Buddhist Philosophy

Mahamudra Level One – Question and Answers October 2015

Phakchok Rinpoche invited his students from all around the world to ask questions relating to Mahamudra – The Path of Meditation Level One.

Questions From Students

  • How can one be non-judgmental yet successful in the commercial world?
  • The Treasury of Blessings practice says “Whoever hears the name of Buddha Shakyamuni shall never return to Samsara.” But I have difficulty feeling certainty about this statement.
  • In the stages of shamatha practice, I am currently on month 5, pure object meditation. However, I find myself going back to the vajra breath practice because it feels more beneficial for my current life circumstances. Is it okay to go back to the vajra breath? Or is there some way I can make the pure object practice work for my current situation?
  • Currently, I am doing the vase breathing practice. Is it important to do it continuously for the whole session? Because I find this difficult.
  • I find it difficult to sustain natural state shamatha.  So I go back to meditating with the breath as my object.  Is this ok? Also, if I am unable to attend a Mahamudra course soon, how should I progress in my practice?
  • I attended Rinpoche’s Mahamudra level one course a couple of years ago. How can I receive further instructions if I am unable to attend a level two course?
  • Could Rinpoche please clarify the difference between “mindfulness,” “carefulness” and “conscientiousness” as they relate to practice on the path of meditation? And are we to understand them as progressive? Or do they work in combination?
  • I have been practicing for a number of months according to the path of meditation instructions. However, I find it easier to focus on mantra recitation compared to focusing on an object or on my breath. Could Rinpoche please comment on this?
  • I know Rinpoche emphasizes practice more than reading books. But I am very inspired by the Mahamudra course and would like to learn more. Does Rinpoche recommend specific texts or instructions? How should I proceed?

This question and answers session with KPR was recorded at Chuan-der Buddhist Centre, Taipei, Taiwan in October 2015

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.