Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lamrim: Round 2

Dear Loves,

If you were not following the blog when it started in July, 2010, please check out the first entry for an overview of what Lamrim is all about:

There's been a bit of a hiatus since the very last entry in the fall of 2010.  The incredible teacher, Geshe Michael Roach, conducted two Lamrim retreats in Phoenix over the last couple months.  The teachings were recorded and are available for free on line.  Please, please, please take the time to listen.  And, if you can, attend his next set of teachings in Phoenix in April, 2011.

Geshe Michael's Lamrim teachings can be found at: - scroll down to the section entitled: "The Deepest Meditation: A Course on How to See the Ultimate"

Also, see teachings from his first Lamrim retreat at:

Geshe-hla's apprach to the lamrim is to start (after learning the preliminaries) at the end of the 3 volumes of Pabongka Rinpoche's books, where we learn how to develop quiescence (one pointed concentration) and then understand Emptiness.   He is following this approach so that after we learn techniques to meditate and have an understanding of emptiness, we can then go to the lamrim meditations outlined in volumes 2 and 3, and experience these meditations after some training in meditation techniques and emptiness understanding.  The Dalai Lama also used this approach when teaching the Lamrim.

I suggest taking some time today to become familiar with the web links above.

After listening to these teachings over the last couple months -- which has been an incredible experience in sharpening my meditation skills -- I went back today to the first classic Lamrim meditation, which is Serving a Spiritual Teacher.  There are many reasons to do this.  I meditated just on the first reason: We will be closer to Buddhahood.

It is so clear this time around: the importance of having a teacher, of serving a teacher.  When you serve a teacher, the ego softens (hopefully, eventually it is destroyed completely).  When you serve a teacher, your mind is filled with beautiful thoughts. Mental afflictions dissolve.  The teacher has reached the goals and so can help you get there faster than if you were on your own.  It is so clear.  I didn't have to do too much analysis, so most of my meditation was spent on holding my attention one-pointedly on the determination to serve my spiritual teachers.

This resulted in a blissful feeling and after the meditation, I had a surge of energy, and went to work on a couple projects I am involved in with two of my teachers.  I got a significant amount done in a short amount of time...and it felt awesome.  My mind has been light, positive, happy and efficient all day.

Just to review, there are three parts of a classic lamrim meditation.

1. Shar Gom - Review/Familiarization -- Review the topic of meditation ( for ex., today's review would be remembering the reasons serving a spiritual teacher would lead you closer to buddhahood - see Pabongka Rinpoche's Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand or Geshe Gyatso's The Meditation Handbook - both books are listed in the book recommendations at the beginning of this blog)

2. Che Gom - Analyze/Debate the topic (for ex., today you debate if serving a spiritual teacher would, in fact, lead you to Buddhahood)

3. Jok Gom - Placement Meditation:  Hold the mind one-pointedly on the conclusion of your meditation. (For ex., today, you would hold your mind on the determination to serve your teacher.)

Thank You, Welcome back, Please practice!

Please don't hesitate to write your experiences, comments, questions.  Remember, your open, humble, honest heart, helps us all to learn and progress!


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