Training

Impermanence & Identity

Given the impermanence of everything, who am I? Don't worry about it. Live according to what is really important to you.

The Four Immeasurables: Compassion

Comments and questions on compassion meditation including: Should we say the verses used in these meditations aloud or to ourselves?; Does the line in the compassion meditation, 'May I experience the world wishing me freedom from pain', impose an unrealistic ideal upon the world?; difficulty in extending these verses to include others.

Opening To Doubt

Faith and belief, the three important things: impermanence/change, compassion and faith, opening to doubt.

Cultivating Attention

The importance of keeping intention and letting go of practicing perfectly, questions on shamatha, cultivating attention for those who are not able to keep a regular sitting practice, and life out of balance.

Dreams

A guided meditation on what happens when you die, questions on dream yoga and treating all experience as a dream.

Heartbreak and Suffering

A meditation on compassion leads to a discussion on heartbreak, the movement of energy, and being present in the suffering of others.

Mountain Burnt Offering Ritual

May we acquire all the abilities of the ground, path, and fruition. And clear away all disruptions in outlook, practice, and behavior. In the infinite expanse of the wonderful mind of Ever-present Good, May we take hold of eternal being in the youthful vase body.

Experiencing Patterns

A description of physical and emotional sensations when a pattern begins to dissolve (from Awakening From Belief 11), questions about obsession and working with the core of a pattern.

Realms, Dakinis, Gods

Excerpt from Mind Training retreat on the six realms, questions about dakinis and understanding deities and gods.

Taking and Sending

As you grow accustomed to this exchange, and that may take a while, you come to rest in a different way, in a profound acceptance of the pain of the world and the struggles that comprise most people’s lives. In that acceptance, there is a quiet joy, a joy in the wonder of life itself.

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.

Eightfold Path

First Four Elements: The Four Noble Truths are about finding a way to live without struggling with what we experience; why "struggle" may be the more appropriate term in English to dukkha; the Eightfold Path as a description of a way of living, but usually interpreted as a prescription for practice; confusion of descriptions of results with means of practice and problems that arise; the fallacy of rational decision making and utility theory as a basis for economics, sociology, and spiritual practice; examination of the first four elements of the Eightfold Path from the perspective of practice; right view is practiced by bringing attention to how you view things; the result will be the traditional description of the characteristics of right view; right intention is to bring attention to intention, what am I doing right now and why?; right speech is to bring attention into the act of speaking, listening to the sound of your own voice when you speak; right action is to bring attention into the experience of action, leads to a relationship with power, makes action more effective.

Four Immeasurables – class

Introduction: The context for the four immeasurables in Buddhist practice, how they differ from other emotions including their power to transform ordinary experience into presence; how different traditions view the immeasurables; clarifying pain, hurt, suffering and harm; the purpose, cost and benefit of practicing the four immeasurables; meditation instruction on equanimity practice, Q&A

Ideology and Wisdom

What do you seek in practice? What does it mean to rest and relax with a problematic experience? Can you experience whatever arises and be at peace at the same time? Teachings on opening to the totality of experience.

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.

There Is No Enemy

The notion of enemy arises in us when we resist. These teachings help you to see there is nothing to push against.

Releasing Emotional Reactions

Working with painful or difficult emotions is something everyone encounters in practice. This series explores ways to let go of reactions associated with powerful emotions so you don't have to repress them or express them in the world.

Power and Presence

There is a lot of confusion about power and it is often misunderstood and misused. These teachings provide a better understanding about power and how to use it.

Mind Training – Santa Fe

Teachings on the practices and principals regarding mind training, ranging from making adversity the path to awakening, taking and sending, the four kayas, and the five forces in daily life.

Mahayana Mind Training

Mind training is a way to clear away self-cherishing through meditation practices involving presence, energy transformation, and purification. These teachings provide a detailed look at mind training and related practices.

Guru, Deity, Protector

Opening talk of retreat, part 1: Retreat structure and intention, comments on the Vajrayana path – how it is different and the same, how it is based on compassion and emptiness, which naturally evolve into mindfulness and presence.

Opening talk of the retreat, part 2: Retreat’s daily schedule and routine; subject matter for retreat (Buddhahood Without Meditation); sitting with questions rather than trying to answer them intellectually; the challenge of doing nothing; the importance of silence; resting & seeing.

Five Elements / Five Dakinis

Dakini practice as a way of refining experience, comparison with Mahamudra practice; dakini practice as tool to raise energy; review of elements in relationship to emotional patterns and as descriptions of experience; nature of dakinis: “know dakinis to be one’s own mind”; symbolic nature of dakinis & relation to wisdom awarenesses; overview of five wisdom awarenesses: evenness (balance), mirror-like, distinguishing, effective action, totality; overview of practice instructions

Death: Friend or Foe

Contemplating death may seem like a morbid exercise yet this practice not only helps you accept the changes you experience throughout life but brings richness to your everyday experience.

Chö

Chö, the Tibetan word for cutting, can be defined as using difficult experiences to develop your ability to be awake and clear in whatever life throws at you. This series explores Chö's origins in the Diamond Sutra, its relationship to Taking and Sending, and daily prayers and practices.

Awakening From Belief

Should karma be viewed as belief or instruction? What would it be like to live without a belief system? What does it mean to make practice your own?

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.

Guru Yoga Prayer

In response to many students' requests for a clear and simple translation of this classical and deeply revered prayer, Ken McLeod in Los Angeles put these words together as best he could.

Ever-present Good’s Prayer of Intention

How the buddha principle transforms the six realms: Through my awakened intention May all who are quarrelsome and competitive Stop their hostility and relax where they are. As knowing finds its own place, May they attain the pristine awareness of effective action.

The Short Vajradhara Prayer

The essence of thought is what is, it is taught. To this meditator who arises as an unceasing play, Being nothing at all,but arising as anything, Give me energy to know that samsara and nirvana are not separate.

The Ship of Freedom

By understanding the effects of good and bad actions,whatever their importance, May I be able to keep to the workings of seed and result. By seeing clearly the suffering in the three realms of samsara, May I develop the renunciation to leave samsara’s domain.

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.

Daily Bodhisattva Vow

This day my life is fruitful. I have claimed my human heritage. Today I am born into the family of the awakened. Now I am a child of buddha. From now on I will do only what befits this family. I will do nothing to disgrace this noble and faultless family.

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.

All the Matter in the World

All the matter of the world,living and not living, Appear as objects to my eyes. Let me rest in the appearance of things,without seeing them as things.

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.

A Light in the Dark

Now, as you experience this vague knowing in which there is no thought or movement, look at what knows that this is happening, look at what is mentally or emotionally inert, and rest there. Then you experience an awareness that is free from thought and movement, has no sense of inside or outside, and is utterly clear and transparent, like space. Experience and experiencing are not separate. Yet you are unshakeable about what you are, thinking, “This is all there is!”

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.

Facing Fear

Fear is a reactive mechanism that operates when our identity (including the identity of being a physical entity) is threatened. It works to erode or dissipate attention. We move into one of the six realms and react: destroy the threat or seek revenge (hell being), grasp at safety and security (hungry ghost), focus on survival (animal), pursue pleasure as compensation (human), vie for superiority (titan), or protect status and position (god). Because we are less present to what is actually taking place, our actions are correspondingly less appropriate and less effective. We go to sleep in our beliefs and ignore the consequences of maintaining them.

Mind Training In Seven Points

Go to the special sub-site created to help you explore mind training.

Any method that implants a set of ideas, perspectives, and experiences that work to dismantle habituated patterns of behavior, emotionality, and perception can be called mind training.

Chekawa's Mind Training in Seven Points is one of the best-known sets. It's 59 short instructions comprise a complete practice covering all the essential points of Mahayana Buddhism.

Five Elements

Paired verses describing each of the five elements, one for the reactive process and one for the transformation into timeless awareness

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Where compassion is the wish that others not suffer, renunciation is the wish that I not suffer. What causes me to suffer? Wanting. Renunciation, then, means not so much giving up things, desires, or a way of life, but to give up desiring itself. But to do so is not so easy.

When Energy Runs Wild

In the initial stages of practice, we are consumed by thoughts. As we continue, we gradually are able to experience thoughts as thoughts, and not be distracted by them. To be a little technical, when the level of energy in the attention is higher than the level of energy in what you are experiencing, say, anger, or love, then you can experience the anger or love without getting lost in it. When you experience it that way, energy is transformed to a still higher level, making it possible for you to experience deeper levels of clarity and stillness, and also deeper levels of conditioning.

Three Questions

Willingness means to let go of conventional concerns over happiness, wealth, status, and reputation, the agendas of life in society. As long as you limit your experience to what fits into the world of society, you will explore your spiritual potential only to the extent that it doesn't impinge on your life in society.

The Four Ways of Working

As we cut through our confusion over and over again, returning to the breath, we find that a whole realm of experience begins to open up to us: thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, sounds, images, memories. Our conditioned tendency is to regard some of these as good and some as bad. Through power, we have established a place for our attention to rest. Now we make an effort in ecstasy...

Learned Helplessness

One of the primary characteristics of learned helplessness is that the person feels passive with respect to the system. The passivity, however, is only half the story... Can learned helplessness be undone? The answer is "Yes." The cost, however, is high.

Imagine You’re Enlightened

A student asked Dezhung Rinpoche about visualization practice and deity meditation. Dezhung Rinpoche closed his eyes, scrunched his forehead, bobbed his head up and down as if he were concentrating very hard and said, “You visualize the head of the deity, then you visualize all those arms, then you visualize the implements, then the palace, then you try to see the whole deity clearly, but you lose one part, so you go back to visualize that… And it’s all gone. You start again, and the same thing happens, again, and again.” Then he opened his eyes wide, looked right at the student, smiled, and said, “And then you have a headache!”

Awakening Compassion

The principle is as simple as it is counter-intuitive: take the pain of others and give our own happiness in exchange. Suicide?! Ironically, it cuts through, wears away, and undermines the four levels of confusion. Conditioned behavior and perceptions are radically altered through an appreciation of what we have and what we can give to others. Emotional turbulence is reduced as we find ourselves capable of being present non-reactively with pain and unpleasantness. Dualistic thinking is derailed and we find ourselves simply present with others. And, strangest of all, we find our understanding of mind becoming clearer and clearer.

Attention in Speech

How to practice right speech as in the Eightfold Path, listen to your own voice as you speak, naturally evolution of the four characteristics of right speech. Subtitle: Living the Buddhist principle of right speech