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What’s the difference between passing experiences (nyams) and stable realisation?

There is no need to worry about having gained stability of full realisation or not because it does itself in its own time, and the signs of it are obvious – the important thing is to notice any instability and use it as a trigger of awareness. There are so many Dharma teachings to help with this. Continue reading What’s the difference between passing experiences (nyams) and stable realisation?

analysis blackboard board bubble

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

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?

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?

Suffering in Buddhism Lama Shenpen UK female Buddhist teacher

What to do when we respond to the suffering of others with feeling powerless and guilty?

This is such an important question for so many people. I think the problem arises from approaching the whole thing from a Western cultural point of view. We value a sense of social responsibility and abhor hypocrisy and self-deception. We tend to believe in just this one life we are in now and that we have to solve the world’s problems… Continue reading What to do when we respond to the suffering of others with feeling powerless and guilty?