Transcripts of Teachings

Student-Led Meditation: The Six Root Delusions

Anne Moon “The Six Root Delusions” is from a series of student-led teachings and meditations. This is a meditation on the six root delusions of samsaric existence within the context of our Vajrasattva practice (Pearl of Wisdom, Book II, page 41). Begin by sitting and rejoicing: We are alive, here today, we have not died, […]

VTC: You’re Becoming a What? The Story of An American Buddhist Nun

by Ven. Thubten Chodron When people ask me to talk about my life, I usually start with “once upon a time….” Why? Because this life is like a dream bubble, a temporary thing – it is here and then gone, happening once upon a time. I grew up in America, in a suburb of Los […]

VTC: Repaying the Kindness of Our Parents

by Ven. Thubten Chodron Many of us Westerners are not familiar with recognizing and repaying the kindness of our parents. Since the breakdown of the family structure and the advent of pop-psychology, many of us are more familiar with looking at families as dysfunctional and codependent, populated by wounded inner children and perpetuating child abuse. […]

VTC: Relating to a Spiritual Mentor

by Ven. Thubten Chodron From Taming the Monkey Mind Some people wonder if it’s necessary to have a spiritual master. Can’t we learn from books, teach ourselves, and discover the path alone? To learn worldly skills, for example reading, carpentry or surgery we need a teacher. It’s difficult and even dangerous to learn on our own. […]

VTC: Reaching Out With the Dharma

by Ven. Thubten Chodron As eclectic as our society is today, we may easily become insulated in our own comfortable groove. The meditation on equanimity enables us to begin to dissolve attachment towards friends and relatives, aversion toward people who push our buttons for whatever reason, and apathy towards all those we don’t know. This […]

VTC: Prison Dharma

by Ven. Thubten Chodron (For a follow-up on Michael written by Venerable Chodron in August 2000) Recently, I went to visit Michael, a prisoner in Ohio with whom I’ve been corresponding for over a year and a half. He first wrote to me in the autumn of 1997, expressing interest in the Heruka and Vajrayogini […]

VTC: Preliminary Practice (Ngondro)

by Venerable Thubten Chodron Our mind is often compared to a field, with the potential to bring forth bountiful harvest of wisdom and compassion. For the seeds of listening to teachings to grow easily and quickly, the field needs to be properly prepared: purifying negative karmic imprints is similar to clearing the field of rocks […]

VTC: The Need for Modern Buddhist Education

by Ven. Thubten Chodron Note: I wrote this article in 1988 and am happy to note that in the years since then that Buddhist education in Singapore has improved greatly. This is due to the efforts of both the monastic and lay Buddhists, and I rejoice and thank you very much! When the students of […]

VTC: My True Religion is Kindness

An Interview with Rinchen Khandro Chogyal by Ven. Thubten Chodron Many DFFers were delighted to listen to Rinchen Khandro Chogyal’s talk at the center on January 5, 1999. I thought you might like to know more about this remarkable person and so want to share an interview I did with her in October, 1992. A […]

VTC: Mind and Life 2000–Destructive Emotions

by Ven. Thubten Chodron Beginning in the mid-1980s, the Mind and Life Institute has brought together scientists from various fields of expertise with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a series of conferences. A theme is picked for each, and five to seven scientists in that field are selected to make presentations to His Holiness. […]

VTC: Interview–Working for Sentient Beings

The following interview with Venerable Chodron was conducted by Julie Rae, one of her students. The idea for the interview was inspired by meditating on “How to Rely On Our Spiritual Mentors” from teachings by Geshe Jampa Tegchok on “The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas” – in particular the section on “How to rely on our […]

VTC: Guided Meditation–Factors Stimulating the Arising of Disturbing Attitudes and Emotions

by Ven. Thubten Chodron Every year, I lead a Lamrim retreat near Seattle, USA, and over the years have developed a meditation outline for the principal Lamrim meditations. The one below, “Factors Stimulating the Arisal of Disturbing Attitudes and Emotions” is excerpted from the path in common with the middle level practitioner. We do this […]

VTC: Ego, A Tibetan Buddhist Perspective

by Ven. Thubten Chodron “Ego” is an ambiguous English word with multiple meanings, and we must take care if and how we use it in Buddhism. Its original, psychoanalytic meaning refers to a part of the mind that mediates between the animalistic instincts of the id, the values of the superego, and the demands of […]

VTC: Are Buddhists Ambitious

by Ven. Thubten Chodron When people first begin Dharma practice, they often ask, “Buddhism says clinging attachment is a disturbing attitude. If I diminish my clinging attachment, what will happen to my ambition? Will I being listless and lack motivation to do anything? What will happen to my career?” Similarly, they wonder, “What role does […]

VTC: A Turn Around

By Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron We are used to Tibetan monks teaching the Dharma to Westerners in the USA, Europe, and Australia. But imagine a Western nun teaching the Dharma in English to Tibetans in India! I was, by chance (by karma?) involved in just such an experience when I visited Mundgod last October. In South […]

VTC: A Marriage Blessing

I was asked by a couple in the USA to lead a marriage blessing (This is different from a marriage ceremony, which monastics are not allowed to perform) and prepared the following. Others may use or borrow from it according to their needs. Thubten Chodron Seattle; June, 1995 Do the Seven Limb Prayer from “The […]

VTC: A Buddhist Nun in High School

by Ven. Thubten Chodron The high school students wrote and performed the play themselves. Their teacher had invited me to watch it and to give a talk at the school assembly. The plot goes thus: God is sitting in heaven, reading a newspaper while the angels peacefully play Chinese checkers. Devils sneak in, and mischievously […]

VTC: 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas

Having gained this rare ship of freedom and fortune Hear, think and meditate unwaveringly night and day In order to free yourself and others from the ocean of cyclic existence This is the practice of Bodhisattvas Having covered the topic of Precious Human Life (line 1), Ven. Chodron went on to give this teaching on […]

GYT: Introduction to the Commentary on Atisha’s Jewel Mala

Presented November 12, 1997, at the DFF Center Teacher Geshe Yeshe Tobden passed away in July 1999 in Dharamsala, India. Geshe Yeshe, one of Venerable Chodron’s teachers, gave a commentary on Atisha’s Jewel Mala at DFF in November of 1997. Venerable Chodron recommends that students recite the King of Prayers and pray for Geshe Yeshe […]

LZR: Cutting the Source of Suffering: Realizing the Ultimate Nature of Phenomena

From a talk in Singapore by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche Let’s bring our attention to the ultimate nature of phenomena–the ultimate nature of the I, actions, objects, and all there is. Everything–what is called “this” and “that”–is all name coming from the mind, given by the mind. This means that everything is merely imputed by […]

LZR: The Value of Lamrim

by Lama Zopa Rinpoche Having realizations of the lamrim (the gradual path to enlightenment) is more valuable than seeing the Buddha. We may even known people who have had visions of the Buddha, but that does not mean they have even one lamrim realization. A spiritual mentor who can teach us the Four Noble Truths […]

LZR: Practicing Patience

by Lama Zopa Rinpoche Edited from the newsletter of Vajrapani Institute, November, 1992. (Vajrapani Institute, Box I, Boulder Creek CA 95006). What is the importance of doing retreat? Why do people need to do retreat? It is not simply to be quiet, to have a break from one’s family. Instead, there are very crucial reasons […]

LZR: The Importance of Retreat

by Lama Zopa Rinpoche Edited from the newsletter of Vajrapani Institute, November, 1992. (Vajrapani Institute, Box I, Boulder Creek CA 95006). What is the importance of doing retreat? Why do people need to do retreat? It is not simply to be quiet, to have a break from one’s family. Instead, there are very crucial reasons […]

LZR: The Good Heart

A Talk by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Sakya Monastery, Seattle, WA, September 3, 1997 I want to say hello to everyone and thank you very much. I’m very happy to meet with those who I have met before in this life and those I haven’t met. Before the talk, before my blessing to the ears (along […]

LZR: Dedication

Zopa Rinpoche gave this dedication during the Most Secret Hayagriva retreat at Vajrapani Institute, September/October, 1997. Lightly edited by Ven. Chodron. We give all the merits collected today from the various practices we have done, including the extensive water bowl offerings, to all sentient beings. We share all our past, present and future merits—the merits […]

LZR: Benefiting Sentient Beings Through the Gradual Path to Enlightenment

by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche Singapore, 2 June, l988 We are responsible for the welfare of each sentient being. We are completely responsible to enable other sentient beings to obtain happiness and pacify their sufferings. First, let’s use ourselves as an example. We all do not want anyone to have anger towards us, and we […]
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