The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

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The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby phantom59 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:40 am

The first point is the outer condition the basis for practicing shamatha and vipashyana. This is to have a proper place to meditate, a place without obstacles. For example, in some places people are prejudiced against meditators, which can create problems. The best place for meditation is one that is blessed by great meditators of the past. We also need certain inner conditions to meditate properly. The first quality is to not be too attached to outer sense objects and not so concerned about getting what we want. We simply should have few desires.

The second quality is to be satisfied or content with the situation we have. How to encourage these two qualities can be illustrated by how parents talk to their children about meditation. If the parents are good practitioners, they will encourage their children by saying, "Try not to be too ambitious. Don't strive too much for outer things. Be content and be satisfied with what you have. In this way you will be able to practice meditation. Otherwise you'll be wasting your time." Parents who do not practice meditation give the opposite advice: "You should strive very hard and be very ambitious. You should try to become very rich and get ahead. Acquire property and hold on to it. Otherwise you'll be wasting your time." So we can see here how to encourage these qualities properly.

The third quality is not to be involved in too many activities or responsibilities. If we are too busy, then we will not be able to practice meditation.

The fourth quality is to have good conduct. This means that we avoid negative actions which bring harm to others. All Buddhist vows are concerned with avoiding actions that produce negative karma. There are different kinds of vows, those of a layperson, a novice monk, a fully ordained monk, and a Bodhisattva. When lay people practice meditation, it is good to have taken the five-layperson vows, which in Sanskrit are called the upasaka vows. These are to avoid killing, stealing, lying, harming others sexually, and drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

Since our main practice is the Bodhisattva path, it is important to take the Bodhisattva Vow, which can be practiced as a layperson. Monks and nuns also take the Bodhisattva Vow. Both lay and monastic practitioners can combine the practice of a Bodhisattva with the upasaka vows. For example, Marpa the translator was a lay Bodhisattva, whereas the Indian master Nagarjuna was a monk Bodhisattva. Both were enlightened.

Now we will discuss the requirements for practicing vipashyana. It is essential to follow and rely on a proper teacher, someone who can explain the teachings correctly. In the Theravada tradition a teacher must be able to explain meditation on selflessness from his own experience. In the Mahayana tradition a teacher must have an understanding of emptiness--the Madhyamaka or Middle Way teachings-and be able to explain it clearly.

The second quality for practicing vipashyana is to properly analyze the teachings we have received. If we have received Mahayana teachings on emptiness, then we should study different commentaries and receive instructions from our teacher on how to understand them. We then need to analyze and contemplate these teachings and instructions, which will greatly benefit our vipashyana practice.

The Bodhisattva Vow
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=50

Benefits of Meditation
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=67

View, meditation and conduct
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=54

Calm Abiding and Insight Meditation
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=53

Meditation of the Theravada and Mahayana Traditions
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=55

Four Ways of the Wise
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=49

Atisha Seven Points of Mind Training
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=65

Learning to see
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=52

Refuge in The Three Jewels
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=59

Ngondro, the Preliminary Practices
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=61

Enlightenment is within you
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=56

Qualities of A Guru
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=14

Seven points on meditation
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=68

Mastering the mind
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=62

Meditation on Love and Compassion
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=51

Points on Choosing A Buddhist Teacher
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=109

3 main approaches in Buddhism
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=58

Learning to see
http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=52
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby jakeblues6919 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:30 pm

Wow, that's a great selection of Shamar Rinpoche's teachings. I'm looking forward to reading Rinpoche's new book, The Path to Awakening. :smile:
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:20 pm

I'm sorry phantom...

but if those are as stated the conditions for practicing meditation.....I would never have meditated. Which I have done in some form starting 40 years ago.

I am but a layperson with no accomplishment of any sort.... but I am a very slight teeny tiny bit more compassionate as a result of my meditational pursuits. Nothing, not a sigular thing of other nature could have allowed for such result as I am quite limited and dull.

So I have thusly engaged and suceeded despite having none of those things or circumstances of presentation, described.

I think the title should read.....best conditions for practicing meditation.
Or defend that I must comply with these conditions before meditating.

I am what I am.... but have initiated at a Kagyu temple years ago, retreat when not in wilderness retreat at kagyu retreat house, study Kagyu text and have been guided by Kagyu teachers.
So I am not a outsider taking a pot shot at Kagyu.

So please clarify or defend.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby Luke » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:17 pm

Thanks for posting this, Phantom! I always enjoy Shamar Rinpoche's dharma teachings. Hopefully, I'll get to meet him one day.

jakeblues6919 wrote:Wow, that's a great selection of Shamar Rinpoche's teachings. I'm looking forward to reading Rinpoche's new book, The Path to Awakening. :smile:

Cool! I can't wait.
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby jakeblues6919 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:14 am

The new book is available on Amazon by the way. :buddha1:
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby tamdrin » Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:39 pm

interstingly enough I have read here http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=6&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=44&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=7328c057b3
that the Sharmapa doesn't feel Vajrayana is suitable for westerners.. This is usually opposite to the view we hear that vajrayana is best for people of these times when there is an increase in afflictive emotions...
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:06 pm

:namaste:

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Last edited by kirtu on Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby neverdowell » Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:35 am

tamdrin wrote:interstingly enough I have read here http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=6&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=44&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=7328c057b3
that the Sharmapa doesn't feel Vajrayana is suitable for westerners..


Sorry tamdrin but that link didn't work because of certain characters contained in it. Fixed it for ya:

http://www.shamarpa.org/index.php?id=6& ... 7328c057b3

To develop bodhichitta, which is the actual practice, you need to develop such compassion that you simply cannot bear others being tormented by suffering. But in order to develop this compassion, you must know exactly how you yourself are plagued by suffering. And you must understand that the whole of samsara is by nature suffering. But first you must fear the lower realms, for without this you will have no repudiation of celestial and human happiness. You must therefore train your mind in the small- and medium- scope parts of the path. -- Pabongka Rinpoche
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby dzoki » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:49 am

I think that is meant as ideal conditions for practicing meditation. What are more important conditions (though some of them overlap with those mentioned by Shamar Rinpoche) are the ones described in Ngedon Gyamtso by 9th Karmapa.
I think that as a practitioners we shoud understand what meditation really is and what is not. Physical act of sitting down and chanting something or remaining silent and trying to focus is not a meditation itself.
Meditation basicaly means letting thoughts and phenomena arise and go, without trying to block them or being attached to them. That is doing nothing and being present. Doing nothing is a meditation. A very basic meditation. When we can do nothing with our mind, then we can also learn to do nothing while doing something. But first we should do nothing and it is at times a bit difficult, because we are always used to do something. So 9th Karmapa says that for the period of the session - at least for that time - we should have a mind of renunciate. That is we should not preocupy our mind with all the stuff that we either did before the session or want to do after the session, or are worried about right now. That is the first condition. If we are preocupied with three times, meditation will never arise in us.
Second condition is not judging the meditation itself as a bad or good depending on whether there are no thoughts or emotions or obstacles (such as dullness, agitation or lack of clarity), instead we should include all as the object of presence, that is if we are dull we are dull and we are aware of that state. In that case dullness is not an obstacle, but is also a meditation.
Third condition is having a good teacher, not only outer human teacher, but also having a good understanding of the inner teacher and the teacher of the phenomena.
The fourth condition is having a clear intelectual grasp of what meditation is (which is not so complicated to understand), if we don't know preciselly what we want to do (that is doing nothing), meditation will not arise in us.
I think that most practitioners of tibetan buddhism in the West are lying to themselves when they say that they are meditating. Or at least that is my feeling based on the converstions with people. We spend our time doing pujas, chanting, mudras, sounding the instruments and visualisation, but most of the time we are just in the sphere of sheer distraction. Either we are distracted with our thoughts or with the the ritual props or even with visualisations. And then we end up wandering after the years pass why, there is no realisation, when tantra is such a quick path.
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby dzoki » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:13 am

As far as I understand the practice with yidam should be such that when we arise as a deity, we should remain with the presence of diety regardless the thougs that arise, regardless the chants that need to be chanted, the instruments that need to be played. But this is impossible if we have not understood what is the meditation. So not understanding that meditation is doing nothing or doing nothing while doing something, we instead only "do something". Instead of being continuously present throughout the process of sadhana we stray to mere distraction and indiferrence.
I think that Shamar Rinpoche has perfectly understood this about people in the West. He understood that our minds are so hooked up on the thoughts that it is difficult for us to meditate while we perform vajrayana ritual. That is why he puts emphasis on a method which is more simple and therefor might bring more benefit in the end and that is shamatha. Without having firm ground in shamatha meditation, we will never succeed with vajrayana methods. Of course in the old vajrayana texts themselves there is this approach as well, but it is probably forgotten or not applied. It is called practicing approach (nyenpa). Real meaning of the approach is to thoroughly familiarise oneself with this presence as a deity. The advice given by Padmasambhava is to meditate just on the form of the deity until it is stable, without chanting anything, reciting mantras etc. When this visualisation, this presence is completely stable, then one can proceed to practice further practice of nyenpa within the framework of the sadhana itself. But I have never seen this being applied in the West. Everybody is so eager to chant and practice the sadhana as if that itself was more important than having stable presence of oneself as a deity. This is one of the factors why I think vajrayana will not work in the West. Second factor is that there can be no accomplishment of mantra if ones own speech is poluted. So it is better to accumulate mantras in retreat, while keeping silence when it comes to ordinary speech. But only very few people have these conditions. Third is the realisation of prana and with this retreat is a must. It is almost impossible to have any advance with prana exercises, such as thrulkhor while having improper daily schedule, food etc. - conditions which are hard to meet while going to work and living in the city. I think that for people who are interested in Tibetan buddhism in the West, while living in society sutrayana practice with some simple sadhanas from lower tantras is what they should aim at and practice and that they will have much much more benefit from that then from practicing higher tantras.
If someone wants to practice higher tantras they should remain in retreat.
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby Silent Bob » Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:08 am

dzoki--You may be right--I've only been practicing for 38 years, so I can't give you a definitive answer, but the scent of your pious certainty leads me to wonder how well you understand the reality of what you are stating so boldly, or are you merely parroting the words of Shamar Rinpoche?...

I'm just sayin'...

Chris
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--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby Tilopa » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:11 am

I think that most practitioners of tibetan buddhism in the West are lying to themselves when they say that they are meditating. Or at least that is my feeling based on the converstions with people. We spend our time doing pujas, chanting, mudras, sounding the instruments and visualisation, but most of the time we are just in the sphere of sheer distraction. Either we are distracted with our thoughts or with the the ritual props or even with visualisations. And then we end up wandering after the years pass why, there is no realisation, when tantra is such a quick path.


I think you have accurately identified a serious problem with many western practititioners of Tibetan Buddhism. :thumbsup:

Without having firm ground in shamatha meditation, we will never succeed with vajrayana methods. Of course in the old vajrayana texts themselves there is this approach as well, but it is probably forgotten or not applied. It is called practicing approach (nyenpa).


You are right again! :twothumbsup:
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby dzoki » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:34 am

Silent Bob wrote:dzoki--You may be right--I've only been practicing for 38 years, so I can't give you a definitive answer, but the scent of your pious certainty leads me to wonder how well you understand the reality of what you are stating so boldly, or are you merely parroting the words of Shamar Rinpoche?...

I'm just sayin'...

Chris


This is just my experience with vajrayana practice, I have been going through same thing that I described above. Until one of my teachers explained to me that I should stop banging my head against the wall, that is I should stop trying to do complicated vajrayana rituals when my mind is so distracted, because there will be no benefit. In the light of this I adjusted my practice a bit, although still there was much craving for some vajrayana circus in me, shamatha was just plain boring to me. But over the time i found out that there is no way I can get around this, also as meditation started to arise in me, shamatha was no more boring.
I have been practicing only for 9 years, but I have seen quite a lot at least here in Europe with regards to TB. For example I have seen old practitioners who have been in Dharma for more than 20 years coming to the teachings beaming with excitement like "Oh this one teaching will finaly save me, it will finaly liberate me" but as the lecture progressed these people became increasingly bored and disillusioned like "oh I have already heard this, this teaching is not so special". In this way they accumulate hundreds of the teachings but never practice even a single one (I mean they do, but only for a limited time and once bored with it they go and search for something else). This is very sad. I myself have been just like that, but I am trying to get my feet on the ground.
I think in this regard both students and teachers need to get real, for example I like the approach of the late Tarab Tulku Rinpoche a lot, also Tsoknyi Rinpoche seems to go into that direction. I am sure that teachings such as atiyoga are extremely effective, but without firm basis in the understanding of sutrayana, they will have only limited benefit. People practice some method like rushan, they have a powerful experience, then they go back to their lives leaving retreat and not being grounded in the renunciation they wander off to different projects of the present life. They do not extract realisation from their experience, but cherish the experience as a precious memory. This is what I think of the situation in the West.
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby heart » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:36 am

Hi dzoki,

Well, interesting ideas you have about westerners. I don't know if you are right or not but I often have doubts about the way people practice, not to mention how I practice myself. The problem about talking about other peoples practice is that it is actually very difficult to know the minds of other people. So when I look just at my own mind I don't agree with you. To teach only shamtha could be a serious obstacle for people. Shamatha and vipasshana belongs together and in any kind of meditation, that is correct, there is always a bit of both. This is actually equally true in Mahayana as in Vajrayana. When it comes to doing "nyenpa" the approach I do think it is of paramount importance in particular for Mahamudra and Dzogchen practitioners, not a popular opinion these days. Still "nyenpa" is always shamatha and vipassahana inseparable. The biggest problem we westerners have is that we don't practice enough. We are amateurs. However, at least for myself, I can't imagine a life without Vajrayana and even if I don't get any realization at all in this life I am still immensely grateful for meeting my Guru and receiving the key points of Vajrayana and it have changed my life in innumerable ways. So I don't know if Vajrayana is for westerners or not but it is definitely for me. It is actually Vajrayana that unlocked Mahayana and Hinayana for me and not the other way around.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby heart » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:51 am

dzoki wrote: I am sure that teachings such as atiyoga are extremely effective, but without firm basis in the understanding of sutrayana, they will have only limited benefit. People practice some method like rushan, they have a powerful experience, then they go back to their lives leaving retreat and not being grounded in the renunciation they wander off to different projects of the present life. They do not extract realisation from their experience, but cherish the experience as a precious memory. This is what I think of the situation in the West.


I am not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that you practiced "rushan" and had powerful experience and then cherished that experience instead of getting realized?
You know that "rushan" is not about having powerful experiences, it is about separating mind "sem" and "rigpa". Maybe you just didn't understand how to do the practice?

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby dzoki » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:12 am

heart wrote:
dzoki wrote: I am sure that teachings such as atiyoga are extremely effective, but without firm basis in the understanding of sutrayana, they will have only limited benefit. People practice some method like rushan, they have a powerful experience, then they go back to their lives leaving retreat and not being grounded in the renunciation they wander off to different projects of the present life. They do not extract realisation from their experience, but cherish the experience as a precious memory. This is what I think of the situation in the West.


I am not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that you practiced "rushan" and had powerful experience and then cherished that experience instead of getting realized?
You know that "rushan" is not about having powerful experiences, it is about separating mind "sem" and "rigpa". Maybe you just didn't understand how to do the practice?

/magnus

I did not practice rushan much, this was experience of one of my friends. He had an idea that he recognized rigpa. But I think one needs a bit of stability to be sure, not just a flash of something. Also many experiences can be mistaken for rigpa. Later he told me that this is just a memory now, that it was something he had in the past and now I see how bussy he is with his life and work etc. So it occured to me that he surely must have had some experience, but since he left it to be just a single occurence and have not practiced more it became just like that. The reason why people do not practice enough is that they are not understanding the main points of training in the sutrayana - four changings of mind and bodhicitta. Otherwise if someone has this understanding how could one not pracitce more?
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby dzoki » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:26 am

heart wrote:Hi dzoki,

Well, interesting ideas you have about westerners. I don't know if you are right or not but I often have doubts about the way people practice, not to mention how I practice myself. The problem about talking about other peoples practice is that it is actually very difficult to know the minds of other people. So when I look just at my own mind I don't agree with you. To teach only shamtha could be a serious obstacle for people. Shamatha and vipasshana belongs together and in any kind of meditation, that is correct, there is always a bit of both. This is actually equally true in Mahayana as in Vajrayana. When it comes to doing "nyenpa" the approach I do think it is of paramount importance in particular for Mahamudra and Dzogchen practitioners, not a popular opinion these days. Still "nyenpa" is always shamatha and vipassahana inseparable. The biggest problem we westerners have is that we don't practice enough. We are amateurs. However, at least for myself, I can't imagine a life without Vajrayana and even if I don't get any realization at all in this life I am still immensely grateful for meeting my Guru and receiving the key points of Vajrayana and it have changed my life in innumerable ways. So I don't know if Vajrayana is for westerners or not but it is definitely for me. It is actually Vajrayana that unlocked Mahayana and Hinayana for me and not the other way around.

/magnus


Sure I cannot claim that I know how others have their minds, their inner workings etc. But one can observe some general things on the basis of conversation and behavior. For example I know a few people who want to do a retreat, They have expressed this for years but they don't go and do it. It is not that they have a family or that they have some strong obligations towards someone, but it seems to me that they are not able to let go of their situation. And this is think is a lack of the lojong trainig, not understanding how our situation really is. Our worldly life is so beautiful, yet so deceiving, it is just like licking honey off the razor, yet we are so trapped in it.
Of course shamatha and vipashyana belong together, but without basis of shamatha there can hardly be any vipashyana. And I myself continue to do my daily sadhana, but I do the most simple version and try to get more presence and stability, before i did long pujas and more complicated sadhanas also I changed my practice quite often, but over the time I settled with a few practices that I do daily and try not to do many new things. In general I spend my time in retreat so it is easy to practice sadhana there, but in bussy life of a working person it is quite diffiult, of course depending on a job. So I think that for people living in the society to become a quality vajrayana practitioner they should train in lojong and shamatha first.
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby heart » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:41 am

dzoki wrote:
heart wrote:
dzoki wrote: I am sure that teachings such as atiyoga are extremely effective, but without firm basis in the understanding of sutrayana, they will have only limited benefit. People practice some method like rushan, they have a powerful experience, then they go back to their lives leaving retreat and not being grounded in the renunciation they wander off to different projects of the present life. They do not extract realisation from their experience, but cherish the experience as a precious memory. This is what I think of the situation in the West.


I am not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that you practiced "rushan" and had powerful experience and then cherished that experience instead of getting realized?
You know that "rushan" is not about having powerful experiences, it is about separating mind "sem" and "rigpa". Maybe you just didn't understand how to do the practice?

/magnus

I did not practice rushan much, this was experience of one of my friends. He had an idea that he recognized rigpa. But I think one needs a bit of stability to be sure, not just a flash of something. Also many experiences can be mistaken for rigpa. Later he told me that this is just a memory now, that it was something he had in the past and now I see how bussy he is with his life and work etc. So it occured to me that he surely must have had some experience, but since he left it to be just a single occurence and have not practiced more it became just like that. The reason why people do not practice enough is that they are not understanding the main points of training in the sutrayana - four changings of mind and bodhicitta. Otherwise if someone has this understanding how could one not pracitce more?


Of course you need stability, but you have to start with a glimpse, no? The way you should proceed from that glimpse is to go and see your teacher and ask him about the nature of the glimpse that you had. This is a perfect possibility to get some personal instructions on the natural state. He/She might say "that's not right" then you should understand that as an instruction. The memory of a "glimpse" is of course just mind but that doesn't mean the the "glimpse" itself wasn't rigpa. This is subtle stuff and you do need to be very clever and completely open when approaching your Guru about it.
I do think you sound a bit depressed about your path. I think you might not have found your teacher yet or possibly found him/her but haven't made a proper connection yet. It is the most important thing to do in Vajrayana and it depends on how brave you are, how honest you can be, rather than the lack of teachers around you.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby heart » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:57 am

dzoki wrote:
heart wrote:Hi dzoki,

Well, interesting ideas you have about westerners. I don't know if you are right or not but I often have doubts about the way people practice, not to mention how I practice myself. The problem about talking about other peoples practice is that it is actually very difficult to know the minds of other people. So when I look just at my own mind I don't agree with you. To teach only shamtha could be a serious obstacle for people. Shamatha and vipasshana belongs together and in any kind of meditation, that is correct, there is always a bit of both. This is actually equally true in Mahayana as in Vajrayana. When it comes to doing "nyenpa" the approach I do think it is of paramount importance in particular for Mahamudra and Dzogchen practitioners, not a popular opinion these days. Still "nyenpa" is always shamatha and vipassahana inseparable. The biggest problem we westerners have is that we don't practice enough. We are amateurs. However, at least for myself, I can't imagine a life without Vajrayana and even if I don't get any realization at all in this life I am still immensely grateful for meeting my Guru and receiving the key points of Vajrayana and it have changed my life in innumerable ways. So I don't know if Vajrayana is for westerners or not but it is definitely for me. It is actually Vajrayana that unlocked Mahayana and Hinayana for me and not the other way around.

/magnus


Sure I cannot claim that I know how others have their minds, their inner workings etc. But one can observe some general things on the basis of conversation and behavior. For example I know a few people who want to do a retreat, They have expressed this for years but they don't go and do it. It is not that they have a family or that they have some strong obligations towards someone, but it seems to me that they are not able to let go of their situation. And this is think is a lack of the lojong trainig, not understanding how our situation really is. Our worldly life is so beautiful, yet so deceiving, it is just like licking honey off the razor, yet we are so trapped in it.
Of course shamatha and vipashyana belong together, but without basis of shamatha there can hardly be any vipashyana. And I myself continue to do my daily sadhana, but I do the most simple version and try to get more presence and stability, before i did long pujas and more complicated sadhanas also I changed my practice quite often, but over the time I settled with a few practices that I do daily and try not to do many new things. In general I spend my time in retreat so it is easy to practice sadhana there, but in bussy life of a working person it is quite diffiult, of course depending on a job. So I think that for people living in the society to become a quality vajrayana practitioner they should train in lojong and shamatha first.


Changing you practice often is not a good idea unless you are very gifted. It takes many many years and possibly multiple retreats to receive the blessing of a practice, never mind realization. I personally feel that it is is important to do very simple guru yoga (not a particular practice), offerings like smoke and "chöd", prayers for auspiciousness as well as offering to the particular protector that belongs to your main practice on a daily basis. This doesn't need to be long or complicated. "Lodjong" can be you shamatha practice. Contemplating the four mind changing could be your shamatha practice. These are the natural parts of a Vajrayana practitioners daily practice. But these practices are not low, they are fundamental.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: The Conditions for Practicing Meditation by Sharmapa

Postby kirtu » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:15 pm

dzoki wrote:Our worldly life is so beautiful, yet so deceiving, it is just like licking honey off the razor, yet we are so trapped in it.


All Beings Arise in Time,
Time Continually Consumes Them All


(quote usually attributed to the Kalachakra teachings)

Much worse than ourselves becoming sick and dying is that our loved ones will helplessly become sick and die. We will then we powerless to help them. However if we have practiced well then we will be able to help them at their death by helping them take rebirth in the Pure Lands or move to a better rebirth where they will be able to encounter the Dharma.

Being deceived and distracted by worldly life is exactly like the case of a person who had fallen into a pit where they were hanging by a breaking branch with roaring tigers beneath them - and were distracted by berries on the branch. But the actual situation is that all of our loved ones are in this exact position. Then not just our loved ones from this life but loved ones from all previous lives as well. As Kunzang Dechen Lingpa says in one of his texts: "Save as many as you can."

We do frequently want to have our cake and eat it too (dabble in Dharma and really practice delusive worldly pursuits (quite different from transforming impure perceptions into pure perceptions)). But these are diametrically opposed.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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