Traditional

Karma & Reincarnation

What's going to happen to you if you don't accept the concept of reincarnation? Karma isn't cause and effect. Why burden yourself with extra beliefs?

Reincarnation – Questions

A brief discussion on reincarnation from Death: Friend or Foe 7, questions on if one can have a serious practice without believing in reincarnation, karma and rebirth, and what reincarnates if there is no self.

The Mystery of Being

A guided meditation on “Who am I?” (excerpt from from Who Am I? 2) questions on who/what wakes up, the experience of being no thing, and if ultimately there is anything to know.

Three Analogies For Karma

God’s will, gravity, and evolution; God’s will as explanation of mystery; gravity as absence of justice, etc.; evolution as contrast to cause and effect

Devotion

How devotion reveals internal material, the difference between faith and belief, the three types of faith and how they transform the three poisons.

Demystifying Karma

Demystifying ideas around karma, questions on whether karma from previous lives impact this life, karma and the death of children, and is there such a thing as burning off bad karma.

Mahamudra

A discussion on Mahamudra, questions on the differences between mahamudra and dzogchen, what aspects of the Kadampa teaching should be joined with the mahamudra practices, practicing either dzogchen/mahamudra or vipassana, or both.

Meditating On Impermanence: Experiences

Group contemplation: “I can’t know what this experience called life is -- and I can’t know what follows it. So how do I live this life?” If tears are allowed in the zendo, why not laughter?

Chö and Opening To Experience

Origins of Chö from the Diamond Sutra; Machik Labdron and Padampa Sangye; definition of Chö as creating difficult experiences and developing the ability to experience them completely

Practice paths

Is Vajrayana an appropriate path if you have with limited access to your root guru or if you’re unlikely to attend a three-year retreat? After a new practitioner has worked with the breath to gain experience and develop stability, should they then meditate on impermanence or the four immeasurables? How do you incorporate what what you learn from teachers in other Buddhist traditions?

Merit and Dedication

A discussion on dedication prayers from Then And Now 24, questions on dedicating virtue, the purpose of dedication, chanting to accumulate merit.

Mantra practice

An introduction to mantra practice from A Trackless Path 12, working with thoughts when chanting, how to approach mantra practice, sounds and mantra practice.

Buddhist Concepts

A discussion on Buddhism and creativity, questions on reincarnation, mind having no beginning, and equanimity and manipulation.

Refuge

The aim of Buddhist practice is to end suffering. A refuge is a place where one goes to be free from harm, fear, and suffering. In Buddhism, refuge is a metaphor for wakefulness or presence. It is reminder of the basic orientation in Buddhist practice, namely, that suffering comes to end only through being awake and present.

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva – Workshop

Part 1a - Introduction: Background information on text, author, and structure of opening verses. Part 1b - Opening verses, Practice 1: Comments on paying homage (verse 1), intention (verse 2), what it is meant by study, reflect, and meditate/cultivate (practice 1), what is meant by ‘experience has no coming and going’, suffering as the result of fighting experience, traditional and internal interpretations of the eight unrestful states, the five individual advantages and the five circumstantial advantages that make practice of Dharma possible.

Anything Is Possible

Appearances and reality; what life is and staying present in it; the world in which we think we live and the world in which we actually live; where does Buddhism and politics come together; how does one work with psychological trauma in practice; working with fear; how does interdependent origination relate to our thoughts; karma, rebirth, and evolution; translating Buddhist poetry and spiritual writing; discussion of mantra at the end of the Heart Sutra

Ganges Mahamudra – class

Introduction to text; historical context; Tilopa and Naropa; three doors to practice; Mahamudra as a way of experiencing; metaphors of space; letting experience be just as it is; meditation instruction for the next week: rest in experience of breathing, open to sensory experience.

Heart Sutra Workshop

Introduction: Naropa’s meeting with Tilopa’s sister; introduction to Heart Sutra; guided primary practice meditation; participant’s experience; willingness, know-how, capacity; guided meditation with resting in experience and looking at the experience of resting.

Mahamudra – class

Introduction: Discussion of the View section from The Lamp of Mahamudra by Tselek Rangdrol and the Shamatha section from Clarifying the Natural State by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal). Sketch of history and relevance of Mahamudra. The view can be seen as a response to life’s basic questions such as ‘What Am I?’ and ‘What is this experience we call “life”?’; the connection between essence and experience; contrast of clarity and openness of natural awareness with the stuff of ordinary experience; how emotional reactions and the six realms arise; examination of the kayas as a way to see things as they are; working with a teacher as one way to transform emotional energy into attention; seeing what you are by seeing what you are not, description of three types of meditations to do while taking this class, questions from class participants.

Then and Now

In-depth series of teachings on The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and how practitioners in today’s world might approach traditional texts written hundreds of years ago.

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva – Retreat

This series explores how the 37 Practices can be divided into four distinct sections: the foundations for practice, what to do about anger, the six perfections, and how to live the practice.

Ganges Mahamudra – text

What joy!
Samsaric ways are senseless:they are the seeds of suffering.
Conventional ways are pointless. Focus on what is sound and true.
Majestic outlook is beyond all fixation.
Majestic practice is no distraction.
Majestic behavior is no action or effort.
The fruition is there when you are free from hope and fear.

Longchenpa’s 30 Pieces of Sincere Advice

You make an effort at practice and become a good and knowledgeable person. You may even master some particular capabilities. But whatever you attach to will tie you up. Be unbiased and know how to let things be – that’s my sincere advice

Devotion Pierces My Heart

Even with a free and well-favored birth, I waste this life. The meaningless activities of conventional life constantly distract me. When I work at freedom, which is truly important, laziness carries me away. Because I am turning away from a land of jewels with my hands empty, Guru, think of me: look upon me quickly with compassion. Give me energy to make my life worthwhile.

Dakini Song

When wanting and grasping hold sway The dakini has you in her power. Wanting nothing from outside, taking things as they come, Know the dakini to be your own mind.

Aspirations for Mahamudra

It doesn’t exist: even buddhas do not see it. It doesn’t not exist: it is the basis of samsara and nirvana. No contradiction: the middle way is union. May I know the pure being of mind,free of extremes.

A Shower of Energy

In these ways, all experience, appearance, sound, or thought, Are signs that point me to know directly the nature of being. They are solely expressions of my magnificent teacher. In recollecting your great kindness, I pray to you. Give me the energy to know directly the nature of all experience.

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva – Text

The happiness of the three worlds disappears in a moment, Like a dewdrop on a blade of grass. The highest level of freedom is one that never changes. Aim for this — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Karma As Evolution

Karma describes the way actions grow into experience... Every action either starts a new growth process or reinforces an old one as described by the four results.

Shakyamuni’s Life and Teachings

The final challenge of habituated patterns is to question direct experience. How do we know? How can we trust this knowing, which is totally beyond the ordinary conditioned experience of life? Like Buddha Shakyamuni, we turn to no external reference and live in the knowing. We rest in presence, in the very mystery of being itself.