Questions about Lamrim

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:07 am

Hello, I have been practicing mindfulness of breathing for a couple of years, mostly to bring down my anxiety and stress. I have been more interested in Buddhism and more specifically Tibetan Buddhism in recent times. However, due to my circumstances at this time, I do not have the opportunity of getting in contact with a teacher.

I have read around that it is not possible to set out in Vajrayana without a teacher, but what about practices like Lamrim meditation? I have the book Gampopa's "Jewel Ornament of Liberation" with me, got it after seeing a multitude of people recommending it around forums. I have started reading it, but have no idea how to start out with practice, or whether I should start out with practice.

Should I start out with Lamrim meditation, and if yes, how should I proceed with it? Are there any other practices I can start out with in Tibetan Buddhism without a teacher?
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:46 pm

Lamrim is the condensation of all of Buddha's teachings. It's very practical Dharma and an important foundation for the practice of Vajrayana. I would recommend trying to find a centre where they teach and practise lamrim as it's important to get an oral transmission of the meditations from a qualified Teacher. Best of luck! :smile:
User avatar
Tsongkhapafan
 
Posts: 229
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:36 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:58 pm

As far as Lam Rim without a teacher goes, I think one of the best guides over the years for me has been the Berzin Archives, which has a very helpful section on Lam Rim. He explains things very simply and in easy to understand terms.

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/x/nav ... 51659.html

Best of luck
:anjali:
Image
User avatar
Zhen Li
 
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:50 pm

Thank you for the replies. :smile: Unfortunately I don't have access to a teacher right now, so I have to do my best without one.

I just browsed through the Berzin archives and the amount of information there is almost overwhelming! Having read through a couple of articles on Lamrim meditation, would the following approach be okay?
1. Half an hour of breathing meditation to calm my mind.
2. Reading a different chapter from Jewel Ornament Of Liberation every day.
3. Contemplating above chapter.
4. Focusing on the objects generated by above contemplation.

A few other queries, I have been doing at least an hour of breathing meditation these days, does this really fit into the Lamrim framework? I see concentration and wisdom are steps on the path, do you meditate on the importance of developing concentration and wisdom or do you meditate to develop concentration and wisdom? If it is the former, then that means that other practices are required as well right?

Also, are there any other practices that someone can do without the help of a teacher? I focused on Lamrim because I read in several places that it is a preparatory practice which can be done without a transmission.
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:03 pm

I just browsed through the Berzin archives and the amount of information there is almost overwhelming! Having read through a couple of articles on Lamrim meditation, would the following approach be okay?
1. Half an hour of breathing meditation to calm my mind.
2. Reading a different chapter from Jewel Ornament Of Liberation every day.
3. Contemplating above chapter.
4. Focusing on the objects generated by above contemplation.

If you find that doing those 4 steps produces clear progress and improvement each time, then it's worth sticking with it.

I wouldn't personally be daunted by the size of Berzin's stuff on Lam Rim. Lam Rim really doesn't need to be sped through, it's really worth taking the time to internalise each aspect. Everyone goes back to study these over and over again, it's not something you discard once you finish. But I personally spend a few months going from start to finish with these systems.
A few other queries, I have been doing at least an hour of breathing meditation these days, does this really fit into the Lamrim framework?

Lam Rim does not posit a path different from that of Buddhism as a whole. The Buddha taught mindfulness of breathing because it is useful and can lead you all the way to nirvana. The way it works is always the same: practice all aspects of the path, abandon the unwholesome, practice what is wholesome, cut away illusions.
I see concentration and wisdom are steps on the path, do you meditate on the importance of developing concentration and wisdom or do you meditate to develop concentration and wisdom? If it is the former, then that means that other practices are required as well right?

If you want to internalise the steps as you read Gampopa, then you can meditate on their importance. But meditation does develop concentration and wisdom. Gampopa explains this very well in the text, I would suggest just reading what he writes because you will find it answers a lot of the questions you have.
Also, are there any other practices that someone can do without the help of a teacher? I focused on Lamrim because I read in several places that it is a preparatory practice which can be done without a transmission.

You can practice the whole path right now, right there, right where you are!

:anjali:
Image
User avatar
Zhen Li
 
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:50 am

Thank you for that response, that was helpful and reassuring. :smile:
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby Terma » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:45 am

Hi, I think you are on the right track :twothumbsup:

Not sure if you are planning to seek out a teacher at some point or not, but here is a good option- it is an online meditation program that guides us through different sets of comtemplations on a daily basis. This course is actually a complete teaching, all the way from the Lam Rim type meditations- In this case the four thoughts that turn the mind towards dharma, the six perfections, and then eventually into the Vajrayana side of things (at which point a connection with the teacher is needed). But even if one doesn't venture that far, I really think this is a great program, and a complete path start to finish. And the teacher is absolutely amazing!

Here is the link.

https://dharmasun.org/index.php?dharmasun=cms&id=10

In the past, I practiced this program for a period of time, so please feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

Just wanted to present this as an idea for what is a very well structured daily program. Sometimes it can be difficult doing these things on our own. Well for me it is at times :tongue:

Anyways, best wishes for your practice!
Terma
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:07 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:42 pm

That program looks interesting, thank you for the link. However I think I am going to try practicing on my own for a while, mostly because my life is very haphazard right now and I wouldn't want to commit to anything that I may not be able to follow through with. Bookmarked it though, it looks like a promising option when things settle down. :smile:
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby Ayu » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:40 pm

If you do like you planed, you will be the deciple of Che Tsongkhapa. :smile:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
User avatar
Ayu
 
Posts: 944
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:22 am

Ayu wrote:If you do like you planed, you will be the deciple of Che Tsongkhapa. :smile:


Makes the practice sound very exciting when you put it that way. :smile:
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:59 am

Expanding on my previous question about other practices, is it possible to practice the two from these books below without initiation or empowerments?

http://www.amazon.com/Cultivating-Compa ... 1559392428

http://www.amazon.com/How-Free-Your-Min ... JMAQ4G02DA

Judging from various posts I have read around here, these seem to be more open practices.
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby Ayu » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:34 pm

Just choose one and try it for a while.
Don't do both at once. :smile:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
User avatar
Ayu
 
Posts: 944
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:44 pm

Ayu wrote:Just choose one and try it for a while.
Don't do both at once. :smile:

Could you please explain why? I am finding it extremely difficult to choose. :( Is any one considered better for beginner practitioners?
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby supermaxv » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:28 pm

LolCat wrote:Expanding on my previous question about other practices, is it possible to practice the two from these books below without initiation or empowerments?

http://www.amazon.com/Cultivating-Compa ... 1559392428

http://www.amazon.com/How-Free-Your-Min ... JMAQ4G02DA

Judging from various posts I have read around here, these seem to be more open practices.


The Tara book IIRC has a disclaimer clearly stating that you should not do the practice described without empowerment. It's a great book though. Looking through the Chenrezig book on Amazon there looks like there are guidelines in there about which parts of the practice you need to skip if you do not have empowerment. Without a teacher or prior experience. it's hard for me to enthusiastically encourage you to dive into deity meditation, especially considering that there are other practices that are more accessible.
supermaxv
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:46 pm

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:20 am

supermaxv wrote:
LolCat wrote:Expanding on my previous question about other practices, is it possible to practice the two from these books below without initiation or empowerments?

http://www.amazon.com/Cultivating-Compa ... 1559392428

http://www.amazon.com/How-Free-Your-Min ... JMAQ4G02DA

Judging from various posts I have read around here, these seem to be more open practices.


The Tara book IIRC has a disclaimer clearly stating that you should not do the practice described without empowerment. It's a great book though. Looking through the Chenrezig book on Amazon there looks like there are guidelines in there about which parts of the practice you need to skip if you do not have empowerment. Without a teacher or prior experience. it's hard for me to enthusiastically encourage you to dive into deity meditation, especially considering that there are other practices that are more accessible.

Well if I had to choose, that makes my choice so much easier. :smile: What are these other practices, aside from Lamrim? Would you recommend that I do not try the Chenrezig meditations, even if I follow the book strictly to the letter and skip the parts that do require an empowerment?
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:00 am

You can study lam rim very easily without empowerments. You said you had Gampopa's book, I'd really recommend just going right ahead and studying it without thinking about it too much. As for meditation, you already mentioned you're doing mindfulness of breathing, so you might as well continue with that.
:anjali:
Image
User avatar
Zhen Li
 
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am

Re: Questions about Lamrim

Postby LolCat » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:16 am

Okay. :smile: It is tempting to go ahead with something else as well, but I suppose it would be better to wait and start with a proper teacher.
LolCat
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:50 am


Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Karinos, yarnkitty and 27 guests

>