Whether it is the Mahayana sutra tradition or the Vajrayana tantric tradition the key to their effectiveness in terms of liberation is right view and in terms of benefitting others, Bodhichitta. Continue reading What is the difference between sutras and tantras?
Interesting distinctions are being made here. We all know the laziness of just not wanting to bother ourselves too much. It might be that one part of us thinks something would be good to do but another part says ‘yes but…maybe later’. If you actually thought it was not good to do then it wouldn’t be laziness, it would be a difference of opinion… Continue reading What are the different types of laziness that can prevent us from practising Dharma?
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?
A Student asks about worship in Buddhism A student asks: “I feel that in Tibetan Buddhism there is a worshipping of the Buddha and other deities – do you think that I have misunderstood things? I thought that the Buddha emphasised that he didn’t want people to follow him, even less worship him. So why do we seem to follow that practice?” Lama: The Buddha … Continue reading Student’s Question: What is the meaning of worship in Buddhism?
These days we surf the net and find a likely looking Dharma website and feel that parting with even a few hundred pounds is to take a risk, since who knows who the people are and what they’re are up to. So often it is with suspicion and scepticism that we embark on a course and the practice, hardly knowing what to expect and wondering if this is yet another internet scam.
Hardly the best way to approach the holy teachings! Continue reading How should we approach online Dharma teachings and downloaded texts?
A brief answer to this deceptively simple question is that meditation is what we say we are doing when we set time aside to become aware of our experience, so that we can deepen our understanding of it. It’s about learning how to be rather than doing anything. Continue reading What is Meditation?
Lama Shenpen gave a teaching on 10th November from The Hermitage retreat centre in North Wales, on the subject of ‘Vaster Vision’ one of the themes of the Living the Awakened Heart Training. These themes are all contained within the Discovering the Heart and Buddhism (DHB) and the Trusting the Heart of Buddhism (THB) courses. Continue reading Video: Vaster Vision
Lama Shenpen on our connection to others: “Our living connection with other beings is mysterious. We cannot find any boundary to our awareness and yet another being is another being to be loved and responded to. They are not just our imagination. So that living connection or boundary between one being and another is deeply mysterious and wonderful. It is the source of all joy … Continue reading Our Mysterious Connection With Others
There are five precepts that all Buddhists are committed to keeping. These are to not kill, not steal, not lie and not commit sexual misconduct or take intoxicants.
In the training for the Mahayanagana, students examine these precepts and consider the nuances – what do they actually mean in practice? What happens if we find ourselves acting contrary to these precepts either in spirit or in practice? There is much to consider. These days there is a lot of anxiety in the Buddhist world, as in other areas of modern life about abusive behaviour and how to safeguard the vulnerable by adhering to firm moral principles. We have been working on such a policy within our Sangha along lines laid out by the government and charity law. How best to safeguard the vulnerable, which could be any one of us in fact.
As we in the Shrimalagana (the inner body of the Awakened Heart Sangha) consider this we realize that however careful we are with our rules of engagement in actual fact the only safeguard is our sangha ethos and for all of us to embody it. If we all take care about how we are communicating and connecting to each other, then we will not make mistakes that leave people feeling abandoned and abused. Mistakes will happen.
We all tend to project onto each other and misunderstand each others behaviour and intentions. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) helps us to learn how to meet our own needs and be able to speak from a genuine and honest position which enables others to more readily understand and connect to us on a level that is meaningful and mutually supportive. We all have a responsibility to learn how to communicate in this manner and this way we will all be able to play our part in safeguarding the vulnerable.
So how literally are we to take the way sexual misconduct is presented in the traditional texts?