30 05, 2024

Buddha Nature: The Most Powerful Antidote

2024-05-31T14:40:03-07:00Categories: Blog, Mahamudra, Meditation|

Buddha Nature: The Most Powerful Antidote Written by Israel Lifshitz We, as 21st century Westerners, have a strong historical, religious and cultural background of low self-esteem and self-deprecation. Our ideas about sin and guilt are so deeply ingrained that even the non-religious, free thinking scientist Sigmund Freud said in Civilization and Its Discontents: "Due to our own psychic constitution we have a limited capacity for virtue and happiness, and therefore, we must feel satisfied with a moderate level of mental balance and wellbeing."* This is not a minor issue. It can even work as our biggest obstacle to progressing along the Buddhist path. If deep down in our

12 05, 2024

Key Qualities of Mahamudra Meditation

2024-05-12T14:21:54-07:00Categories: Blog, Mahamudra, Meditation|

Key Qualities of Mahamudra Meditation Written by Michael Miller Nitartha CFO Nalandabodhi Karunika and Practice Instructor As we embark on our journey through the Mahamudra practices, it is important to note the differences between Mahamudra meditation and simple shamatha. The differences are subtle but profound, and we can miss the point entirely if we do not know them. First, renunciation or revulsion is important. We need to develop some sense of giving in, some sense of renunciation. This does not mean going off to a cave and giving up all our worldly possessions. But it does mean that we must be willing to give up our fixed

30 04, 2024

Improve your meditation with thangka drawing

2024-05-03T11:03:08-07:00Categories: Blog, Meditation, Science of Creative Arts, Shamatha|

Drawing the Awakened Heart Improve your meditation with thangka drawing, one of the courses offered by Nitartha’s Department of Science of Creativity and the Arts. This is a powerful tool for developing our visualization and creation stage practices. After taking this course, many students have found it easier to generate their visualizations and with greater clarity. Studio classes are also a natural environment for practicing shamatha meditation. One's mind relaxes and simply focuses on drawing, which can be a very calming experience. Nitartha teaches thangka drawing based on the Karma Gadri Lineage. One of the four major schools of Tibetan thangka painting, we begin by learning the

30 04, 2024

Mind and Its World II: How Mind Engages with its World

2024-04-30T10:13:08-07:00Categories: Blog, Foundation Curriculum, Mind & Its World, Shedra|

Mind and Its World II: How Mind Engages with its World After exploring how mind cognizes in a valid or non-valid way in the first course in the Mind and Its World series, we are ready to look at how the mind works from the perspective of the way in which it engages with its objects, also known as “modes of engagement.” We spend a lot of our time engaged with our concepts, though we are rarely aware of this. Of course the conceptual mind is very useful, we need it to navigate our experiences of the world. But it is not a direct perception, it does not

25 04, 2024

Dharma without Compromise: How to take our practice off the cushion

2024-04-25T15:11:02-07:00Categories: Blog, Buddhist Studies, Jirka Hladis, Meditation, Shedra|

Dharma without Compromise: How to take our practice off the cushion Advice for those familiar with insight meditation and the study of the view, based on an oral presentation by Jirka Hladis. You might ask, “How can I use my formal dharma studies and meditation in practical ways, in everyday life?” This is an excellent question, because practicing the dharma is not meant to be limited to sitting on the cushion, but rather, it is intended to be applied and developed in all areas of our lives: home, work, school and community. Insight into egolessness or emptiness cannot be created in post-meditation without having had an experience or

12 04, 2024

Mind and Its World I: Valid Cognition

2024-04-12T11:41:04-07:00Categories: Blog, Buddhist Studies, Mind & Its World, Semester Course, Shedra, Valid Cognition|

This is the first course in Nitartha’s curriculum, and one of many that will be offered at this year’s Summer Institute in July.  This course explores the question: How do you obtain accurate and valid knowledge about the world? That’s the subject of pramana, or Buddhist epistemology. We typically assume that what we know about the world is valid. But is it? Our mind processes information so quickly, it responds so fast to what’s happening around us that we usually don’t realize when we are having a conceptual experience that is not actually in agreement with the object that we are experiencing. In this course, we become able

1 11, 2023

How To Practice In This Time Of Strife – Part 1

2023-11-10T07:05:52-08:00Categories: Blog, Dependent Origination, Featured, Jirka Hladis, Meditation, Shamatha|Tags: , , , , , , |

How To Practice In This Time Of Strife Part I: In this time of strife and war there is desire in the practitioner to send positive thoughts of compassion, some prayers. But there might also be a strong tendency to show anger, and blame one of the sides. And, what would be a guidance here, utilizing what we have studied here at Nitartha in the real world situation like this we could benefit from? How do we make this practice? The dharma of our teacher, Gautama the Buddha, the Tathāgata, the fully enlightened Buddha Śākyamuni, is the dharma of dependent origination, pratītyasamudpāda. The original formulation of the

1 11, 2023

How To Practice In This Time Of Strife – Part II

2023-11-10T17:48:16-08:00Categories: Blog, Dependent Origination, Jirka Hladis, Meditation, Shamatha|

How To Practice In This Time Of Strife - Part II Read Part I... Part II : The view of the dependent origination of the mutual dependence of the perceiver and the perceived, which is brought into life through the practice of mindfulness of breathing in such an immediate and compelling way, is furthermore expressed in the conduct of non-harming (ahimsā). The conduct of non-harming is the main topic of this presentation here - How To Practice In This Time Of Strife. Another name for the conduct of non-harming is the practice of compassion. The mind of the conduct of non-harming is the mind imbued with compassion. Thus,

7 09, 2023

BUD 692 Treasury of Valid Cognition and Reasoning – Chapter 1 (SPOC)

2023-12-13T14:34:07-08:00Categories: Blog, reg-spoc, registration|

BUD 692 Treasury of Valid Cognition and Reasoning - Chapter 1 (SPOC) Faculty: {!{types field='faculty' style='text'}!}{!{/types}!} This is the first of a series of teachings by Acharya Lama Kelzang Wangdi on Sakya Paṇḍita’s entire Treasury of Valid Cognition and Reasoning. Acharya Lama Kelzang will begin to teach chapter 1, “Investigation of the Object.” This chapter sets forth the major terminology of the tradition of valid cognition: valid cognition and mistaken cognition, their related objects that are things, non-things, and clearly appearing non-existents, and the modes of engagement of objects as appearing objects, referent objects, and objects of engagement. The theories of perception of the Vaibhāṣikas

16 08, 2023

Non-Thinking through Clear Thinking

2024-03-26T09:41:45-07:00Categories: Blog, Cittamatra, Karl Brunnholzl, Mahamudra, Mind Only, Shedra, Summer Institute, Yogacara|

Non-Thinking through Clear ThinkingIt sometimes feels like study proliferates our thoughts, when what we really want is for the mind to be still. But our thoughts are a tool. We can use them to undermine our belief in solidity. In fact, Nitartha’s Clear Thinking course offers a method to arrive at non-thought, which is one aspect of the experience of meditation.Dignaga and Dharmakirti analyzed language, words and clauses, and observed that among those the most elemental unit of expression is a word which is imbued with meaning. They noted that thoughts are language and concluded that language is the same as logical operations, and that the expression of

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