crop faceless overwhelmed black man covering face against wall

How do you maintain compassion without getting miserable? How to deal with overwhelm and depression due to all the suffering in the world

That sense of overwhelm in the light of world suffering is called ‘revulsion at samsara’ in Buddhism and is an important quality to cultivate. It is actually the healthy functioning of our Buddha Nature – our intrinsic openness, clarity and sensitivity.  It is what compassion feels like… Continue reading How do you maintain compassion without getting miserable? How to deal with overwhelm and depression due to all the suffering in the world

A Message from Lama Shenpen to Students & Readers of ‘Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting’

My friend Mike Lear died 18th March aged 84. He was the friend who supported me all the time I was in India – the one I left when I became a nun [as described in Lama Shenpen’s life story book ‘Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting – An English Woman’s Journey to Becoming a Buddhist Lama’ – see excerpt below.] He was such an unselfish and generous man, I kept in touch with him by letter and phone over the years and spoke to him just a few months ago. Continue reading A Message from Lama Shenpen to Students & Readers of ‘Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting’

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?

unrecognizable pilgrims touching prayer wheels in ancient temple in nepal

What Does Accumulating ‘Merit’ Mean? Understanding Punya & the Mysterious Power of Goodness

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 & the Mysterious Power of Goodness

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