Central Doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism
The first truth means that any form of conditioned existence is ultimately of the nature of suffering and dissatisfaction. The second truth means that suffering, which we all instinctively shun, comes about due to conditions, namely the afflictions that lie within us and the karmic actions which they impel us to perform. This state of suffering and delusion is often illustrated by means of the so-called Wheel of Life that depicts the interlocking chains of the “twelve links of dependent origination”. Continue reading
Four Main Schools of Tibetan Buddhism
There are four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism: Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyü, and Geluk. All four schools identify themselves as belonging to the Mahayana or “Great Vehicle” tradition, and therefore are proponents of universal enlightenment. Historically the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism Continue reading
Introduction to the Vajrabhairava System of Anuttarayoga Tantra, Alexander Berzin, Moscow, Russia, June 2013. Unedited Transcript.
This evening I’ve been asked to give an introduction to the Vajrabhairava (rDo-rje ‘jigs-byed) system of the highest class of tantra, anuttarayoga tantra. Continue reading
The 37 practices of a Bodhisattva
(Rgyal-sras lag-len so-bdun-ma)
By Thogme Zangpo
I pay heartfelt homage to you, Lokesvara; You have true compassion extending to all.
To those who in every coming and going have seen that each thing is inherently void, and thus can devote both their time and their efforts with one aim in mind – “Let me benefit all!”
To such foremost Gurus and you, Lokesvara, All- seeing protector, with utmost respect I bow down before you in constant obeisance, and turn to your service my thoughts, words and deeds. Continue reading
The Six Meditation Techniques of Acarya Manjusrimitra
O Noble One, should you wish to experience the Continuum of Awareness (vidya-santana) in all its unveiled nakedness, then:
(1) focus on absolute Awareness as the object [of Meditation];
(2) press the points of the body with the mudra1;
(3) retain the coming and going of the breath2;
(4) aim [the arrow] at the target [of the crown bindu];
(5) rely on the immovability (acala) of body, eyes, consciousness;
(6) and grasp the Vast Openness [of absolute Awareness].3
This is the last testament of Sri Manjusrimitra.
1 For further reference to the mudra, see in particular the description given in the Sri Hevajra-dakini-jalasamvara-tantra, vol: ii, ch. 5, line 69: svasavyetarapanes tu vrddha vanamika ca ya/ tabhyam prapidayed yogi sambhoge laharidvayam//.
2 To retain the coming and going of the breath here means to practice what in Yoga is called the kumbhaka, or vase-breath. Continue reading
A Commentary on the “Leveling out all Conceptions”
Seeking refuge, I pay homage to the precious spiritual teacher Protector Serlingpa, and to the entire lineage of this master and his disciples. Pray, bless me! Continue reading
Homage to the Vajra Dakini!
Mahamudra is beyond all words and concepts.
But for your sake, O Naropa, my most devoted disciple,
who is diligent in ascetic practice and exertion,
this shall be said:
Space lacks any locality at all.
Likewise, Mahamudra rests on naught.
Thus, without making effort, abide in the pure primordial state,
and the fetters that bind you will simply drop away.
Just as when looking into the open sky,
fixed concepts of centre and circumference dissolve,
So, if with mind one perceives the mind, mental activity ceases; then is it, that Enlightened-mind is realized.
Clouds that arise and take form in the sky,
pass away quite automatically according to natural law.
Likewise, the flow of concepts arising in the mind,
naturally pass away when mind perceives mind.
Space has neither shape nor colour;
it is changeless, and not tinged by either white or black. Continue reading
STANZAS OF GURU DEVOTION
By Aryasura written in the first century B.C.
With an oral commentary by Geshe Ngawang Dhargey
Homage to the Bhagavan Vajrasattva.
Bhagavan is one of the many epithets used for an Enlightened Being, a Buddha. The Tibetan term for it, “Chom-dan-da (bCom-ldan ‘das)”, is etymologies as follows. “Chom” means to overcome. Buddhas have overcome both the obstacles preventing Liberation and those preventing Omniscience. Continue reading
The Cultivation of Enlightened Mind, Bodhicittabhavana by Acarya Sri Manjusrimitra Continue reading
The Stanzas on the Practice of Holy Transcendental Wisdom
Arya Prajna-Paramita Carya Gatha
1. vara-prema-gauravu-prasadu upasthapitva
2. prajahitva avarana-klesa malatikrantah
3. srutam jagartham abhiprasthita-suratanam
4. prajnaya paramita yatra caranti surah
1. Draw forth extreme love, yearning, and devotion; Continue reading
A Conversation with an Old Man by Lama Gungtang Konchok Dronme Continue reading
The Three Types of Pilgrim by Kathok Situ Chökyi Gyatso* Continue reading
Buddha Nature by Jamgon Kongtrul
Toronto, August 8, 1990
Translated by Ken McLeod
The principal reason for my visiting Toronto at this time is to present what is known as the empowerment of Kalachakra, Wheel of Time. This is a preliminary talk on Buddhism, about the Dharma, the teachings of Buddha. What I wish to talk about this evening is a very important teaching from the final cycle of teachings, which come from Buddha Shakyamuni. The principal theme of this cycle of teachings is Buddha Nature.
Generally the teachings of Buddhism, teachings which come down to us from the Buddha Shakyamuni, are extraordinarily profound and extensive. The reason for this spread in both profundity and extent is basically the very varied motivations, temperaments and capabilities of individual people. Some of the teachings, which Buddha presented, were directed towards people very much in the midst of their lay lives, ordinary lives and daily lives. Some were provisional teachings, which were intended to lead a person into a deeper appreciation. Some of the teachings were about how things actually are what we call the definitive or certain sections of the teachings.
A Lion’s Roar Eradicating the Errors by Jamyang Shepa Ngawang Tsondrü (1648 –1722) Continue reading
Strategies for Deconstructing Jealousy by Alexandr Berzin
Contents: Session One: Overview, Session Two: No Special “Me” or Special “You”,
Session Three: Categories and Concepts, Session Four: Voidness. Continue reading
Karma: The Possession That Follows Us Everywhere
It is mental volition, O monks, that I call karma. Having willed, one acts through body, speech or mind. The Buddha (Anguttaranikaya, III, p. 41)
Karma is a very important subject, one which we should understand clearly. Karma is not a concept or a theory; karma is a natural law of the universe. Comprehending karma is the Right Understanding (or Right View) of Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. With right understanding, we realize the wholesome, life-affirming actions that bring benefit and happiness to all beings, as well the unwholesome, negative actions which bring unhappiness and suffering. Continue reading
Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche: Born to be Free
Rebel Buddha is an exploration of what it means to be free and how it is that we can become free. Although we may vote for the head of our government, marry for love, and worship the divine or mundane powers of our choice, most of us don’t really feel free in our day-to-day lives. When we talk about freedom, we’re also talking about its opposite—bondage, lack of independence, being subject to the control of something or someone outside ourselves. No one likes it, and when we find ourselves in that situation, we quickly start trying to figure out a way around it. Any restriction on our “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” arouses fierce resistance. When our happiness and freedom are at stake, we become capable of transforming ourselves into rebels. Continue reading
Equalizing and Exchanging
about Self and Others
Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche I
translated by Alexander Berzin
Dharamsala, India, June 4, 1983 Continue reading
Common Misunderstandings about Buddhism by Alexander Berzin
This is the printer-friendly version of: http://www.BerzinArchives.com /web/x/nav/group.html_721414008.html Contents: Common Misunderstandings about Buddhism; Misunderstandings about Ethics and Vows; Misunderstandings about Rebirth; Misunderstandings about Dharma; Misunderstandings about Karma; Misunderstandings about Gurus; Misunderstandings about Practice; Misunderstandings about Tantra; Misunderstandings about Protectors; Misunderstandings about Initiation; Conclusion Continue reading
General Introduction to the Initial Scope Teachings
of the Graded Path (Lam-rim)
Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche I translated by Alexander Berzin,
edited by Samaya Hart
Huizen, Holland, May 1980 Continue reading
His Eminence the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Karma Lodrö Chökyi Senge
Instructions on The Seven Points of Mind Training by Lord Atisha
I am very happy to be here and would like to thank the Berkeley Dharmadhatu/Shambhala Center for providing the opportunity to make this connection with you. It is a great pleasure for me to be here and to talk to you.
Generally speaking, at a Dharma seminar, both the teacher and the students should generate the pure motivation of the altruistic mind of Bodhicitta. The purpose of presenting and receiving the teachings is to benefit all living beings. So, please generate the altruistic mind of awakening. Continue reading
The Appeal of Buddhism in the Modern World
Dr. Alexander Berzin Continue reading
Determine to Be Free of Problems as a Way to Happiness
Dr. Alexander Berzin
To deal with the stress of the Information Age, we need to examine the ways we use the Internet, with its social media, messaging, and so forth. Once we identify our self-defeating habits that just cause us further stress, we need to recognize that the source of our unhappiness is in our own minds. Continue reading
Entering the Dharma Gate by Jetsun Milarepa
Though grief in the Ocean of Samsara
Is preached, and its renunciation is urged,
Few people are really convinced
And renounce it with determination.
Though knowing that life will ever turn to death,
Few feel uneasy, or think that it will end.
Though their life is blessed with good prospects,
Few can practice abstention for a day.
Though the Bliss of Liberation is expounded
And Samsara’s pains are stressed,
Few can really enter the Dharma Gate.
Though the profound Pith-Instructions
Of the Whispered Lineage are given without stint, few
Without fail can practice them.
Though the teaching of Mahamudra is expounded
And the Pointing-out demonstration is exercised,
Few can really understand the Essence of Mind.
To the hermit’s life and the Guru’s wish
One can always aspire, but few
Can put them into practice.
The perfect, skillful path of Naropa
May be shown, without concealment,
But those who can really follow it
Are very few. My dear lad,
You should follow in my footsteps
If in this life you want to do
Something that is worthwhile.
Heart-Spoon By Pabongka Rinpoche
Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains about Heart-Spoon:
“What is a heart-spoon? When you’re eating, you use a small spoon to extract the very best portion of the food in front of you. Similarly, this teaching on impermanence and death by Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo helps you extract the most precious essence from this human life: the ability to secure the happiness of all future lives, liberation from cyclic existence, and enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.” Continue reading
His Holiness Sakya Trizin: “We all possess the seed of the Buddha - the true nature of our mind is pure right from the beginning. All sentient beings have this seed”.
A Short Dharma Teaching by His Holiness Sakya Trizin
Given on Monday, September 24th, 1984. Bristol, England.
Tibetan Buddhism is one of the richest traditions as it contains all the different levels of teaching give by Lord Buddha: Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. The teachings have now spread to many countries and many people are practicing them, which is good as they are the only source of benefit and happiness. Through the Buddhas great activity many different schools arose. In Tibet there are four major schools, They are like one family which has 4 jewels, if one jewel is lost, it is a great loss. Therefore it is important that all 4 traditions are preserved and continued.
Lord Buddha resolved to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. He had accumulated a tremendous amount of merit and wisdom over 3 countless aeons. He then appeared in India as a son of the Shakya kingdom and performed the 72 great deeds. He set an example by showing that enlightenment can be attained by an ordinary person through following the noble path. Continue reading
Shakyamuni Buddha: The Fourth Noble Truth is the Way, the Path leading to the end of dissatisfaction and suffering.
The Four Noble Truths and The Noble Eightfold Path
The First Noble Truth: The Truth of Dissatisfaction and Suffering
The First Noble Truth describes the nature of life and our personal experience of this impermanent, ever-changing world. All beings desire happiness, safety, peace, and comfort. We desire what is satisfying, pleasurable, joyful, and permanent. However, the very nature of existence is impermanent, always changing, and therefore incapable of fully satisfying our desire. Inevitably, we experience frustration, anger, loss, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction. Life is in constant change, and changes such as birth, old age, sickness, and death can bring dissatisfaction or suffering. Suffering may arise from being associated with people or conditions that are unpleasant, from being separated from people we love or conditions we enjoy, from not getting what we desire, or from getting what we desire then losing it. Continue reading
His Holiness Sakya Trizin: “By meditating on this precious human life and impermanence, you will be liberated from the sufferings inherent in this life.”.
Parting From the Four Desires: A Basic Teaching by His Holiness Sakya Trizin
History of the Teaching
We begin with a brief history of this teaching. When the great yogi, the Lama Sakyapa, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, was twelve years old, one of his Gurus, Bari Lotsawa, advised him, “Since you are the son of a great spiritual teacher, it is necessary to study the Dharma, and to study the Dharma requires wisdom. The best way of acquiring wisdom is to practice Manjushri.” So, Bari Lotsawa gave Sachen Kunga Nyingpo the empowerment of Manjushri with all the necessary “lungs.” Then Sachen Kunga Nyingpo undertook a six-month retreat on Manjushri. At the beginning, there were some signs of obstacles, which he managed to purify through the practice of the wrathful Deity, Achala. He continued his meditation and at one time, in his pure vision, he saw Arya Manjushri in the preaching mudra, sitting on a jewelled throne with two other attendants. He received immense insight-wisdom at that moment and Manjushri bestowed this four-line teaching directly to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo:
If you desire the worldly aims of this life,
you are not a spiritual person; Continue reading
Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche: If you want to gain complete liberation from cyclic existence, you have to follow the teachings of the Buddha completely and precisely. If you do so correctly, liberation from cyclic existence is definitely possible.
Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche: Renunciation. New Delhi, India, 1979
Dharma protects us from suffering
The Sanskrit word Dharma [Tib: chö] means to hold, or uphold. What is it that Dharma upholds, or maintains? It is the elimination of suffering and the attainment of happiness. Dharma does this not only for us but for all other sentient beings as well.
The sufferings we experience are of two types: those immediately visible to us as humans and those we cannot see without psychic powers. The former include the pain involved in the birth process, the unpleasantness of occasionally becoming sick, the misery experienced by growing old and aging, and the terror of death.
The sufferings that come after death are not visible to an ordinary person. We might think that when we die we will probably be reborn as a human being. Continue reading
His Holiness Sakya Trizin: “The meaning of emptiness is not that phenomena do not exist. What is truly meant by emptiness is that everything that appears to our senses, absolutely everything, is interdependent ”.
Emptiness as Expressed in the Heart Sutra. A Teaching by His Holiness the Sakya Trizin.
The teachings of the Buddha are the source of all happiness and benefit, in this life as well as in future ones. Life makes many demands on us – we need food, shelter and other basic necessities for our survival. But the most meaningful thing in our lives is to discover the truth of all phenomena. One of the most important teachings that the Buddha gave us is that everything is impermanent, particularly our human life, which faces so many obstacles, and which can be cut short at any time. Whatever gains we attain in this life, whether it be wealth, fame, or prosperity, these gains will only last us during this lifetime, which is a very limited amount of time. This is why Jnanakirti, the great master, said that we must strive to realize truth while we have this great opportunity, as to have such an opportunity is very difficult, and it may not happen again for a very, very long time. And so, the most important, the most meaningful thing that we can do during this lifetime, which provides all the right conditions and is free from all the unfavourable states, is to discover the truth about the nature of reality. Continue reading
Buddhist Logic for Helping with Work
Dr. Alexander Berzin
Buddha said not to accept what he taught just based on faith, but to test it with logic and experimentation, like testing gold. Continue reading
Deep Vision of the Non-differentiation of Samsara-Nirvana by Ngor Ewan Phende Rinpoche Continue reading
His Holiness Sakya Trizin: “The guide is the Buddha, and the Dharma is the path you need to follow to reach the destination.”.
Following the Path, Reading the Signs.
Teachings given by H.H. Sakya Trizin in Bristol, England, October 1991
Lord Buddha has given many teachings for the benefit of all sentient beings. Since all sentient beings have differing mentalities, propensities and defilements they need very many different types of teaching just as different types of medicine are needed to treat different diseases. Thus in Tibetan Buddhism we have four major schools, which are all a reflection of Buddha’s activity. Every sentient being possesses Buddha Nature and it is for this reason that everyone, (if they work hard) can become a Buddha. Continue reading
Tibetan Buddhism and Psychotherapy: a conversation with H. H. the Dalai Lama
David Ross Komito, Amherst, Massachusetts. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1983, Vol. 15, No.1. From an interview conducted on July 8, 1982.
I came to the town of Dharamsala in northern India to discuss with the monk-scholars, at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, several difficult points in a Buddhist philosophical treatise which I was translating. Continue reading