[ DAILY PRACTICES ]|
The Asian Classics Institute presents ten different Daily Practices that represent the classics of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. It is recommended that those seeking a complete Buddhist path pursue both intellectual studies and meditation practice. Neither meditation nor intellectual studies alone is enough to become spiritually advanced; each complements and balances the other. By studying ideas, meditating upon, and putting them into practice in daily life, you can develop great spiritual range and capacity. Formal Study Course 3: Applied Meditation, thoroughly describes all aspects of meditation and should be studied as a foundation for the Practices offered here.
Some of these Practices are meditations, and others are advices to be used as one is active throughout the day. They range in length from three to fifteen sessions. All Practices have audio, and mostóbut not allóhave written materials. Please note that Daily Practice homework is not available for grading by the Institute. Each Practice and itís content is described below.
We would like to emphasize that, although recordings and written materials can be extremely helpful, it is essential for serious Buddhist practitioners to meet and study directly with a qualified Teacher who can give the necessary guidance and personal instructions of the lineage.
PRACTICE 1: MANDALA OF THE STEPS TO ENLIGHTENMENT (Lam Rim)Each step along the spiritual path should be taken in itís proper sequence to bring one to the end of the path. This meditation reviews the steps of the path, and the order in which to move through those steps. We visualize the mandala of the Lam Rim, contemplating each and every step of the path, as we travel through the rooms of the mandala in the same order that one should progress through their spiritual practice. By visualizing the spiritual path as a mandala, and seeing ourselves journeying through the rooms of the mandala, we deeply internalize the stages of the path. This meditation Practice consists of six sessions recorded during the original retreat, along with the corresponding written materials, which are comprised of readings. Cost $48.
PRACTICE 2: THE REAL MEANING OF REFUGEWe regularly go for refuge during our normal lives. We take refuge in food, money, sex, government, the police, a job, friends, family, etc. We routinely take refuge in ordinary things or people, thinking that they will be able to protect us or shield us from unhappiness and suffering. Those types of refuge can only help us temporarily, and we are eventually disappointed by their inability to bring us a lasting, permanent happiness. Spiritual refuge is very different. It is to rely upon things which are infallible and provide true happiness, without fail. This practice teaches what it really means to take ultimate refuge, and why one must pursue infallible, extraordinary objects of refuge to reach a complete, lasting happiness. This mindfulness Practice consists of four sessions recorded during the original retreat. There are no corresponding written materials. Cost $38.
PRACTICE 3: CONTEMPLATION ON THE PRACTICE OF GIVING AND TAKING (Tong Len)This is an excellent meditation practice to develop a caring attitude in our hearts toward everyone in our lives, especially those that we have difficulty with. And itís a wonderful meditation to do when one has an illness, to cultivate empathy, or to generate happiness. Tong Len practice cultivates love and compassion for ourselves, those we are indifferent toward, and those who harm us. Itís a great way to learn to be kind to yourself and others. This meditation Practice consists of seven sessions recorded from the original retreat, along with corresponding written materials, which are comprised of readings. Cost $48.
PRACTICE 4: THE SEVEN POINT PRACTICE FOR DEVELOPING A GOOD HEART (Lojong)Developing a good heart is the cornerstone of spiritual practice. These teachings and meditations provide concise, efficient methods to develop heartfelt love and compassion for all those around us. Lojong is an inspiring practice that trains you to make the most of life by caring about others, and to integrate that attitude into your daily life. This Seven Point Lojong is based upon the Advices for Training Oneself in the Greater Way by Geshe Chekawa (1101-1175), and contains many powerful advices on how to practice thinking and acting like a bodhisattva. These teachings and practices were kept secret for centuries because masters of the past did not want their seemingly mystical verses to be misunderstood. This mindfulness Practice consists of fifteen sessions recorded from two original retreats, along with corresponding written materials, which are comprised of readings, homework, quizzes, and answer keys. This topic was covered twice, each time with a different emphasis, and both versions have been provided. Cost $48.
PRACTICE 5: MEDITATION ON DEATH AND THE END OF DEATHDeath is feared, avoided, and denied in ways that often causes us to live as if we will never die. At the end of life, people often die with intense regret from not having done the important things they wanted to do in their life. Acknowledging the fact that we will die, and that we have a limited, unknown amount of time left is essential to making our life choices. By meditating on death in the proper way, we can make every moment of life precious and meaningful. A good death meditation results in a happy, clear mind, free of anxiety and fear. One learns to live each day of life as if it were the last, thereby avoiding meaningless activity and spending each moment in the most fulfilling way possible. This meditation Practice consists of six sessions recorded from the original retreat, along with corresponding written materials, which are comprised of readings, homework, quizzes, and answer keys. Cost $48.
PRACTICE 6: THE FOUR POWERS TO REMOVE NEGATIVE KARMATo become enlightened and be happy all the time, one must be virtuous towards every living being all the time. Unfortunately, at present, most of us can not do this. Instead, we routinely behave badly towards others, harming with our thoughts, words, and actions. The result is that we collect negative karma throughout our lives. Karmically, every instance of negativity we generate towards others will definitely come back to us as a similar unpleasant, painful experience in our lives. The good news is that itís possible to purify and remove the past negative karma we collected, before it can ripen upon us as our own personal suffering and pain. This practice teaches how to clean up and purify our past negativity to prevent that old bad karma from ripening upon us as difficulties, problems, pain, or suffering in our life. This mindfulness Practice consists of six sessions recorded from the original retreat, along with corresponding written materials, which are comprised of readings, a reading supplement, homework, quizzes, and answer keys. Cost $48.
PRACTICE 7: THE MARRIAGE OF KARMA AND EMPTINESSSThis presentation provides a good overview of how karma and emptiness (ultimate reality) interact to form you, your world, and all of itís experiences. Ultimate reality is described along with the principles of karma, and how those two come together to form all things and experiences. The union of karma and emptiness is the basis of all reality, and this practice explores what you can do to affect and change your reality. It is a wonderful practice to transform the world around you by understanding the laws of karma, and the idea of ultimate reality, in your everyday life. This mindfulness Practice consists of three sessions recorded from the original retreat, along with corresponding written materials, which are comprised of readings. Cost $38.
PRACTICE 8: THE HEART SUTRA, A MEDITATION ON EMPTINESSThe Heart Sutra is one of the most popular prayers in Buddhism. It contains seemingly mystical, impenetrable verses that describe how reality does exist, and the way in which it does not exist. This meditation penetrates into the real meaning of the sutra, which describes how our very nature, including our bodies, minds and identities are not what they appear to be. We meditate on the very nature of ultimate reality (emptiness) to discover where things come from and how they really exist. This is an excellent introductory overview meditation on emptiness. This meditation Practice consists of fifteen sessions recorded from two original retreats, along with corresponding written materials, which are comprised of readings, homework, and answer keys. This topic was covered twice, each time with a different emphasis, and both versions have been provided. Cost $48.
PRACTICE 9: THE EMPTINESS OF THE MIND (Mahamudra)This meditation practice focuses on understanding ultimate reality (emptiness) on a more advanced level. Mahamudra is meditation on the ultimate nature of oneís own mind. We meditate on our mind, examining it on six different levels, each one leading to a more sophisticated understanding of our mind and itís nature. Meditating on the ultimate nature of oneís own mind is an important part of a larger practice that leads to the direct perception of ultimate reality. The direct experience of ultimate reality is a key meditative realization that assures very quick enlightenment. This meditation Practice consists of six sessions recorded from the original retreat, along with corresponding written materials, which are comprised of readings, homework, quizzes, and answer keys. Cost $48.
PRACTICE 10: JE TSONGKAPA'S MANTRA (Ganden Hlagyama)This meditation is an excellent method to improve your spiritual capacity and to dramatically enhance your ability to practice. Learn to receive great spiritual blessings with this meditation practice that focuses on the Thousand Angels of the Heaven of Bliss, A Prayer of Lama Devotion. The visualizations associated with meditating upon the prayer are emphasized, with special attention given to the mantra recitation. This is an excellent preparation for advanced tantric meditation. It lays the foundation for tantric retreat by properly guiding you through mantra meditation and teaching you how to do mantra recitation and retreat. This meditation Practice consists of eight sessions recorded from the original retreat, along with corresponding written materials, which are comprised of a text and torma-making instructions. Cost $38.
A Correspondence Course brochure that includes the Meditation practices is available for download in PDF format, which will allow for better printing and ordering or you may print the online order form. If you need the free Acrobat Reader plug in to view the PDF document, it is available here.