Je Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa (1357- 1419) was one of the greatest figures in the history of Tibetan Buddhism and the founder of the Gelug tradition. The year 2019 marked the 600th anniversary of Lama Tsongkhapa's parinirvana. To celebrate this, Tse Chen Ling offered a 14-month long series of programs that celebrated the life and lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa. These programs reflected the core teachings and unique features of the Gelug tradition. (Source Accessed Nov 12, 2020)
A part of "The Life and Legacy of Lama Tsongkhapa" presented by Tse Chen Ling
This event was held at Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco on September 20 and 21, 2019. Over the course of two days (three sessions), Don Handrick examined Tsongkhapa's exposition of enlightenment based on Maitreya's text "Sublime Continuum."
Maitreya's "Sublime Continuum" on Buddha Nature
What is enlightenment? How is it possible? Who can achieve it? One of Mahayana Buddhism’s most important teachings is the doctrine of tathagatagarbha, or buddha nature, the innate pure and changeless essence of the mind which gives rise to the fundamental potential for each being to attain full enlightenment or buddhahood. In this course we will examine selected verses from the first chapter of Maitreya’s Sublime Continuum of the Mahayana (Mahayana-uttaratantra Shastra), a text replete with rich poetic imagery and metaphor, to explore this profound and inspiring topic. . . .
"The Life and Legacy of Lama Tsongkhapa"
Rinpoche talks about two techniques: the gradual approach and the instant approach. The sūtra approach, the causal Mahayana using of kindness, compassion, joy to achieve the result through gradual effort, and the tantra approach: the resultant Mahayana. Whether it's the causal or resultant approach, the same motivation needs to be present.
In English with his direct, characteristic humor, Khenpo Rinpoche presents the "shining star" of buddha-nature in the minds of sentient beings as the same nature as the buddhas. He says, "We are always guided by this nature all the time whether we realize it or not."
As the laughter died down, the Gyalwang Karmapa delivered a profound and reasoned teaching on Buddha-nature and the nature of mind. "All sentient beings are endowed with the potential for complete Buddhahood," he began.
They are inherently Buddhas, and inherently that Buddha-nature is completely free of any stains -- it is stainless, and perfect. Yet, at the level of relative or immediate experience, our experience is not this way. Our experience is that this perfectly pure Buddha-nature is veiled by our confused outlook.
Shifting the teaching to a deeper level, the Gyalwang Karmapa then described the dharmakaya, or the Buddha's enlightened mind. "Lord Gampopa said that the nature of thoughts is dharmakaya," he explained.
Thoughts and dharmakaya are inseparable. We have this dualistic approach of seeing dharmakaya as pure and thoughts as impure, but we need to understand the inseparability of thoughts and dharmakaya.
The Gyalwang Karmapa spoke directly in English as he continued:
Every moment that we have thought, every moment that thought arises, we have the opportunity to recognize the nature of thought as emptiness or dharmakaya, whatever you want to call it. Thought and the emptiness of its nature are inseparable. We can't make them separate; there's no separation. Because thought itself is emptiness that means actually in everyday life we have lots of opportunity to recognize and realize the nature of thought, or nature of emptiness, or dharmakaya. But we just follow the appearances, the illusions -- we don't look deeper.
The Gyalwang Karmapa then responded to several more questions from the audience, teaching briefly on the progressive views of emptiness within Tibetan Buddhism which culminate in the final Madhyamaka view. The final questioner echoed the thoughts of many gathered when she asked the Gyalwang Karmapa how his students could help and support him. "I feel energized and inspired by all the love and the support that I receive from all of you. That really is sufficient. I don't need anything more than your love and support," he replied, to resounding applause.Continuing an annual tradition, the teaching took place at the request of the Root Institute for Wisdom Culture. The Gyalwang Karmapa taught to an overflowing gompa, with hundreds of students spilling out into the surrounding balconies and gardens. In addition to mostly international students, the audience also included local Indian children from the Root Institute's school.
Visit the Marpa Foundation's Digital Library of Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso.
Buddha Nature, Karma Chodrub Gyamtso Ling, 1979
Buddha Nature, Munich 1987
Buddha Nature, Karma Theksum Choling, Albany 1998
Buddha Nature, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra 1999
Buddha Nature and Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, Hawaii 1999
Buddha Nature, Karmê Chöling 2000
Buddha Nature, Dechen Chöling, 2000
Buddha Nature, Melbourne 2000
Buddha Nature, New York 2001
Buddha Nature, Hartford 2001
Buddha Nature, Florida 2001
Lama Shenpen Hookham speaks with students at RYI about the Shentong interpretation of Tathāgatagarbha on April 15, 2019.
Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Mathes is a professor of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna. His research interests include the Indian origin of the Tibetan Mahāmudrā traditions, buddha nature and the Tibetan gzhan stong tradition. He spoke with students at RYI on April 3, 2018. (Source Accessed Aug 13, 2020)
Drawing on Maitripa’s autobiographical writings and literary work, this book is the first comprehensive portrait of the life and teachings of this influential Buddhist master. Klaus-Dieter Mathes also offers the first complete English translation of his teachings on nonconceptual realization, which is the foundation of Mahamudra meditation.
The innocence of this first inquiry—just asking what you are—is beginner's mind. The mind of the beginner is needed throughout Zen practice. It is the open mind, the attitude that includes both doubt and possibility, the ability to see things always as fresh and new. It is needed in all aspects of life. Beginner's mind is the practice of Zen mind.
This book originated from a series of talks given by Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki to a small group is Los Altos, California. He joined their meditation periods once a week and afterwards answered their questions and tried to encourage them in their practice of Zen and help them solve the problems of life. His approach is informal, and he draws his examples from ordinary events and common sense. Zen is now and here, he is saying; it can be as meaningful for the West as for the East. But his fundamental teaching and practice and drawn from all the centuries of Zen Buddhism and especially from Dogen, one of the most important and creative of all Zen Masters.
This book is about how to practice Zen as a workable discipline and religion, about posture and breathing, about the basic attitudes and understanding that makes Zen practice possible, about non-duality, emptiness, and enlightenment. Here one begins to understand what Zen is really about. And, most important of all, every page breathes with the joy and simplicity that make a liberated life possible. (Source: inside jacket)
To follow along with the text, click here
In the first talk, he explains what marks the beginning of the bodhisattva path and the distinction between a noble bodhisattva and an aspiring bodhisattva. Furthermore, he explains the difference between emotional compassion and wisdom-based compassion. He introduces the four means of magnetizing, a skillful method used by Bodhisattvas to benefit others.In the second talk, he expands on the four means of magnetizing; generosity, pleasant speech, teaching according to the needs of beings, and being consistent in conduct. He explains how noble bodhisattvas implement these methods and provides practical advice to aspiring bodhisattvas on how to engage with them. The translation is by RYI's translator, Anya Zilman. (Source Accessed Sep 30, 2020)
Direct forerunners of the idea that all living beings have buddha-nature are the Lotus Sutra and parts of the Avataṁsaka (華嚴經). The lecture will discuss how the concept of buddha-nature came into existence, what kind of factors were crucial for this development, and how the idea was described in its earliest literature. Recent years have seen a fresh and unexpected re-arrangement of the early history of buddha-nature thought. These new developments will also be presented and evaluated.