut through this kind of doubt. Continue reading Why Reflection on Death Is Our Dearest Friend
In a sense, we are aware all the time. We are never without awareness. Awareness is all that we are and all that we have. Experience always involves awareness. But we do not always remember to turn our attention to what we are experiencing. In order to do so, we need to keep waking up Continue reading How to Practice Daily Life Awareness
We have a booklet of Yogic Songs and at the end of each day we choose one of the songs to sing together and in this way keep our connection with the tradition of Yogic songs of realisation. As we sing them again and again we find we are learning them by heart, almost effortlessly, and they are a wonderful expression of our shared experience and culture. The words are profound and inspiring and as soon as we hear the melody somehow their meaning comes to mind. Continue reading Feature: Teaching on How to Use Yogic Songs as Dharma Practice
In order to perform the action of going for Refuge, we need something to direct our action towards. We need something to set in the place of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha at centre of the mandala of sacred space that we are creating. The custom is to use a Buddha image to represent the Buddha and a text of the teachings to represent the Dharma. The Sangha is present in the person who is going to give the Refuge and any other practitioners present at the ceremony. Continue reading Article: What does it mean to ‘take Refuge’?
The Heart Sutra tells us that what is known in the ordinary grasping way, by the complicated mind that has turned away from the simplicity of Reality, is actually false and not real. It all lacks self-nature Continue reading Article: Understanding the Heart Sutra
The Mahayana Buddhist tradition teaches that the three inseparable qualities of Openness, Clarity and Sensitivity are actually the nature of the Universe itself. It is true, up to a point, that we have only our own Openness, Clarity and Sensitivity to rely on, but actually our Buddha Nature is not some kind of isolated entity separate from the Universe and everyone else’s Buddha Nature. Continue reading Article: What is Adhistana? How do we connect and open to Openness, Clarity & Sensitivity?
Uttering the words, especially if you do it with openness and conviction, links or tunes you into the power and presence of the lineage. The lineage is the power line through which the truth comes to us. It is important to recognise that the mantra recitation practice is not about ‘doing’ anything. It is more a matter of linking and relaxing into a power that is already there.” Continue reading Article: Mantra and Meditation Practice
The question is whether ‘self’ has any meaning in Buddhism, since it speaks so much of ‘not-self’, which is a realization of the emptiness of the notion of self as we normally understand it. There could be an infinite number of layers to our sense of self, each of which would be a different kind of self. The coherent self that is the knower, the actor, the controller of a being is like the kernal of its associated personality, which supports and is supported by it. It is like a hard central core, which changes, depending on how deep into its nature one has gone. Each level of insight causes a collapse into a deeper, subtler, and more strongly held sense of self. Each level of insight brings one closer to what that self is in itself. Continue reading Article: Five Uses of the Term Self in Buddhism
How can we align with our Buddhist practice over the Christmas period? In the extract below from Lama Shenpen’s book ‘The Mayayana Feast Offering‘ we can see how we might approach Christmas as we would the feast practice with the sharing of food, and as an opportunity to practice Dana (generosity/giving) and generating Punya (the power of goodness) which can be dedicated for the … Continue reading The Power of Goodness & Giving: Buddhist Practice at Christmas
There are five precepts that all Buddhists are committed to keeping. These are to not kill, not steal, not lie and not commit sexual misconduct or take intoxicants.
In the training for the Mahayanagana, students examine these precepts and consider the nuances – what do they actually mean in practice? What happens if we find ourselves acting contrary to these precepts either in spirit or in practice? There is much to consider. These days there is a lot of anxiety in the Buddhist world, as in other areas of modern life about abusive behaviour and how to safeguard the vulnerable by adhering to firm moral principles. We have been working on such a policy within our Sangha along lines laid out by the government and charity law. How best to safeguard the vulnerable, which could be any one of us in fact.
As we in the Shrimalagana (the inner body of the Awakened Heart Sangha) consider this we realize that however careful we are with our rules of engagement in actual fact the only safeguard is our sangha ethos and for all of us to embody it. If we all take care about how we are communicating and connecting to each other, then we will not make mistakes that leave people feeling abandoned and abused. Mistakes will happen.
We all tend to project onto each other and misunderstand each others behaviour and intentions. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) helps us to learn how to meet our own needs and be able to speak from a genuine and honest position which enables others to more readily understand and connect to us on a level that is meaningful and mutually supportive. We all have a responsibility to learn how to communicate in this manner and this way we will all be able to play our part in safeguarding the vulnerable.
So how literally are we to take the way sexual misconduct is presented in the traditional texts?