Introducing Samye Institute's Vajrayana Membership
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Path of Meditation Level One

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  1. Introduction
    An Overview of the Path of Meditation
  2. Mahamudra: An Introduction
  3. Advice as You Begin
  4. Advice for the Home Practice Program
  5. How to Practice During This Program
  6. Setting Up a Tibetan Buddhist Shrine
  7. The Ground
    The Treasury of Blessings: Buddha Shakyamuni Practice
  8. Path of Meditation Chart
  9. What Is Dharma?
  10. The Four Mind Changings
  11. Refuge and Bodhichitta
  12. Dza Patrul Rinpoche's Teaching on Refuge
  13. Patrul Rinpoche's Essential Instructions on Bodhicitta
  14. Study and Reflection
  15. Source of the Buddhadharma and the Mahamudra Lineage
  16. Connecting to the Lineage Masters
  17. Masters of Mahamudra
  18. How to Validate the Dharma
  19. Essence of the Ground
  20. Seeing Faults: Notice, But Don't Judge
  21. The Path
    The Mechanism of Samsara
  22. Enhancement Dispelling Obstacles
  23. Right Motivation
  24. Five Experiences of a Meditator
  25. One-Pointedness
  26. The Great Master Attitude
  27. Mind Becoming Functional
  28. Trainings
    Daily Life Training
  29. Posture and Seven Points of Vairocana
  30. Training Guidelines
  31. Month 1: Pure and Impure Physical Support
  32. Month 2: Focusing on the Breath
  33. Month 3: Vase Breath
  34. Vase Breath Technique Demonstration
  35. Month 4: Vajra Breath
  36. Month 5-6: Pure Mental Object
  37. Month 7-9: Natural State Śamatha
  38. Month 10-12: Tightening and Loosening
  39. Enhancement
    Supplication: Enhancing Your Practice Through the Düsum Sangye Prayer
  40. The Concise Sang Offering of Lamé Tukdrub Barché Künsel 
  41. Teaching on the Concise Sang Offering of Lamé Tukdrub Barché Künsel
  42. Advanced Tonglen
  43. Dealing With Meditation Obstacles
  44. Countering Distraction: Dealing With Obstacles in Meditation
  45. Amṛta Meditation
  46. Guru Citta Meditation
  47. Conclusion
    Supplementary Resources
  48. Path of Meditation Suggested Reading List
  49. How to Progress

Phakchok Rinpoche here asks the questions that we all ask about the teaching. How do we know that the Dharma is true, or correct? How has it held up over such a long history? Are these teachings relevant here and now in the 21st century?

Validating the Dharma: Examination of Teaching

Rinpoche reminds us that we are all undergoing difficulty and challenges. This is an important truth to acknowledge. There is suffering in life. The Buddha challenges us to face that fact. And once we see that truth clearly—then we will naturally want to learn how to overcome our suffering. The Buddha’s teachings are one way to respond—a way that emphasizes the importance of mind. By seeing the power of mind, we can transform our suffering—and that is something that we can all experience.

Validating Dharma

Validating the Dharma: Practice Experience

We need to test the Dharma through our own experience. That means that we actually take up the training and follow the instructions. Buddha taught that no one should simply accept the Buddhist teachings on blind faith. Whatever is explained should be validated through one’s personal experience.

How does one check the validity of the Dharma? Is the Dharma true or not? Is the Buddhist path still relevant today? We need to conduct an experiment—does the teaching make a difference in our life? If so—if it provides the answers we search for—then, it is a valid path.


  • Validating truth is a contentious issue these days. Think about how you normally investigate truth claims. Do you rely on a few friends, or the opinions of large groups? Do you prefer to find a few experts and take their word as valid? If you think of yourself as a rational, intelligent, scientific person—then how do you go about discovering truths? Can you think of a few examples where you tested theories or opinions yourself? Did that give you a different level of trust or confidence than relying on others’ arguments?

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