Sunday Graduated Path Meditation 9am to 10am – All Welcome!
(check calendar for dates)
In his wonderful “A Talk On How to Meditate” (see TBI Bookshop), our beloved Spiritual Guide and Founder, Kyabje Khensur Kangurwa Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche, explained that there are two types of meditation.
Analytical meditation is “…the process of thinking about and analyzing a point in the Buddhist teachings such as impermanence, the Bodhichitta mind or Emptiness and then familiarizing the mind with the meaning of these things. [It] is a very powerful and useful meditation technique for understanding the meaning.” (Pg 15)
The second type of meditation is concentration meditation where, “…we place the mind on…[the topic] single pointedly” (Rinpoche’s commentary on Je Tsong Kharpa – Three Principle Aspects of the Path, 3rd Dec 2008)
The historical Shakyamuni Buddha blessed the world with some 84,000 teachings which have been skillfully subsumed by the great Masters, into a sequence of topics designed to lift us out of suffering and into our full potential, which is ultimately a Buddha.
We all have this potential within us but at present it is obscured by ignorance. The Buddha gained insight into the very nature of the way things exist and with great love and compassion has provided us with a step by step method to clear away the clouds of ignorance so that we can eventually realize our true potential.
We are very fortunate that our dear resident teacher, Geshe Jampa Gyaltsen, out of his great love and compassion for us, is teaching this graduated series of topics known as the Lam rim or Graduated Path to Enlightenment, on Sunday mornings at 10.30.
There will be an opportunity between 9.00 and 10.00am to prepare ourselves for Geshela’s teaching, first by settling our minds using the simple but effective breathing meditation, then to contemplate, in a easy and accessible way, these wonderful topics using the analytical meditation method.
The Lam rim has been summarized into three main scopes or domains of contemplation, through which we progress ( The Small, Medium and Great Scopes). The entire Buddhist Path has also been condensed into three broad headings, Definite Emergence (from suffering, or “renunciation”), Bodhichitta (the great compassionate wish to become enlightened for the sake of all beings) and Wisdom (realizing the true nature of self and phenomena, Emptiness).
Each week we cycle through a meditation topic to help orientate ourselves towards the teachings. These topics start with thinking about the pure nature of our mind and how it is endless since beginningless time. We then contemplate how precious our life as a human being really is, having the opportunity to make it truly meaningful.
We then come to understand how incredibly fragile and fleeting our lives are due to the reality of death and impermanence.
This leads us to appreciate that attachment to this transient body and the external objects of the senses only lead to misery and suffering, including all the hellish types of experiences that we see all around us. This is obviously terrifying and so naturally leads us into looking for a reliable refuge, which from a Buddhist perspective, is the Triple Gem, the Buddha, his teachings, the Dharma, and the Sangha, fellow travelers, the spiritual community, who help us along the path.
We then reflect on what drives the suffering process. This is our afflicted mind such as hatred and attachment, which generates unskillful behavior, or karma, that just perpetuates our delusions in a never ending cycle of dissatisfaction. When we become “sick and tired of being sick and tired” ( wanting to definitely escape, renunciation) we come to appreciate the medicine (Dharma), as prescribed by the Buddha ( the doctor) as set out in his diagnosis ( The Four Noble Truths).
By reflecting on the fact that others are just like myself in not wanting to suffer and wanting happiness and that we are all interconnected, we move into the wonderful meditations on developing the kind heart of altruism, love and compassion, the wish in fact to develop all our positive qualities and separate ourselves from all our unhelpful actions of body,speech and mind, indeed to become a Buddha ourselves so that we can truly help our dear suffering mother sentient beings. This is the awakening heart or Bodhichitta, which together with the awaking mind, or the mind realizing Emptiness, makes all this possible.
Join Chris on Sunday mornings from 9am to 10am – All Welcome!