unrecognizable pilgrims touching prayer wheels in ancient temple in nepal

What Does Accumulating ‘Merit’ Mean? Understanding Punya & that we are punya itself

Punya is rather misleadingly translated as merit but since punya belongs to us, it is our personal wealth and power, which we can give away for the benefit of others. In order to give to others in a way that will truly benefit them, we have to think about what is the most effective way of using our punya… Continue reading What Does Accumulating ‘Merit’ Mean? Understanding Punya & that we are punya itself

What are the Seven Branches of Prayer?

The seven branches of prayer begin with salutations, which traditionally take the form of bowing and prostrations. The idea is that we honour the Awakened ones with our body, speech and mind, giving up our pride and egocentricity in order to be open to the vision of the Buddhas. So the gesture of salutation or bowing is one of acknowledging, aligning, honouring and celebrating. Continue reading What are the Seven Branches of Prayer?

Lama Shenpen Hookham motivated to help others

Am I a fraud? Am I craving the approval of others through my good actions?

The chances are that your actions are mixed with some elements that could be purer but if we had to be pure before we could accumulate punya how would any of us purify ourselves?  Good actions that are directed at benefitting others always bring punya (often translated as merit) – i.e. good karmic results. Continue reading Am I a fraud? Am I craving the approval of others through my good actions?

The Power of Goodness & Giving: Buddhist Practice at Christmas

  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