Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend that you visit our Wisdom Blog archives found on the Study Blogs page.  Here you can find shorter audio or video teachings sorted by topic. You may wish to start with the topics tagged Where to Start and Understanding Mind. The teachings here are geared for a general audience and can serve as good introductory material. We also highly encourage you to check out the Radically Happy section.  Here you can find direct tools for working with emotions and the mind. You might also benefit from physical practices that you can find in our short wellness courses: Yoga Āsanas for Sitting Meditation and Mobility for Meditators.

 

Please also join the Global Sangha Discussion Group. There you can join in conversations with other students throughout the world. You can also raise any questions you have, and senior students and instructors will respond!

You may struggle with anger, or with other difficult emotions. Or you may feel stressed, or without purpose in your life.  Again, we direct you to our Radically Happy section in Study Blogs where you can discover how small shifts can make a big difference. Co-authors Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon devised this program to appeal to modern students regardless of their belief systems. Additionally, In our Wisdom Blog archives a number of teachings address universal issues. Here you can find short audio or video teachings sorted by category. Check out the Where to Start collection of teachings. These teachings are geared for a general audience and most don’t presuppose any Buddhist knowledge or any set of beliefs.

You can continue to explore the Wisdom Blog archives within Study Blogs. Here, you may wish to begin with the tags Understanding Mind, Meditation and Mindfulness. The audio and video teachings here are great places to learn about meditation and to begin to understand how Phakchok Rinpoche explains meditation from a Buddhist perspective.

We also recommend that you check out our introductory course: Training the Mind: An Introduction. In this short home study program, Phakchok Rinpoche discusses the importance of the mind–and how to go about transforming it. The course includes video teachings, written summaries, and reflection questions. It is a great introduction for those who are curious about Buddhist meditation, but is also a wonderful review for people who need more inspiration for their meditation practice.

Samye Institute offers a number of home practice programs under our “Education: Course Directory” tab. The first is a short introduction to the mind called Training the Mind: An Introduction. This short course introduces the key points of mind transformation. In it, Phakchok Rinpoche gives simple and direct meditation instruction.

The second program is a full year program: The Path of Meditation Level I Home Practice Program. This path is suitable for both absolute beginners and for those who wish to rededicate themselves to meditation practice. This course does not presuppose any background in Buddhist practice or meditation. In this Mahāmudrā path of gradual progress program, we feature a number of video and audio teachings by Phakchok Rinpoche. Additionally, the course contains supportive reading material, links to other resources, journal suggestions, and reflection questions. There is a student group as well where you can post questions for discussion and where senior instructors can offer guidance.

We are also pleased to introduce The Path of Meditation Level II Home Practice Program. This program supports students who have previously completed a full year of study in the Mahāmudrā path of gradual progress.  This course also features video and audio teachings by Phakchok Rinpoche as well as support material, reflection questions, and guided meditations.

Please also explore the Wisdom Blog archives–particularly the sections tagged Practice Advice and Self-Reflection. If you’re feeling stuck or uninspired, you might also benefit from spending time in the Motivation section. Here you can find a number of video and audio teachings from Phakchok Rinpoche on different aspects of meditation and mind training.

You might wish to start with the Introductory course: Training the Mind: An Introduction. In this short home study course, Phakchok Rinpoche discusses the importance of the mind–and how to go about transforming it. The course includes video teachings, written summaries, and reflection questions. It is a great introduction for those who are curious about Buddhist meditation, but is also a wonderful review for people who need more inspiration for their meditation practice.

Samye Institute also offers a home study course on a classic Mahāyāna sūtra, The Noble Wisdom of the Time of Death. This course features 8 video teachings by Phakchok Rinpoche on this important text as well as two classical commentaries on the text. We thus learn how to practice meditation by first hearing, reading, and contemplating. In this way, you can engage with the teachings and repeatedly reflect on the meaning in depth.

In addition to these short courses, Samye offers two different levels of support for Mahāmudrā meditation. These are called The Path of Meditation Home Practice Programs. In this program, you can find a complete program of meditation instruction and a wide variety of support material.

Anyone who signs up for the site is encouraged to join the General Sangha Discussion Group. There you can post any questions or begin discussion topics with other students around the globe. Other groups are tied into specific on-line courses or to certain groups of students doing a particular practice. For example, if you are doing the Ngondro (preliminary practices), you can join a group where you can discuss that practice. Senior students and instructors will respond to your questions.

Phakchok Rinpoche often reminds students that gentle exercise can be very helpful for meditators.

We now offer two short courses offering physical practices specifically aimed at meditators. The first is Āsanas for Sitting Meditation. This series of exercises is firmly rooted in the Indian, Himalayan and South East Asian yogic traditions.Specifically designed for meditators and those sitting for long periods of time, this series of simple exercises is intended to open the channels and calm the winds, adding more flexibility and comfort to a sitting meditation practice.

Our second offering, Mobility for Meditators., presents a series of gentle stretches designed specifically to improve our mobility. Many of these target areas such as our tight hips that make seated meditation postures uncomfortable or inaccessible. This series of simple exercises adds more flexibility and comfort to a sitting meditation practice.

The Wisdom Blog Archive contains a number of articles explaining the meaning and importance of Vajrayana practice. You may wish to explore the section tagged Vajrayana.

We can enhance our meditation practice through ritual practice. Samye Institute currently offers one short home study practice on the ritual smoke offering, or Concise Sang Offering practice. This support program is open to those who have received the reading transmission for this practice. In the future we plan to expand these offerings and include more ritual instruction.

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