Long read article: Who was Queen Shrimala and Why is the Shrimaladevi Sutra important?

The Shrimaladevi Sutra is a very important source for our tradition that goes right back to a person who lived at the time of Shakyamuni. It is great that that person is actually a woman and not a monastic.  That feels very refreshing somehow. I don’t say that because I am a woman particularly. I think everyone, men and women, like to see that it is not just men and not just monastics that are powerful practitioners… Continue reading Long read article: Who was Queen Shrimala and Why is the Shrimaladevi Sutra important?

Where does Ngöndro – the traditional preliminary practices fit into the Awakened Heart Sangha?

Ngöndro in general means preliminary and in the context of Tibetan Buddhism often refers to the practice of the 4 x 100,000… In Tibet many people had a lot of time they could devote to Dharma practice so having the 4 x 100000 to accomplish gave them a goal and many people made it their main practice… Continue reading Where does Ngöndro – the traditional preliminary practices fit into the Awakened Heart Sangha?

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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?

How do you tell which mantra you have a connection with and how best to practice with it?

It is an important question and I find people respond to mantra practice very differently.  For some people as soon as they hear a mantra they just want to keep repeating it – and it seems to have an energy of its own… Since mantras are actually the Buddha in essence – they are powerful – but it’s not the sound so much as what is producing the sound that is important – the sound is emanating from Enlightenment itself and so can connect us directly to the energy of Enlightenment – that is why it is important who you receive the mantra from. Continue reading How do you tell which mantra you have a connection with and how best to practice with it?

What if our prayers and practice feel contrived and liturgy and imagery doesn’t move us?

I have reflected for decades on how the worlds we find ourselves in are the inseparable result of my actions of body speech and mind.  What I wish for is what will eventually manifest – so directing my intentions as powerfully as possible makes complete sense to me. Continue reading What if our prayers and practice feel contrived and liturgy and imagery doesn’t move us?

Tibetan Buddhism UK offerings Female Buddhist teacher Lama Shenpen Hookham

As well as the traditional shrine offerings of incense, candles etc, can we make offerings of our experience?

Thinking of the experiences as an offering to Awakening or the Dharma, is to invite its adhistana. The offering is made in the state of meditation. We rest in the spaciousness of letting go of grasping at things as somehow ‘solid’. Continue reading As well as the traditional shrine offerings of incense, candles etc, can we make offerings of our experience?

Why do Buddhists recite Liturgy – prayers, chanting etc – and how can we best relate to that?

There are many benefits of reciting liturgy. One important benefit is that as we focus on the words and meaning, even just intuitively without really understanding them, our attention is naturally drawn to a single point and stabilizes. The more the words speak to our heart the easier it is to focus on them, because we are being drawn towards their significance. Continue reading Why do Buddhists recite Liturgy – prayers, chanting etc – and how can we best relate to that?