Category Archives: Dharma teachings

These are my notes of all the teachings on Buddha dharma I have attended over the years that are suitable for sharing and study.

HE Garchen Rinpoche – Jan 7, 2007 – Tibetan Meditation Center, Frederick, MD A Song of Milarepa: The story of Yogini Nyama Paldarbum

Nyama asked, “Previously, you depended on a teacher and have practiced, so what arose in your mind?”

Milarepa replied and explained, “Its’ ground basis abides like space, and it is boundless as the sky without center or boundaries. When one is looking at mind, one is practicing, one sees the root of all practice is to realize the two types of bodhicitta.”

We have to see our mind like water that has become dirty. We need to clean that water. As long as we grasp and have concepts, it will be murky water. The mind of the Buddha is like clean water. The mind of the sentient beings is like murky water. Clear water shares the same nature as muddy water. The nature of mind is like space, it is all pervasive, the nature of the mind where all concepts have been liberated is empty and clean like space. This is what needs to be realized in practice. Continue reading


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Lojong, Mindrolling Lotus Garden – June 18- 21, 2015 Lopön Helen Berliner and Lopön Andre Papantonio – Talk 1

Lopon Andre – first talk – morning 9/19

Begin with the right intention. The best intention we could have for anything we do on the land- meditating, studying, or hearing a talk is – being with the benefit for all sentient beings. May we all work with our own minds to be a cooling oasis for all sentient beings, to free all sentient beings from suffering, and ourselves as sentient beings from suffering. We call this raising bodhicitta: a sense of my intention is “I am expanding outward so I am working not for just my own benefit, but for the benefit of all.”

I also like to remember those who came before us, without whom we wouldn’t be studying Buddhism in an air-conditioned room. Going back to Shakyamuni Buddha 2500 years ago, all the way up to His Holiness Mindrolling Trinchen Rinpoche, who died in 2008, and of course His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and of course our dear Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, who is director of our center. Just a sense of connection to lineage and a sense of connection to who we might be appreciative of. Continue reading

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Devotion and Lineage- Lotus Garden – 2-19-12 (AM)- Lopon Jann Jackson

Good morning everyone. So this morning we did a session of shamatha as a way of reminding ourselves that without the foundation of stable calm attention, simply learning produces a lot of mental excitement. It is very easy to lose calmness, awareness, effect on environment. We are trying to balance a lot of material, learning history, including history not by practitioners. Who were the ancestors? What did they teach? How were they preserved?    How is all that integrated? hear, contemplate, and integrate by taking that knowledge in in non-conceptual space of awareness. That becomes power when it is part of your mindstream.  Shamatha–vipashyna is the bridge.

Just like that beautiful stupa in the slideshow, we know stupa has symbolism – bhumis at the spire. Can’t have that without the foundation. You need shamatha for stability and vipashyna for wisdom. [First, practice the] Four Foundations of Mindfulness, to see experience as non-substantial yet apparent. Then, practice the 4 Limitless Ones to build compassion. Then, practice the Vajrayana, [to] let it manifest, seeing things as they are. Instead of waiting for things to be perfect, which is the samsaric approach, we are seeing them as perfect, which is Vajrayana approach.

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Prescriptions and Prohibitions: Their Mode of Abiding (Part 1) – Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche – 10-11-2011

Prescriptions and Prohibitions – These are prescribed what to do, all the virtuous deeds we are proscribed to practice, and all the non-virtues are prohibited. Buddha didn’t make rigid rules that he made up himself as ruler. He taught on the basis of the reality nature of phenomena. We don’t want suffering. Peace and happiness is what we want. That gives us a great opportunity, and opens your heart-mind. Think, ‘I was confused, but now I know the right things to do, and the wrong things to avoid. I have all the choice, now I’m so happy.’ That kind of nature.

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Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche – Jewel Ornament of Liberation – Chapter 11: Training in Action bodhichitta

One takes the vow of action bodhichitta, and train in the three types of moral conduct, or three moral trainings. These are moral ethics of abstaining from non-virtues, [engaging in] ethics of accumulating wisdom, and [engaging in] ethics of benefiting sentient beings.

“Generosity, moral ethics, and patience are the trainings in superior morality. Meditative concentration is the training in superior thought. Discriminating wisdom awareness is the training in superior wisdom. Perseverance is the support for all three.”

You need joyous effort. This is how the six paramitas work with the three trainings. The three trainings are the impeccable, indispensable, consummate path to enlightenment.

When you meditate here, relax. You need the conducts. [When you are] physically here, and mentally have a mind absent of afflictive emotions, this is called moral conduct.  That makes a foundation for concentration. Then your mind is in the place you are.  When mind is not disturbed by capricious thoughts, there is clarity. Where there is clarity, there is a great chance to see special insight. If there is the absence of one, there is no chance to recapture the reality nature. Continue reading

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Lodro Rinzler 11-11-14, Shambhala Meditation Center of Washington, D.C. “The Buddha Walks Into The Office”

It is wonderful to be here. I love this space (DC Shambhala).  I taught meditation to Congressman TLodro Rinzler with "The Buddha walks into the office"im Ryan and his staff earlier.   Like being in the belly of the beast. Its’ such an interesting city- a distinct flavor – what people do here. I have a friend named Adam Smiley Poswolsky who wrote book called the Quarter-Life Breakthrough. He had a decent government job, and kept getting asked “what do you do?” He got tired of it and ran off to become a writer. I think I just gave away the ending of his book. (laughter)

Even in NYC, people ask, “where are you from? What train do you take?” but then start talking about work.

I was here for the tour for my first book, and went and got drinks with people afterwards.  After writing a book called The Buddha walks into a bar…, people wanted to go to a bar with me a lot. (laughter) But when we got to the bar, everyone wanted to talk about work. Continue reading

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Taming the Mind 2014, HE Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, 9/19/14 Talk 1,Part 2

(continued from Talk 1, Part 1)

Taming the Mind, 3 Kinds of Laziness, 9 Stages of Shamatha

Freedom from 3 kinds of laziness.

To be able to tame the mind, to let your sitting be free from all the obscurations of many lifetimes, all the obstacles of own habitual patterns. All the instructions are relevant, but further refining one’s sitting meditation by eliminating obstacles of many lifetimes, habitual patterns. Watch out for 3 traces of laziness.

  1. Laziness of discouragement.

[This is] where one is discouraged by one’s own situations such as health problems. Many of you suffer from health issues; you begin to think you are limited due to these. Meditators must immediately know this discouragement is another form of laziness. “Turning mind to the Dharma” means engaging in dharma must be kept intact. Whatever you are doing for health problems- treatments, etc. stands good on its own. Dharma stands good on its own. Health is health. Dharma is dharma. Even if lying flat on ground with tubes everywhere in bed, you can still be working with silence, stillness and non-thought. It is a question of priorities. That issue is made much worse. Illness could be greatest factor to be made into…

Being too busy to practice has nothing to do with Dharma at all. You could be with the view of dharma despite not having a single second to spare. If you allow that which you are busy with to distance you from Dharma, it is a form of laziness. There are two kinds of mind: one for dharma, one for business. You are starving one, and feeding the other. When you look at the busyness, if you transform it into a sense of how samsara can drown you, a sense that it completely overshadows basic mindfulness, it has become the most authentic meditation. Dharma is not a particular recitation, not a particular posture, but is creating an authentic awakened state than any amount of …

Taking the busyness and allowing the busyness to awaken you to the busyness of samsara. See “I can be limitlessly mad because this is how limitless busy mind can be. “ See how easily seductions of karmic influences arise, then take all that could be cause of laziness and use to recognize your own mind. When you don’t do it, you allow different reasons, such as health preoccupations, especially in America. That closely followed by weather. (Laughter) That allows you to breed that laziness. It is important to look at – health, money, responsibilities, and business- all those reasons that become cause of discouragement in year. Today, look in self to see traces of discouragement. “I am not able to practice because…” List them.

How many are really causes of impediment, or did you just allow it to be so? Here is your excuse to not train you mind be able to really — the best meditation is one able to see ‘here is the molding that happens.’ How much of the harboring and nourishing is happening in oneself? Continue reading

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Taming the Mind 2014, HE Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, 9/19/14 Talk 1,Part 1

Taming the Mind, Importance of Truly Working with Mind, 4 Dharmas of Gampopa, 3 Kinds of Laziness, 9 Stages of Shamatha

A very good morning everyone, as we begin with welcome to the first section of the annual retreat. And of course, acknowledging the factors that allow us all to be here, there are wonderful resident administrative staff, etc. thanks all of the heads of families, the staff that reside that make it possible year after year in all the programs here.

Lisa said that everything is happening without excitement, on their own. (Laughter) That is very nice to hear; it speaks volumes. The coming and going no longer has the excitement. For a practitioner, it is good if it is less. Would be good if it was all comings, and no going without realizations, but… (Laughter) A sense of it all becoming normal, very ordinary. Very wonderful. The teachers, senior practitioner, and Welcome back the lopons and nuns. Many of you have been studying with them. For those residing here, an intensive study and practice program.

Not just within the public programs, but year round. Very helpful for entire sangha. We passed the 10th year of Lotus Garden. It is timely that a group of people are maturing in dharma. It has started; the residents can keep up the continuity. A year round possibility. I am grateful to the monks, nuns, and teachers.

With that, begin with this section. Many of you are aware of Taming the Mind from last year. A series of teaching/ practice sessions emphasizing cultivating of meditation as foundation of practice. From last year, will recall the branching of the retreat to 3 parts.

The first part is to understanding meditation – hinayana, whatever, knowing the terminology is not about groups of people, but one’s own mind, working with one’s own mind, one’s own training of mind, focusing on silence, stillness, and non-thought. Three basic principles, following Buddha’s words. Any practitioner that doesn’t recognize one’s own mind as the basis of dharma doesn’t get dharma. Training the mind is very basis of dharma. Such a person who understands this closely accurately understands the relationship to the path of practice.

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Garchen Rinpoche – Bodhichitta Teachings, 4/13/14 – Alexandria, Va.

Today, we will receive the bodhisattva vow. This adds to the refuge vow you received before. Having cultivated refuge, we engage in bodhisattva vow commitment, the two-fold aspiration bodhichita and activity bodhichita.

Especially in the Drikung Kagyu lineage, this prayer is at the very beginning. In this prayer of mind cultivation, the entire bodhisattva vow is contained.

May they experience happiness, be separated from suffering,

And swiftly I will establish them in the state of unsurpassed, perfect and precious Buddhahood.

We think, “What can I do to liberate sentient beings?” All the Buddhas of the three times have only the thought of this, to liberate sentient beings form suffering, so to have the is ongoing mind state to wish to liberate sentient beings in the aspiration bodhichita, then the bodhisattva prayer is the engaged through the 6 paramitas and so on. So we take on the commitment for all beings, the prayers you recite later are very clear. You can really get the whole meaning from prayers. In Buddhism in general, there are often many questions about the recitations, especially when we first take refuge and cultivate bodhichita. All sadhanas begin with refuge and bodhichita. We talked about refuge before, haven taken refuge; we want to become free from suffering. Only Buddha figured out how to get free from suffering, take refuge in Buddha what will protect us? Dharma – the path. Sangha are the companions. Continue reading

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Lopön Andre Papantonio and Rita Gross-12 Nidanas Review-8/27/11 8:30 PM

Lopon Andre: This is a chance to get all your questions out there, all your concerns and confusions. The only things we offer are repeating the words of our perfect teacher.

Khandro Rinpoche likes us to always start any session with motivation. This is not to gain intellectual knowledge, but to transform our lives, and devote our body, speech and mind to serve all sentient beings. And remember the lineage going back through H.H. Mindrolling Trinchen Rinpoche, Terdak Lingpa, Padmasambhava, Buddha, and all the kindness.

The attitude and conduct is most important. The willingness to train yourself in path of practice doesn’t matter if old or new students, it’s all about training yourself. When you go back home, people should see a change in conduct and kindness.” – Khandro Rinpoche

Lopon Rita: In 35 years of hearing teachings, this was the first time I’ve heard a Tibetan teacher teach from a Pali text. This is wonderful. I can’t emphasize how important these foundations are. I think people get to vajrayana too fast, and it becomes like balancing on a point, and coming back to them year after year. They are vast in their profoundness. I am so grateful. (editor’s note: Ditto.)

She’s emphasized at this retreat so far the 12 nidanas and interdependence, which is the foundation of everything else. Next week will be the Four Immeasurables, which caps the foundations. These were presented with great depth. She built a bridge with Theravadan. Continue reading

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