I like to emphasise that there is one Truth, we already intuit it, we are already it, and the best things about us are related to that. We’re already ‘there’ but we overlay it with all these doubts and confusion, which is what we’re working with. Continue reading The Trouble with Truth: Confusing the terms Relative and Absolute Truth – Why Lama Shenpen Prefers to teach about One Truth.
I start where people are. I start with what is motivating people to come to learn about Buddhism in the first place. They are looking for a spiritual path, for meaning, for truth, for peace of mind, for a path to happiness, for a way of overcoming their feelings of hopelessness and lack of direction in life. They are looking for something that will make their life make sense to them and enable them to live out their deep wish to be of benefit to others and to the world. Continue reading How does Lama Shenpen tailor her teachings for a Western audience?
Can we make friends with our anxiety? Is this having confidence in our meditation practice? “For us confidence would consist of acknowledging our fear and anxiety and turning towards them rather than panicking and trying to run away from our feeling, pretending it’s not there or desperately trying to change it into something else that we think we should be feeling.” Continue reading Student’s Question: Is confidence being able to acknowledge anxiety and make friends with it?
Lama Shenpen answers the questions: Do you pray in Buddhism? Who are you praying to? What for? Does it do any good? Does prayer mean you have to believe in something to pray to? Prayer is strongly connected to the idea of (another unpopular word!) ‘Worship’. We talk about worship in Christian tradition. But even the Buddha when he reached enlightenment asked himself, ‘now I’m foremost in the world, and I’m the great enlightened Buddha, what shall I worship, who shall I worship? Continue reading Video: Prayer in Buddhism – Do you pray in Buddhism?
It’s as if we open to the Dharma and a whole new possibility opens up and then the grasping mind suddenly realises it can’t grasp this and use it to secure itself. So it reacts and tries to say ‘It’s all rubbish anyway. There is nothing to open up to, it’s all fantasy, I am all right as I am, I don’t need to change’ and so on. It lasts for a while and the best thing to do is just recognise it for what it is. It’s just thoughts and feelings that you don’t have to take seriously. They come and go and try to sound very authoritative while they are around. Continue reading Student’s Question: What happens When Your Ego Fights Back!
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
Confidence in needed in order to align yourself with the heart-essence and its three qualities of openness, clarity and sensitivity. Sometimes in Buddhism it is called faith, but really it is a kind of confidence that there is the ‘heart’ of openness, clarity and sensitivity to be discovered in our being. Buddhism teaches that it is there in its completeness to be recognised, and to be relied on. It is something that we can take refuge in. Continue reading The Importance of Confidence in Buddhist Practice