Temporary experiences such as flashes of bliss or clarity can be encouraging moments in your practice, says Andrew Holecek, but only if you know how to handle them. If you don’t, beware. They can be traps.
Entries in Tibetan Buddhism (17)
There are two kinds of refuge, says Mingyur Rinpoche— outer and inner. We take refuge in the outer forms of enlightenment so that we may find the buddha within.
According to Tibetan Buddhism, all life and death take place in the gap, or bardo, between one state and another. Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen presents a commentary on Milarepa’s song of realization “The Eight Bardos.”
Your relationship with your teacher can have a profound and lasting effect on your practice. But it can also be difficult and confusing to navigate. Our panel looks at what it means to have a teacher today, how you can make the most of the relationship, and what you can do when it’s not working out.
When my teacher, Karma Yeshe Wangpo, told me that he would be happy to teach a weekend retreat if I organized it, I was thrilled. At this point in my life, I had been medi- tating for just over two years. I would finally be attending my first retreat.
In this commentary on a traditional Guru Rinpoche visualization, the contemporary Dzogchen master Tulku Thondup Rinpoche reveals the deep nontheistic essence of Vajrayana practice. We receive the true blessings of the enlightened ones when our mind and theirs become one.
It’s not enough just to renounce attachment to this life, says the Sakya Trizin. To be truly liberated we must transcend the idea of a solid reality altogether.
If you have attachment to this life, you are not a religious person.
If you have attachment to the world of existence, you do not have renunciation.
If you have attachment to your own purpose, you do not have enlightenment mind.
If grasping arises, you do not have the view.
—Root verses of Parting from the Four Attachments
Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092–1158)
This teaching is from the category known as mind training (lojong). It was given directly by the great bodhisattva Manjushri to the great Lama Sakyapa, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, who was the first of the five great founders of the Sakya order.
Gene Smith dedicated his life to preserving Tibet’s literary heritage, and played a key role in its survival. In December he passed away, at the age of 74. Janet Gyatso remembers the man and his historic contribution.
Gene Smith was an academic maverick and preeminent pioneer of Tibetan Studies who singlehandedly preserved for posterity the vast heritage of Tibet’s texts on philosophy, history, and culture. For decades, he had been recognized by scholars around the world as the de facto dean of Tibetan Studies and held in the highest regard due to his extraordinary accomplishments in protecting and sharing Tibet’s imperiled literary treasures and his dedication to making Tibetan literature universally accessible. Smith had extensive knowledge of Tibetan religious history, and provided generous assistance to scholars worldwide for more than forty years.
The haunted dominion of the mind, says Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche, in none other than the dominion of self-clinging. If our goal is to free ourselves from the fear and endless insecurities that haunt us, then we must cut through self-clinging by cultivating the view of emptiness.
In old Tibet, practitioners went to charnel grounds, springs, haunted houses, haunted trees, and so on, in order to reveal how deeply their practice had cut to the core of their fears and attachments. The practice of cutting through our deepest attachments and fears to their core is called nyensa chödpa. Nyensa chödpa means “cutting through the haunted dominion of mind.” It is not that I am encouraging you to go to these haunted places to test yourself, but it’s important for all practitioners to understand the view behind nyensa chödpa, because until we are challenged we don’t know how deep our practice can go.
Bethany Saltman talks with Tenzin Palmo about rebirth, merit, and the bodhisattva vow.
Venerable Tenzin Palmo is best known as the British nun who meditated in a Himalayan cave for twelve years, as described in the popular book, Cave in the Snow, by Vicki MacKenzie. Though she left retreat in 1988, she still finds herself describing that solitary life to others, and sometimes defending it. Her one request in granting this interview was: “Please, let’s not talk about the cave.”
Born in London, Tenzin Palmo was drawn to Buddhism from an early age, and in 1964, at age twenty, she sailed to India. There she met her guru, the eighth Khamtrül Rinpoche, and became one of the first Western women to be ordained in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.