Lamrim, or the stages of the path to enlightenment, is a common and praised practice within all the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Traditionally, to higher the status of these teachings, there is often given a teaching on the greatness of the authors. While all teachings can be traced back to the Buddha, the Lamrim tradition is often traced back to Lama Atisha. Continue reading
For many practitioners of the Gelug tradition, doing the practice of Lama Tsongkhapa guru yoga is done daily and respectfully for the duration of one’s life. While the practice itself appears to be simple, it’s actually very rich and encompasses all 84000 teachings of the Buddha. Continue reading
In Malaysia, the Buddhist group Kechara House has experienced quick growth and and expansion in a relatively short period time. One thing that impressed me recently, was that prior to beginning work on their new retreat center, they made an effort to gather the local Sangha from different traditions, and made offerings to them. The idea was to create the merit in order for their continued Dharma work to be successful.
I found this very inspiring because western Buddhists don’t always see the value of doing dana. After even getting a long talk about the importance of creating merit, its still often hard for people to give money away.
In the following videos below, the first video shows the act of making offerings to the Sangha. In the second video, Tsem Tulku in his practical teaching style, explains what merit is and cause and effect is in easy to understand terms, and the importance of making offerings to the Sangha.
I found this interesting video the other day by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, about how to prepare for tantric initiations. Tsem Tulku is an interesting person in that he often reaches out to people who wouldn’t otherwise be interested in Dharma practice. In that sense, he fits his approach in order to connect to those people.
Many people that get involved with Tibetan Buddhism do so with expectations of getting high-level initiations and have all sorts of ideas about what its going to do for them. However, there’s often a certain amount of preparation that’s required in order to gain benefit from them. In this interesting video, he explains in general form, some practices and study that is required in order to prepare to take on higher practices. Specifically, he talks about ngondro. While teachers were often recommend their students to do ngondro in different sequences, I think the advice he gives is very good. Especially that he emphasizes that if someone can’t do the ngondro, do something equivalent, like doing Dharma work.
Puja is a ritualized offerings or pujas are often common in Tibetan Buddhism in order to dispel obstacles and to create auspicious conditions for someone else. While this is common in Tibetan Buddhism, its also something that is commonly done in Hinduism and other religions from India. I’m not very familiar with how they’re done in these traditions, but effectiveness of pujas are heavily dependent on the intention behind it.
Common pujas within the Tibetan tradition include Medicine Buddha pujas, Green Tara Pujas, protector pujas, etc.
Here’s a video of a talk that Tsem Tulku did about the reason behind doing pujas.
I saw this interesting video the other day by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche about keeping tantric commitments that come with a highest yoga initiation. It’s very straight forward and very frank, but I think it cuts through a lot of confusion.
He talks about it in a general sense for people who are planning on taking an initiation, but it’s also helpful for those that already have one.
His explanations are applicable to all highest yoga tantra practices i.e. Yamantaka, Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara (Heruka), Vajrayogini, Cittimani Tara, Kalachakra, etc. Continue reading
Lama Tsongkapha was a Buddhist saint and scholar, known for starting the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Every year, according to the lunar calendar, Buddhists that practice within the Gelug tradition celebrate Lama Tsongkhapa’s birthday. This usually involves doing pujas and other practices, and then dedicating the merit created by these practices for the benefit of others. Continue reading