Balancing Tonglen practice: can it get too spacious and become something else?

What you describe is moving in the direction of ultimate Bodhichitta and so as far as I am concerned it is good practice. Maybe there is a danger there of slipping into a Shamata meditation sense of equanimity that has dulled out a bit on the insight and compassion elements? Continue reading Balancing Tonglen practice: can it get too spacious and become something else?

love and compassion to inanimate objects Lama Shenpen hookham buddhism

Can we practise Love and Compassion to inanimate objects such as mountains?

For me love and compassion is what happens between beings – not inanimate objects. Yet we do talk about communion with nature and the landscape don’t we?  We talk of caring for the world around us and treating it with gentleness and respect – which feels a bit like love and compassion. Maybe that is because we intuit that somehow it is not all somehow ‘out there’… Continue reading Can we practise Love and Compassion to inanimate objects such as mountains?

How can we practise with the antidote to the ‘near enemies’ of the Four Apramanas? Correcting distortions of Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy & Equanimity

If love is wishing others well and feeling connected in a trusting and open way, then when we notice we have an agenda such as ‘I would love you if you were not so….’ – we can acknowledge that judgemental quality as our own desire and attachment and work with how to become more gentle, open and generous. Continue reading How can we practise with the antidote to the ‘near enemies’ of the Four Apramanas? Correcting distortions of Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy & Equanimity

How does imagination fit into the process of reflection and meditation?

When we try in an ego-centric way – or manipulate our experience to be what we think it should be – then it’s kind of aggressive, ambitious and pushy. But when we are simply playing in the openness of awareness – trying things out in a relaxed and gentle way that feels really alive and kind of beautiful… Continue reading How does imagination fit into the process of reflection and meditation?

Examining Awareness: How can we know Awareness is not created and conditioned?

There is no evidence that there was ever a time when awareness was not there – so it’s a possibility that it is not created.  The more familiar one becomes with awareness in one’s Dharma practice the more sense it makes that it is not created – it is not constructed from our thoughts like everything else we know of – awareness is what constructs the thoughts and gets confused by them. Continue reading Examining Awareness: How can we know Awareness is not created and conditioned?

Are We Fooling Ourselves? Lama Shenpen talks to a student about checking that our motivation and practice is genuine

We don’t have to be perfect before we begin – so yes we do start off taking Refuge and practising Dharma with mixed motives. There is no point in developing renunciation if people don’t have a sense of something they trust in first.  If they don’t trust in anything at all then what is the point of banging on about suffering and impermanence? Continue reading Are We Fooling Ourselves? Lama Shenpen talks to a student about checking that our motivation and practice is genuine

mudita rejoicing in the good qualities of others

How does rejoicing in the good qualities of others make those qualities arise in us?

It is the same principle as pranidhanas  – you think of qualities that you admire and your heart responds and you find yourself wishing to be like that oneself – as you orientate yourself towards that wish those qualities are already being awakened within you. Continue reading How does rejoicing in the good qualities of others make those qualities arise in us?

What Does The Term Tantra Mean & How Can We Begin To Understand It?

Tantra is much talked about in Tibetan Buddhism but is notoriously difficult to define.  Lots of things are said about it but when you look at what is called tantra in practice – well it doesn’t conform to what is said about it. No wonder people are confused! The term is in danger of being rendered meaningless.  Many of the ways it is defined do not define it at all… Continue reading What Does The Term Tantra Mean & How Can We Begin To Understand It?

How do you practise Love & Compassion when you’re dealing with fear?

As long as we haven’t realised our True Nature we will always be subject to fear and suffering.  Whether we are having an easy time at the moment or a hard time – the situation can change suddenly for any of us at any time. That doesn’t stop us accessing the love and compassion of our Buddha Nature. It just means that we don’t necessarily have nice relaxed cosy feelings associated with that Continue reading How do you practise Love & Compassion when you’re dealing with fear?