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What is Buddhism

WHAT IS BUDDHISM?

 

Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality.

 

Around 650 BCE, the Buddha became aware through his own practice that there is suffering in life.  He then discovered a path to its release or freedom from suffering (nibbana), through concentration, insight and compassion. At the root of this suffering is craving. We cling to what we believe is pleasurable, avoid what we believe is not pleasurable and ignore what is neither pleasurable nor unpleasant.

The Buddha went on to outline a path of practice and spiritual development leading to a deepening understanding of the true nature of our minds, our bodies and our moment-to-moment experience, all of which is every changing and mostly not within our control. Buddhist practices, such as ethical living, service and meditation, are a means of developing awareness, kindness, and wisdom, qualities that lead to a happier, more peaceful mind. With such a mind, we find ourselves more naturally inclined to offering compassion to ourselves and others. When we see more clearly the ways in which our actions lead to suffering or to happiness, we can then live in greater harmony with the world around us.Read More »What is Buddhism

Refuge; A Few Teachings

Refuge, A Few Teachings

Gathered Together and Offered by John Wenz  for The Buddhist Sangha of Buck’s County, August 1st, 2011

Precious Refuge Points

By His Eminence the 12th Nubpa Rinpoche at New York City, June 11th, 2011

After reviewing the 4 common preliminaries, with practice we develop true renunciation in our minds. Once we have true renunciation, we look for a leader to show us to a path. We look for what is the best way to get refuge. Buddha shows a path, his teachings, and we need a companion, sangha, so we take refuge in the Three Jewels. This starts us on the first of the Three Uncommon Preliminaries.

Many, many years ago, religious faith was not well developed. People were terrified by natural disasters. They normally sought protection from huge trees or mountains. They sought outer protection. Then they sought protection from other human beings, but this was still not ultimate protection. People found these sources of protection were not always reliable. Individuals were trying to find reliable protection. This was available – the Buddha.

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Refuge

Lama Gursam kindly shared teachings on Refuge during our retreat this past April. Our friend John Wenz from Milarepa Meditation will present further teachings throughout the year on the first Monday of the month.

An Introduction to Refuge by John Wenz

June 6, 2011

As His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche says:

“We take refuge in Buddha, our own transcendent awareness, our mindful awareness, and

our compassion. The root of all Buddha’s teachings is Bodhicitta – Love and Compassion. It is all contained

in The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas:

1. Do no harm (do not act in anger about any sentient being, benefit sentient beings, help them in any way you can)

2. Practice virtue

3. Tame your own mind

If from the depths of our hearts develop the motivation: “May I purify my mind for the sake of all sentient beings”, then that mind will attain enlightenment.”

From Garchen Rinpoche, Refuge Teachings on 3-19-2011, You Tube: 20110320 PM 0405

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Four Ways of Turning the Mind: Sufferings of Samsara

“In the three lower realms and even in the three higher ones there is not an instant of absolute happiness. I will avoid the root cause of my samsaric existence and practice the excellent path of peace to Enlightenment.”  From The Preliminary Practices of the Incomparable Drikung Kagyu                 

“To all holy Lamas, I bow down! These days, I don’t care for riches. I’m not into acquisitions,

So I’m not miserable trying to get things at first, And I’m not stressed out trying to protect things in the middle, And I’m not wretched trying to hold on to things in the end.

Ownership is no fun: I’m happy without!

These days, I don’t care for relations. I’m not into emotional games,

So I’m not miserable with possession at first, And I’m not stressed out by arguments in the middle, And I’m not wretched from separation in the end,

Emotional games are no fun: I’m happy without!

These days, I don’t care for pride. I’m not into celebrity,

So I’m not miserable trying to get famous at first, And I’m not stressed out trying to keep in the spotlight in the middle, And I’m not wretched from fear of losing the attention in the end.

Celebrity is no fun: I’m happy without.

These days, I don’t care for countries. I’m not attached to one place over another,

So I’m not miserable with narrow chauvinism at first, And I’m not stressed out with patriotic fever in the middle, And I’m not wretched from defending the homeland in the end.

Attachment is no fun: I’m happy without!

 From “What’s a King?” Milarepa, Songs on the Spot, p.81-82 Translated by Nicole Riggs, Dharma Cloud, Eugene, Oregon, 2003

So we need to discuss suffering, but human nature is not to want to talk about it. But, spiritually we have to discuss what suffering is. The first noble truth talks about suffering. Until we understand clearly the nature of suffering, we don’t see that we can’t be free from suffering no matter how much we wish. So there is something here to study and meditate onHumans have the opportunity to think about suffering and its causes and conditions.  So there is a small chance to become free of suffering “             

Yogi Lama Gursam, “Compassion” August, 2007 Susquehanna Yoga Center,Talks online at lamagursam.org

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Four Ways of Turning the Mind : Karma

Enjoy this guide to the Four Ways of Turning the Mind  provided to us by our friend John Wenz from Milarepa Meditation from an ongoing series of  teachings inspired by our retreats with Lama Gursam.

3. Karma

“The fruit of one’s positive karma is happiness; suffering is the fruit of negative karma. The inexorable karmic causation is the mode of abiding of all dharmas. Henceforth, practice the Dharma by distinguishing between what should be practiced and what should be given up.”   From The Preliminary Practices of the Incomparable Drikung Kagyu

“Buddhism teaches about karma. All karma is created from mental intention. These intentions are expressed as emotions.”   Yogi Lama Gursam, “Love Your Enemy” August 11, 2006 Susquehanna Yoga Center,Talks Online at LamaGursam.org

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Four Ways of Turning the Mind: Impermanence

Enjoy this guide to the Four Ways of Turning the Mind  provided to us by our friend John Wenz from Milarepa Meditation from an ongoing series of  teachings inspired by our retreats with Lama Gursam.

2. Impermanence

“The nature of all phenomena is impermanence: death is a certainty for all who are born. Death can descend any time like a drop of morning dew on a blade of grass. Quick! It is time to make effort for the essence of Dharma.” From The Preliminary Practices of the Incomparable Drikung Kagyu

“For the practitioner we not only need to understand how precious life is, but that life is impermanent. Everything changes. The purpose of meditating upon impermanence is to serve as an antidote for laziness. It also serves as an antidote to attachment. When we are free of attachment, our minds become strong and free. The teaching on impermanence is the essence of the dharma. It frees us from attachment, anger, and hatred. Impermanence counters grasping. We grasp at conceptual thoughts because we do not see them as impermanent. So there is a strong connection between appreciating impermanence and meditation.“ Yogi Lama Gursam, October, 20, 2006 at Dave and Rebecca’s Home in “Precious Human Birth” Talks Online at LamaGursam.org

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Four Ways of Turning the Mind: Precious Human Life

Enjoy this guide to the Four Ways of Turning the Mind  provided to us by our friend John Wenz from Milarepa Meditation from an ongoing series of  teachings inspired by our retreats with Lama Gursam.

1. This Precious Human Life

 “Oh! This kind of leisure and endowment is supremely difficult to obtain. When we obtain this body, which is easily lost, do not waste it meaninglessly but rather use it to attain the ultimate liberation-joyous result.” From The Preliminary Practices of the Incomparable Drikung Kagyu

“We must develop positive thoughts on a personal and a global level…Buddhism believes we all have potential of enlightenment. We all can be free of Samsara, negative emotions and afflictive emotions – therefore life is precious.“

Yogi Lama Gursam, May 2010 at Makefield Friends Meeting, Makefield, PA for Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County

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