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Tag: Meditation

Chod- A Journey Into the Underworld by Jeanette

03 January 2018

It’s a cool winters afternoon set amidst the backdrop of the ancient ruins of Nalanda (acclaimed Buddhist University in modern-day Bihar). As with everything else I have experienced in India, this is a place of polarity where the serenity is in direct contrast to the bustling streets and chaos just outside the walls. The energy of the great masters who studied here is almost tangible as you step through the remains of the small dorms where numerous hours have been spent in mediation. As we sit on the grass in a semi-circle surrounding the yogi- it’s easy to believe that greatness has been achieved here. As yogi Dawa pulls out his drum and bell, a wave of amusement washes over me. Here is a man dressed in the requisite maroon robes with a luscious head of dreadlocks piled high atop his head. Sporting bright orange laces on his sneakers and a pair of Ray Bans to top off the look, the thought that flutters through my mind is “this spiritual master is going to navigate the terrains of the underworld and lead me to my salvation?”. But as the drum starts beating and his voice starts chanting I soon forget everything around me, so that all that remains is the beat of that drum and the rhythm of my heart. The Chod practice is the art of cutting through the ego and ‘slaying the non-existent I’ so that all that remains is the ultimate truth. It’s a spiritual practice of removing self-delusions and embodying the divine Feminine to purify the body, mind and spirit. As the Chod practitioner steps into the underworld and becomes a bridge between the worlds, we are asked to visualise a series of images that comprise delving into sacred geometry and going deeper into the labyrinth. I can’t remember if I visualised any of these things in all honesty. The Chod; which I was told lasted about a half hour, passed in the blink of an eye for me and all that I can remember is the beat of that drum.   Did I travel through the underworld? Did I ‘cut through my ego?’ Did I conquer my fears? I will probably never know. What I do know is that this experience resonated to the very core of me. There is something primal about the use of the drum and the sound of his voice that has […]

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Letter to my Ego by Stéphanie

19 December 2017

When words became too heavy to be spoken, writing them down can be a solution to free yourself from their energies. It can be a good way to clear the mind, to calm down the flooding gibberish thoughts looping in your head. This is a natural and instinctive human need. As we all seeking happiness and mental calmness we should all try to write. Whatever way you will do it, keep in mind the main point is to let ink flood to release the pain, write words to cure sores. Dear Ego, Today I am two Tomorrow, I hope to be only one. One year ago, I finally identified you as I traveled into the heart of sacred Indian traditions. Acknowledging your existence was the starting point. Shutting you down is my final target Let’s start at the beginning and define you: you are a mistaken conception of “myself”, you are the untrue belief that “I” can be self existing by itself out of any connection with the whole. Some say that you stay an essential part of our survival instinct, a keeper of dignity and respect. The more I know you, the more this vision seems untrue for me as dignity, respect, and instinct are vast notions only defined by you. Essentially you are, this part is very true but I don’t think that’s the reason why… Today I am two Tomorrow, I hope to be only one. “Be one” is to reunite in the same energy of life who I am and who I perceive as “myself”. “Become me” is a much longer quest than expected, a more difficult fight where the final issue has to be you bending in front of my real identity. And if, along this path of life, destination is only a pretext in which to keep going; reaching it stands as an essential part of my inner blossoming puzzle. I won’t give up, Ego, one day I’ll get you! Dear, dearest Ego, I don’t wish your total disappearance I just want to be able to define your true shape, your real field of existence. I just want to recognize your real influence upon my decisions, my opinions and my actions, feel it is the key not to let you manipulate me like a doll enslaved by preformatted mental limits. I’m working on successfully using you as a tool dedicated to my personal blossoming […]

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One day in the Dalai Lama’s shoes by Stéphanie

The Dalai Lama

23 March 2016

Would you like to spend one day in the Dalai Lama’s shoes? His Holiness is often travelling in India and across the world. His daily habits change when he moves from one place to another, according to his schedule and obligations. However, when he is at home, in Dharamsala, he is faithful to a particular routine. How does a typical day look like in the Dalai Lama’s life? Let’s see! Morning softness : listening to yourself and the world Despite his busy schedule the Dalai Lama is an early riser and tries to go to sleep before 8pm. Today, at nine o’clock, it’s been already five hours that you are awake.   Wake up at 3am and after taking a shower spend the first four hours of your day praying and meditating on the roots of compassion, on what kind of positive thing you could bring to the world, to others. Do not forget to meditate on your condition as a human being condition: mentally prepare your death. You can then take a little morning walk. If it rains, be prepared: use a treadmill. For breakfast served at 5.30am you can drink some tea, eat hot porridge, tsampa (roasted barley powder) and bread with preserves. Concerned by the difference between information and wisdom, His Holiness tries to connect daily life facts and ancient wisdom in order to have a better comprehension of this world’s mysteries. In the same way, as a disciple and student of Life, during the breakfast listen to the BBC World News in English. Food for the mind : Meditation, Readings and Sweet Tooth After breakfast, from 6 to 9am, go further in your inner-exploration: continue your meditation and prayers.   From nine o’clock, the great internal journey takes another shape. Take time to study Buddhists texts and various commentaries written by various Buddhist masters. Enthralled by your readings, you did not notice that it is already 11.30am : time for lunch! Whereas the Dalai Lama is not necessarily vegetarian when he is away from home, he is certainly vegetarian in Dharamsala. Taking it into account, you will have to refrain yourself from going to the butcher or the fishmonger today. A small piece of advice : try to taste the Thali. This Indo-Nepali specialty is a real delight. An afternoon in good company : Sharing and Transmission From 12am to 3.30pm, let’s go to the office to […]

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Healing with Tibetan singing bowls: when it’s a matter of vibrations by Tashi

tibetan bowl

04 February 2016

Have you ever made a Tibetan bowl sing? If so, your mind has probably been marked by the power of its resonance. The sound spreading across the room seems to come from another world, the vibrations flow in benign and soothing waves whose power will never leave you unimpressed. Here is to shed light on a little-known but one of the most efficient therapies. The origin of the bowls No one knows exactly the time the first Tibetan singing bowl dates back to. The mystery that surrounds the origin of this great object accords it more charm. It is estimated that they emerged when the Bon religion, which predates Tibetan Buddhism, was predominant in Tibet. Today they are made of bronze or copper, but originally the bowls were manufactured from seven different metals symbolising the planets: Silver (the Moon) Copper (Venus) Tin (Jupiter) Iron (Mars) Mercury (Mercury) Gold (the Sun) Lead (Saturn) The seven alloys also represent the seven chakras and their resonance balances each other and also the seven days of the week. How to make a Tibetan bowl sing? We can make the bowl vibrate in different ways. There is a variety of different shapes and sizes that produce very distinct sounds just as there is a variety of  stick that helps to produce them. You can strike the bowl more or less gently to hear it ringing until the vibrations die down, or roll the stick around the bowl by holding it like a pen in the manner of a crystal glass that we would make sing with fingers. Therapeutic properties The sound and singing have been used in healing rituals all over the world from time immemorial. Tambourine, rain sticks, gongs, cymbals…the instruments vary depending on their user whether it is a shaman, a priest or a monk reciting mantras. The sound creates a connection to the present moment, and this is more pronounced with Tibetan singing bowls. When you listen to the sound carefully, it will allow you to experience deep meditation. A single session of treatment with singing bowls would have the effect of months of meditation! How is this possible? It is possible because everything is a matter of vibrations. Our body is composed of 65% of water on average. It is this water that will react first to the vibrations of the bowls that are placed all around and on the body. Imagine you throw a stone into the lake; the waves that gets created […]

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III – Khunu Lama: Teachings from his life by Sangmo

Khunu lama teachings

03 February 2016

Khunu lama or Negi lama Tenzin Gyaltsen (1894-1977) was the storehouse of the rich Buddhist tradition and practices passed down from centuries. Buddhism bore the brunt of the 1959 Chinese occupation of Tibet that resulted in the weakenening of the tradition and fate of the many great lama becoming untraceable. In that precarious scenario, Khunu lama was one of the few to have absorbed such vast range of teachings and be able to bequeath the key concepts to the leading lamas of Tibetan Buddhism. Because of Bodhicitta by Khunu Rinpoche “It is because of bodhicitta that one gives up the pleasure of meditative concentration, and in order to relieve others of their suffering goes down to the deepest hell as if into a pleasure park.” Insights Apart from the scholarly teaching,  there are other compelling aspects of his lifestyle as a Buddhist practitioner that we can all learn from… Non Sectarianism Khunu lama cannot be more different from other highly realized lama. He is not only a non-Tibetan but also a layman who practiced Tibetan Buddhism. He remained unordained all his life despite almost always being in the company of ordained monks, lamas and rinpoches. After imbibing the  assorted teachings and practices from masters of all sects, he remained unaffiliated to any particular sect. He continued to emphasize the futility of sectarianism and would give a common book Shantideva’s “Guide to Bodhisattva way of life” to all his students, be it H.H the XIV Dalai lama, Ling Rinpoche or H.H the XVIth Karmapa. He is renowned as one of the most influential teachers in the rime (non-sectarian) movement within  Tibetan Buddhism which was founded in Eastern Tibet during the late 19th century. Lay man Practice In early 20th century and still today, layman or unordained practitioner mostly limit their practice to the surface of the Tibetan Buddhism, leaving the sophisticated applications to the ordained and realized. Khunu lama showed that formally practicing the highbrow teachings as a layman could secure the same profound result and is a great example of that possibility. Mastering the Language Before engaging in Buddhist studies, Khunu lama learned the grammar, composition and literacy of Tibetan language. He considered it a prerequisite to master the Tibetan language, the lingo franca of Buddhism to develop clear understanding of it. He spent more than a year in Sikkim and Khamda monastery polishing the Tibetan language and then after becoming a highly realized master in Tibet, moved to India to learn Sanskrit and spent 6 years perfecting it. The emphasis he put on the proper understanding of the scriptures instead of mechanical learning left traces on the type […]

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Kagyu Monlam 2016 – a week of invocation by Sangmo

Kagyu Monlan

08 January 2016

A highly anticipated event in the Buddhist world right now  is the 33rd Kagyu Monlam. It will be held in February 2016, in Bodhgaya, India.  H.H the XVII Karmapa, the head of the Kagyu sect will teach the chapter on mandala offerings from The Torch of True Meaning as well as on the Kadampa master Potowa’s Long Soliloquy . The main Kagyu Monlam(prayer) will be held for a week from February 16 to 22. You may check the schedule here. For a first timer, this may well be your week of Buddhist Sabbath , a break from your routine, your debut into the framework of Tibetan Buddhism, where you may levitate in the lull of Buddhist prayer hum while being harnessed by the vibrations of pure energy. Monlam is a great prayer festival, traditionally held in Tibet. Kagyu is one of the major sects of Tibetan Buddhism, completed by Nyingma, Sakya, Geluk, Jonang and Bonpo. Gampopa is the main founder of Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. He was the student of Milarepa, who was the student of Marpa “The Translator”(1012-1099). Kagyu is best known for its system of meditation and practice called Mahamudra. The celebrated Prayer Festival was revived in India in 1983 by the profound effort of Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche and Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche. Kagyu Monlam, at this time in history of Tibetan Buddhism is being held in Bodh Gaya, India and it has come a full circle and home as Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment in Bodh Gaya. The prayer festival was initiated three hundred years back, by the 7th Karmapa Chodrak Gyatso, the 8th Karmapa Mikyo Dorje, the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje, and the 10th Karmapa Choying Dorje. . The XVIIth Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was born in 1985 in the Lhathok region, and escaped to exile and reached India on Jan 5, 2000, at the turn of the new millennium. He has grown to shoulder more responsibility of the spiritual event. As the Monlam became more elaborate over the years, H.H the Karmapa has asserted the need to maintain the substance of it and introduced new codes of discipline for Kagyu Monlam in 2004 and promoted more secular approaches keeping in mind devotees of all sects and nationalities. He said “Generally speaking all the lineages of Tibetan Buddhism are interconnected with each other and have their roots in Vajradhara. To provoke differences among each other will weaken the samaya bonds between them” The chief purpose of Monlam is to come together in prayers for […]

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