From A Brief Description of the Bardo
by Thrangu Rinponche, Geshe Lharampa
An Introduction to the Bardo Teachings
It is said that human beings have a body, speech and mind. The body consists of flesh and blood while he mind is a collection of the eight consciousnesses and speech, a conjunction of the body and mind, is the creation of sound to communicate with others. Body and the mechanisms for speech are created in the mother’s womb, greatly develop at birth, and cease at death. The mind, however, is not created in the mother’s womb; it does not disappear like the body after death. Throughout beginningless time the mind has been habituated to its karmic tendencies. Through the force of grasping to a self, the mind enters the physical form in the mother womb at conception and this process is called “name and form’ in the twelve steps of interdependent origination. “Name” refers to sensations, identification, mental events and the consciousnesses, the four mental aggregates. “Form” refers to the first aggregate of form. Continue reading
Author: FANG CHAO-YING
Tshangs-dbyangs-rgya-mtsho 策養［倉洋］嘉錯 , Feb.11, 1683-1706, the Sixth Dalai Lama and poet, was born at Mon in southern Tibet. His full name was bLo-bzang-rig-hdsins （羅布藏仁青)-tshangs-dbyangs-rgya-mtsho.
The year before he was born the Fifth Dalai Lama had died. According to Tibetan law, the death of a Dalai Lama should be publicly announced, and high commissioners should then convene to select some new-born infant as the reincarnation of the deceased Lama. This infant is then educated in the monastery, Potala, and the Panchan Lama rules at the head of a body of regents, until the child comes of age. But this procedure was ignored in this instance as the Tipa (temporal administrator under the Dalai Lama), whose name was sDe-srid Sangsrgyas-rgya-mtsho, known in Continue reading
In the top centre sits Vajradhara, flanked by Gedun Drukpa, the first Dalai Lama (left) and his disciple Panchen Zangpo Tashi (right). In the bottom corner are two of the great stupas, on the left Budhgaya (India) and on the right Borobudur (Indonesia).
The Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist Pantheon
The principal beings are the five Dhyani Buddhas – the esoteric meditation Buddhas of the five colors found in The Tibetan Book of the Dead and other sources. The deities are not Buddhist Gods, but rather different aspects of the one God. Among these are several teachers or gurus, who have attained notoriety and importance, and as such are venerated.
Like the Hindu Deities, these are meant to express particular aspects of the Infinite, and are are used as devotional images helping the seeker visualize, concentrate on, and thus in time attain, that aspect of the Infinite in him or herself. Each of the deities represents a unique spiritual personality or essence.
The essence of each being is: Continue reading
Abhidhamma is the third great division of the Piṭaka. It is a huge collection of systematically arranged, tabulated and classified doctrines of the Buddha, representing the quintessence of this teaching. Abhidhamma means higher teaching or special teaching; it is unique in its analytical approach, immensity of scope and support for one’s liberation.
The Buddha Dhamma has only one taste, the taste of liberation. But in Suttanta discourses, the Buddha takes into consideration the intellectual level of his audience, and their attainment in pāramīs. He therefore teaches the Dhamma in conventional terms (vohāra vacana), making references to persons and objects as I, we, he, she, man, woman, cow, tree, etc. But in Abhidhamma the Buddha makes no such concessions; he treats the Dhamma entirely in terms of the ultimate reality (paramattha sacca). He analyses every phenomenon into its ultimate constituents. All relative concepts such as man, mountain, etc., are reduced to their ultimate elements which are then precisely defined, classified and systematically arranged. Continue reading
The Vinaya Piṭaka is made up of rules of discipline laid down for regulating the conduct of the Buddha’s disciples who have been admitted into the order as bhikkhus (monks) and bhikkhunis (nuns). These rules embody authoritative injunctions of the Buddha on modes of conduct and restraints on both physical and verbal actions. They deal with transgressions of discipline, and with various categories of restraints and admonitions in accordance with the nature of the offence.
Seven Kinds of Transgression or Offence (Āpatti)
The rules of discipline first laid down by the Buddha are called mūlapaññatti (the root regulation). Those supplemented later are known as anupaññatti. Together they are known as sikkhāpadas (rules of discipline). The act of transgressing these rules of discipline, thereby incurring a penalty by the guilty bhikkhu, is called āpatti, which means “reaching”, “committing”.
The offences for which penalties are laid down may be classified under seven categories depending on their nature: Continue reading
The Suttanta Piṭaka is a collection of all the discourses delivered by the Buddha on various occasions in their entirety. A few discourses delivered by some of the distinguished disciples of the Buddha, such as the Venerable Sāriputta, Mahā Moggallāna, Venerable Ānanda etc., as well as some narratives, are also included in the books of the Suttanta Piṭaka.
Although the discourses were mostly intended for the benefit of bhikkhus and deal with the practice of the pure life and with the explanation of the teaching, there are also several other discourses which deal with the material and moral progress of the lay disciple.
The Suttanta Piṭaka is divided into five separate collections known as nikāyas. They are Dīgha Nikāya, Majjhima Nikāya, Saṃyutta Nikāya, Aṅguttara Nikāya, and Khuddaka Nikāya.
Observances and Practices in the Teaching of the Buddha Continue reading
The Chinese Canon is called the Ta-ts’ang-ching or “Great Scripture Store.” The first complete printing of the “Three Baskets” or Tripitaka was completed in 983 C.E., and known as the Shu-pen or Szechuan edition. It included 1076 texts in 480 cases.
The Chinese Tripitaka deserves the special attention of all those concerned with the present development of world Buddhism. It is my humble opinion that only in the study of the Chinese Tripitaka can the contents of Buddhism be fully and totally understood. The Chinese Tripitaka offers the following:
(a) Agamas: All four Agamas belong to the Bhava division. The Madhyamagama Continue reading
There are two main traditions of bodhisattva vow: the tradition of Profound View, coming from Nagarjuna, and the tradition of Vast Conduct, coming from Asanga. In Asanga’s tradition the vows of bodhichitta in aspiration and bodhichitta in action are taken separately, whereas in Nagarjuna’s tradition they are taken together.
The Bodhisattva vow consists of the preliminary practices, main part and conclusion. The preliminaries can consist of gathering the accumulations by means of the seven branch offering, training the mind and giving away the three possessions. The main part consists of taking the vows of bodhichitta in aspiration and action, either separately or together. The conclusion consists of rejoicing oneself and encouraging others to rejoice as well. Continue reading