Tara Book excerpt and teaching: Who is Tara and how can She help us? An introduction to Tara, Karma, Shunyata, Dependent Arising, and Buddha Nature by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
What’s with all this consort union in Tantric Buddhism? No, it’s not about sexual fantasies. The psychology of Yab-Yum consorts, union of wisdom and compassion
Video: “How do I deal with my anger? Sometimes it consumes me and hurts others”: a Buddhist student asks teacher Ven. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Video: “Experience Buddhism” with Namdrol Rinpoche “Buddhism emphasizes, and lays its very foundations on, equanimity.”
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and other teachers recommend Kṣitigarbha mantra and practice for times of disaster, especially hurricane and earthquake, because of the great Bodhisattva’s vow
Medicine Buddha healing mantras chanted by the amazing Yoko Dharma
Why 35 Confessional Buddhas practice and “The Bodhisattva’s Confession of Moral Downfalls” is a critical purifying practice for Buddhists
What the Dalai Lama and Patch Adams Have in Common: Laughter, and Compassion, the Best Medicine
“Preliminary practices… clear and enrich our minds, allowing practice to progress smoothly” — Thubten Chodron. Why Ngondro is a lifetime practice, and a “complete path”
Tantra Helps “Stop Ordinary Perception”, and is the Fast Path to Enlightenment. But How Do Modern Buddhists Relate to Deities?
Painter and digital Thangka artist Jampay Dorje aims to bring “Thangka painting into a modern era” with spectacular art, lessons for students, and a life-long project to illustrate all of the 11 Yogas of Naropa
Buddha teaches us to view every meal as if we were reluctant cannibals: Samyukta Agama Sutra 373, the Four Nutriments
Letting Go — letting go of past, letting go of future, letting go is the hardest thing to do: Na Tumhaka Sutta
Becoming Gesar, the fearless Buddhist: How to overcome fear in uncertain times, according to Pali Sutta, Mahayana Sutra and Tantra
The Hand of Buddha defeats the three poisons : Vajrapani (literally, “Vajra Hand”) — Guardian of Shakyamuni Himself; Vajrapani, the power of the mind to overcome obstacles such as pride, anger, hate and jealousy
Tonglen video: Why giving and taking practice is an important kindness meditation and Bodhichitta practice; how to do it: taught by Zasep Rinpoche
Understanding Dependent Co-Arising is critical to Buddhist practice: The Great Causes Discourse Maha-nidana Sutta
Pali Sutta for Our Age: Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Book Review of a Classic
The bridge between science and Buddhism, atoms and no atoms, theism and athiesm; Yidam deity meditation and the Cognitive Science of Tantra
“Every one has Buddha Nature.” A teaching video: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche with mantra chanting by Yoko Dharma
Cankama Sutta: Walking Meditation Sutra: put some mileage on your Buddhist practice with formal mindful walking
Milam Sleep Yoga: lucid dreaming can bring us closer to experiencing non-dualistic “reality” than waking meditation
2017 Tsog Dates: Happy Dakini Day — Introducing the Wisdom of the Female Enlightened Dakinis
Guan Yin and the ten great protections of the Goddess of Mercy: Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion
The Maha Samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting Sutra: refuge from fear in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Soma Sutta: Sister Soma gets the better of Mara — what difference does being a woman make in Buddhism? None
Healing video: full Medicine Buddha guided meditation with Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche; with Medicine Buddha Mantra chanting by Yoko Dharma
Phurba or Kila: the most potent of wrathful ritual implements in Vajrayana Buddhism, symbolizes the Karma activity of the Buddhas
Happy Birthday Venerable Zasep Rinpoche: May the pure white light of your peerless wisdom shine undiminished until the end of existence
Buddha: How to protect wealth, associate with virtuous friends and relate to your spouse, employer, children: guidance for lay practitioners in Sigalovada Sutta
“Mind is the creator of our own happiness or suffering”—Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche teaches Lojong  Seven-Point Mind Training
The Path of Purification? No, my friend. Ratha-vinita Sutta (Chariot Relay Sutra) teaches us not to confuse the seven purifications, with the destination, Nirvana
Atisha’s Great Praise: 11th century wisdom.
Why Buddha Nature is one of the most important understandings in Mahayana Buddhism and why Tathagatagarbha Buddha Nature is not the soul
Why do Buddhas and Enlightened Beings need offerings? The simple answer: they don’t. The better answer is…
Book Review: Tara in the Palm of Your Hand: a guide to the practice of the twenty-one Taras in the Surya Gupta lineage
Learning from the Teachers Video 1: Four students ask Zasep Rinpoche meditation questions — resting the mind in a natural way in Mahamudra; foundation practices; being your own Guru, and meditative “realizations.”

Learning from the Teachers Video 1: Four students ask Zasep Rinpoche meditation questions — resting the mind in a natural way in Mahamudra; foundation practices; being your own Guru, and meditative “realizations.”

In the first of a new Buddha Weekly Series, Learning from the Teachers videos, four students, during a teaching on “Foundation Practices” ask various important questions about meditation.

Question 1: How can you tell the difference between subtle dull mind, course dull mind and calm mind in meditation?

Question 2: In the beginning stages of meditation, is it alright to guide your session with contemplation topics — to steer your meditation, like being your own guru?

Question 3: Is it alright, in one meditation session, to do a session on Samatha as well as Vipassana both?

Question 4: What sort of realizations can you develop from deity practices, if you have not yet completed your foundation practices?

Answered by Venerable Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche. [Note, even though the questions were in a teaching session on “Foundation Practices” three of the questions focused on advanced Mahamudra meditation.][Biography and schedule of 2017 teachings below transcript.]

15 minute video (from a full day session): 4 questions answered.

[Video Transcript below video.]

 

 

Excerpt from Answers: “When you meditate … You see your mind is rushing down, like a river coming down from the mountains of the Himalayas. Rushing down. Strong mind… Then, at some point you see your mind, the same river, like the Ganges river, but now it is flowing down into the Indian plains. Not rushing, just moving. Strongly, and smoothly moving … Then, you see your mind is now merging with the great ocean… all gone into the ocean, becoming one taste. Likewise, when you experience Mahamudra, you experience Emptiness. Clear light and bliss. There is no Samsaric mind.”

Transcript

Zasep Rinpoche: “If you have any questions, most welcome.”

Student 1: “How can you tell subtle dull mind. The coarse dullness I can understand. How can you tell if it’s subtle dullness?”

Answer, Zasep Rinpoche: “It’s hard sometimes. It’s hard to tell. As I said, it is easily confused with calm mind. So, you have to observe. When you mind becomes calm, and your body relaxed, you have to observe. You have to see, is there clarity with your meditation? With your object of meditation. [i.e. breathing, visualization, etc.] Say, a visualization; is it still clear, or not?

 

 

“If you had focused mind on the prana, breath — can you feel your breath? Inhale. Exhale. Can you feel your abdomen, rising, falling, and so on. You have to apply alertness. Slowly, you will notice, you will know if it’s subtle dullness.”

Student 1: “Just a follow up, Rinpoche, if you’re doing Mahamudra, Samatha, say your mind becomes quiet, not generating many thoughts, and your breathing is very shallow, how do you know you have clarity of awareness in that instance? I don’t know if I’m explaining it properly. Your mind doesn’t seem to want to generate thoughts but sometimes I don’t know if there are thoughts going on underneath? The feeling isn’t really a blissful feeling, it’s just a neutral feeling. Is that subtle dullness?”

Answer, Zasep Rinpoche: “No, I don’t think so.

You’re experience calm mind, experiencing that very moment. Calm mind, gentle mind, and peaceful, and no thoughts coming by or going by. We talk about, during Mahamudra meditation,  we talk about no pulling, no pushing, no rejections, no acceptance. And you don’t follow the previous thoughts, and you don’t expect future thoughts. Just be in the moment. We call it “the gap.” [Gestures with two hands showing a space.]

 

Zasep Rinpoche teaching on Mahamudra — the “gap.”

 

“If you are there, in that gap, that’s okay. There’s no need to be concerned about subtle dullness. Because, then that itself is a thought. When we do Mahamudra medtiations, we don’t generate thoughts. We don’t expect. We don’t try to bring something. Or get rid of something.

“We call it ‘resting the mind in the natural state.’ Mahamudra. It’s approach is different. There are different kinds of Samatha practice. Resting the mind in a natural way means ‘have a break’ — not to go to the past, don’t go to the future, just be here now. Resting the mind in the present moment.

“The reason we call it ‘resting mind’ is because the mind becomes so busy, right? Restless. Here, we are resting. Not rushing anywhere. No expectations. Resting the mind in a natural way.”

Student 2: “Is it okay in the beginning stages of meditation practice to use contemplation, to sort of steer your meditation? Almost as if you’re sort of coaching yourself at your own cushion. Or does that become too much of an obstacle?

Zasep Rinpoche: What type of practice are you talking about?

Student 2: “When I’m trying beginning Mahamudra I’ll be sort of coaching myself in the doctrine of Mahamudra, so then I’m sort of teaching myself as I’m sitting there? Reminding myself.

Answer, Zasep Rinpoche: “Yes. Sure, you have to coach yourself. You have to be kind of your own coach. You have to become your own guide. In other words, you have to become your own guru. You have to remind yourself. You have to say, ‘okay, I’m following Tilopa’s instructions for Mahamudra. Or following Marpa’s instructions for Mahamudra. Or following Lama Tsongkhapa’s instructions. Think, ‘this is what I’m doing. I have to practice this way.’

 

 

“You have to follow the footsteps of Mahamudra. You have to coach yourself. That’s why we sing those, what we call ‘Doha.’ Doha is a poem, written by a famous Indian Mahasiddha, Saraha. Saraha Doha are poems. [Sarahapa, Sarahapada, the “arrow shooter”] Poems of Mahamudra. Also, Milarepa’s song of Mahamudra. Tilopa’s song of Mahamudra. Tilopa was a famous Indian masters, one of the most celebrated Indian teacher. Tilopa’s song of Mahamudra.

“When you meditate on Mahamudra, you see your mind. You see your mind is rushing down, like a river coming down from the mountains of the Himalayas. Rushing down. Strong mind. You see it happening. Then, at some point you see your mind, the same river, like the Ganges river, but now it is flowing down into the Indian plains. Not rushing, just moving. Strongly, and smoothly moving. You see your mind. Then, keep observing your mind, slowly moving, slowling moving. Then, you see your mind is now merging with the great ocean. From the Bay of Bengal. Now, your mind has become one with the big ocean. One taste. Salty water. One water. There’s no different water. The Ganges River, the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Indus River, Mekong River, all gone into the ocean, becoming one taste. Likewise, when you experience Mahamudra, you experience Emptiness. Clear light and bliss. There is no Samsaric mind.

“So, these are the gist of the poems. Tilopa’s song. Kind of like that, you have to remind yourself, you have to coach yourself. If you are going a little bit off track, or something. If your mind is experience sleepy or dull mind, or irritated, or restless, put it back on track, by thinking about those Doha and songs. It is very helpful. Think, I am so fortunate that I can practice now. I’m following in the footsteps of Buddha and all those great masters.”

Student 3: “Rinpoche, speaking of Mahamudra, do you recommend practicing the Mahamudra Samatha instructions, or attempting them, for a period of time, before Vipassana instructions? Or can you do it in the same session?”

Answer Zasep Rinpoche: “You, shouldn’t do it in the same session. See, right now we’re really talking about foundation practices: refuge, guru yoga, prostration and so forth. For Mahamudra practice, you also need these foundation practices.

In Nyingma tradition they speak about Dzogchen. Dzogchen also needs foundation practice. Without foundation practices, Mahamudra does not work. Oh, it temporarily works. In Dzogchen practice, one will not have authentic realization without foundation practice. One could have a small realization.

 

 

In Dzogchen practice, one will not have authentic realization without foundation practice. One could have a small realization. Some experience. Like a taste. Like tasting food. Tasting wine. Then, that’s it. Partial, or little realizations, here and there.

So, no, you can’t have complete authentic realizations. That’s why foundation practices for Mahamudra. When you read the commentaries on Mahamudra, according to Gelug tradition, and according to Kagyu tradition — first, foundation practice. You’ll have a commentary, one book, and seventy pages will be all about foundation practices, the last twenty-five pages is the Mahamudra.

Yes, your question is a good question. First you do Samatha Mahamudra meditation. Then when you get experience, when you get good experiences, then you do Vipassana. Once you have realizations within Vipassana Mahamudra, then you can move on to Tantric Mahamudra.

 

 

So, first you do Samatha Mahamudra. It’s very important. Calm, abiding mind. Being in the present. Observing your consciousness. Observing the mind. Observe the reactions. Until all the reactions are gone, or subsiding. See your mind like a mirror. A mirror only reflects. Mirror does not act or react. You can look in the mirror ten times a day. Never react, only reflecting. You are the one who is reacting, seeing your reflection. Oh, I have one more wrinkle. One more grey hair! (laughs). It’s just reflecting. That’s like Samatha Mahamudra. The most important practice.”

Student 4: “Based on your response, can you realize other practices without foundation? So, can you realize Black Manjushri if you have the initiation? Can you really get the full realization of that practice if you haven’t completed your foundation practices?

Answer Zasep Rinpoche: “That depends on what kind of realizes of Manjushri you expecting to experience. Let’s put it this way, without the foundation practice, let’s say next week you go and take Black Manjushri initiation, then you go through the sadhana practice, then what? What do I obtain from this? What is the benefit?

As I mentioned this morning, there are lots of benefits. The most important is to practice without doubt. You have to have trust, commitment and faith. If you do that practice, the visualization and mantras, it is very powerful. It works. There’s a realization.

Now, it depends on your definition of what a realization is. If we’re talking about benefit, then, the benefit for the practice is cultivating divine pride — it helps you have divine pride. It also is healing. Does it work, yes, it works.

For example, I’ll tell you a story. Last year, one person came to me and he said to me, “I’ve discovered I have prostrate cancer.” Right away, I gave him Black Manjushri mantra, no initiation. I gave him the lung of the mantra. I told him to do the sadhana, do the mantra. Then, he went back to his home, back to Australia, and he did the surgery. And the surgery was successful.

 

Black Manjushri is known for healing practices involving aggressive health conditions such as cancer.

 

He felt that throughout this, Manjushri, Black Manjushri was with him. It made a huge difference for him in overcoming fear and gave him strength, and gave a lot of energy. At some point the doctors said, “Your cancer is completely clear.” No more returning — at this point, anyway. Don’t know the future, but now. So, he thanked me for giving him Black Manjushri mantra and asked me this next summer when I come “Please give me the initiation.”

So, anyway, the healing benefit is there. Now, also Black Manjushri practice is very good for making determinations, clear mind, focus, cut through. Yes, there is a benefit there.

But, if you’re talking about something a little more, for example, realization on, say, ultimate tantric realizations — like generation stage, completion stage, clear light and bliss — through the practice of Black Manjushri, then, yes, you need foundation practices. Otherwise, it’s not easy.

TEACHING SCHEDULE OF ZASEP TULKU RINPOCHE

Mongolia

Venerable Zasep Rinpoche just returned from a visit to Mongolia, where he was welcomed at the Ulaan Baatar School for the Disabled. He is spiritual director of Gaden Relief, who donated new kitchen equipment for the school. Rinpoche visits Mongolia for both teachings and relief efforts each year.
Venerable Zasep Rinpoche on a previous trip to Mongolia (2016). He is currently teaching in Mongolia 2017, then on to Zuru Ling, Vancouver BC (April 2017) and Gaden Choling Toronto (May 2017).

 

Vancouver, Canada

Rinpoche will be teaching at Zuru Ling, Vancouver in April: “Zuru Ling is extremely pleased to announce that our precious teacher Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche will be teaching in Vancouver in April 2017:

  • How to do personal retreat, setting up an altar and torma making. Wednesday April 26th, 2017 starting at 7 til 9 pm.
  • Green Tara Initiation – Friday 28th April starting at 7 til 9 pm.
  • Black Manjushri Initiation – Saturday 29th April 2 til 4 pm.
  • Teaching on healing and protection of the Black Manjushri practise – Sunday 30th April starting 10 am til 4 pm.
  • Information: Zuru Ling website>>
Teaching Schedule of Zasep Tulku Rinpoche for spring 2017 at Gaden Choling Toronto, Canada.

Toronto, Canada

Rinpoche will be at Gaden Choling in Toronto, Canada in May for two weeks.

  • Mahamudra teachings: Saturday, May 20th, 10am to 5pm
  • Lama Chopa Guru Yoga: Sunday May 21st, 10am to 5pm
  • Hayagriva Highest Yoga Tantra Initiation: Thursday, May 25th, 7pm to 9pm
  • Green Tara: Friday, May 26th, 7pm to 9pm
  • Black Manjushri Initiation: Saturday May 27th 2-5pm
  • Black Manjushri Practice and Commentary (requires initiation) Sunday May 28th, 10am-5pm
  • Information to be posted soon at Gaden Choling website>>

ABOUT VENERABLE ZASEP TULKU RINPOCHE

Rinpoche is popularly known for his approachable teaching style, strong humor and teachings based on a long lineage of great lamas. His own gurus included the most celebrated of Gelug teachers: His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, Venerable Geshe Thupten Wanggyel, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Venerable Lati Rinpoche, Venerable Tara Tulku Rinpoche and Venerable Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche.

Rinpoche is spiritual director of many temples, meditation centres and retreat centres in Australia, the United States and Canada. He was first invited to teach in Australia by Lama Thubten Yeshe in 1976.

More on Zasep Tulku Rinpoche>>

Gaden for the West Meditation Centres

Australia

  • Vajra Ling, Uralla, N.S.W.
  • Losang Gyalwa Mandala, Sydney, N.S.W.
  • Tenzing Ling Centre, Quamaa, N.S.W.
  • Dorje Ling Retreat Centre, Lorina Valley, Tasmania

Canada

United States

 

Leave a reply

Are you a Sentient Being? *

Awarded Top 50 Buddhist Blog

Copyright Buddha Weekly 2007-2017. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to excerpt stories with full credit and a link to Budddha Weekly. Please do not use more than an excerpt. Subject to terms of use and privacy statement. All information on this site, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote  understanding and knowledge. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, including medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Buddha Weekly does not recommend or endorse any information that may be mentioned on this website. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is solely at your own risk.

Send this to a friend