Online Support for Dharma Practice

Guru Rinpoche
Guru Rinpoche

Here are some online practice supports for Dharma students

Twitter

@ahkonlhamo – Musings and tweachings by Jetsunma

@kunzangpalyul – Kunzang Palyul Choling updates on practices, events, and other news

@palyulmedia –  Updates about webcast teachings and teachings available at palyulproductions.org

@kpcstore – updates on new Dharma product arrivals at the Mani Jewel Store

www.tara.org – Find out about Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, Kunzang Palyul Choling and its many activities and schedule of events, the Palyul Lineage, Buddhism and Buddhist Practices, and live broadcasts

www.PalyulMedia.Smugmug.com – A photo gallery of Lamas, Deities, and activities around Kunzang Palyul Choling and the Palyul family.  Downloads are free.  You can also order prints.

www.Ustream.tv/PalyulMedia – watch video teachings

www.youTube.com/KunzangPalyulCholing – watch short teachings and music clips

www.PalyulProductions.org – an online source for video DVDs, audio MP3s, audio CDs of teachings, practice books in book form or downloadable PDFs, as well as other Dharma supports.

www.JetsunmaMusic.com – Listen to Jetsunma’s music, read her poetic lyrics, and enjoy the music blog

Mandala Messenger – Sign up for KPC’s regular newsletter to find out about upcoming events and sangha news

www.kpcstore.org/– Online store for Dharma supports

KPC’s bookstore – Dharma books

www.stupas.org – beautiful images and descriptions of Stupas

Lunar Calendar Observances

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The following are the principal days in the Tibetan Lunar Calendar and the practices associated with those days:

8th Day- Medicine Buddha Practice

1st Qtr moon – White Tara Practice

10th Day – Guru Rinpoche Day / Shower of Blessings Tsog

15th Day – Amitabha Practice

Full Moon – Practitioner renews their vows and precepts.  A time to reaffirm and make confession. So Jong for the Ordained

2nd Qtr Moon – Green Tara Practice

25th Day – Dakini Day, Tsog Feast

29th Day – Dharma Protector Day

30th Day – Shakyamuni Buddha Practice

New Moon – Practitioner renews their vows and precepts.  A time to reaffirm and make confession. So Jong for the Ordained.

“From the Vajrayana or tantric point of view, the changes of the Sun and Mon produce a shift or change in the elements.  While there is a shift on the more physical or gross level (the physical elements of the body), there is also a shift on a more subtle level – a shift in the wisdom mind (potential enlightened mind).  This is sometimes referred to as the wind energy.  This subtle system, which is not material or physical, is related to the mind.  According to the Vajrayana practice, as we will gradually and eventually learn as we progress on the path, when all the different wind energies are channeled into what is known as the central or life channel, there is the experience of enlightened mind.  That is how practitioners enter into the state of indestructible Samadhi and other meditative states.  Related to that, on the occasion of the Full Moon, the 15th Moon, the 15th day, the right peripheral wind energy (also known as the white element) moves closest to the central channel.  On the day of the New Moon, the wind energy of the left peripheral channel (also known as the red element) comes closest to the central channel.  In general then, the lunar calendar is based on the motion of the Sun, Moon, and planets, and there is a definite relation of these cycles to the functioning of our subtle internal system.”

Above quote is from a teaching given by Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche

How to Make Offerings

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Meaning and Purpose

The basis for offering is the practice of “Generosity.”  Generosity helps us to be less self-cherishing and thereby more loving to others.  In the Buddhist tradition one makes offerings to the Three Precious Jewels, which are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and the Lama who embodies all three.  Offerings are a way of honoring the mind of Enlightenment and the seed potential within all of us to awaken to our true nature.  Also one makes offerings with joy and sincere appreciation for the countless blessings one has been given by one’s teachers who by their supreme generosity have given one the Path and a way to end one’s suffering.  The practice of offering is another way to acknowledge the boundless love and infinite compassion shown to us by all those who have attained Enlightenment solely for the benefit of sentient beings.

On a deeper level, the practice of offering can be done mentally where one offers everything one sees and experiences such as the beauty of fresh flowers, the wonderful scents in our world like freshly baked bread, the comfort one feels from being warm when it is cold outside, the taste of delicious food, and the happiness we feel when we see a friend we haven’t seen in a while.  As we walk through the mall, we can offer everything we see and experience, clothes, furniture, etc.  When one is practicing generosity in this way, it is also viewed as a way of renouncing our attachment to these worldly things that are impermanent anyway and only give us temporary happiness. This method of practice if cultivated becomes a potent way of accumulating merit and virtue that can then be offered for the benefit of sentient beings.

What to Offer

Generally, one offers the very best that can be obtained or that one has the means to offer.  If the offering is given sincerely from the heart, then even water that is offered  becomes a treasure.  Flowers, light, incense, perfume or sweet scent, pure water, a conch shell (symbolizes music), and food are traditional offerings.  Crystals, jewelry, malas, and money are also suitable offerings.

How to Make the Offering

As a Buddhist, upon entering the shrine room one makes three prostrations towards the altar.  Then one arouses the thought of Bodhicitta, which is the sincere wish or motivation to be of benefit to sentient beings by working to achieve enlightenment.  The offering is made on the lowest level of the altar or could be placed at the base or foot of the altar.  In the case of offering a mala, the mala should be placed on the foot of the image of the Buddha but never around the neck.  If offering a BLESSED mala, please note that once offered, the mala can never again be used for personal use.  The practice of offering is considered to be a virtuous act, so remember to dedicate the merit and offer it as well for the benefit of all sentient beings.

What Not to Offer

Generally it is best not to offer anything sour or bitter like lemons or limes.  Also one would not offer an image of the Buddha such as a statue or a photograph of the Buddha.

When to Make an Offering

Offerings can be made at anytime, however in the Tibetan lunar calendar, there are auspicious days when merit is increased that are traditionally observed by making offerings.  For example, the 10th Day or Guru Rinpoche Day, the 25th Day or Dakini Day, 10 Million Days (there are four during the year) which mark different events in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha, and Losar the Tibetan New Year.

Introduction to Buddhism – A Reading List

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There are many excellent books about Buddhism.  Here is a selection that provides an introductory foundation to Buddhism.  Other introductory books on Buddhism can be found here.

An Open Heart:  Practicing Compassion in Everyday – HH the Dalai Lama

Buddha – Karen Armstrong

Buddha:  His Life and His Teachings – Walter Henry Nelson

Cave in the Snow – Vicki McKenzie

The Clouds Should Know Me By Now:  Buddhist Poet Monks of China – Pine & O’Connor

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism – Chogyam Trungpa

Daily Wisdom:  365 Buddhist Inspirations – Josh Bartok

Dhammapada:  The Sayings of the Buddha – Thomas Cleary

Enlightened Journey, Buddhist Practice As Daily Life– Tulku Thondup

A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night:  A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life – Dalai Lama

Gates to Buddhist Practice– Chagdud Tulku

Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life – Santideva

Healing Power of the Mind – Tulku Thondup

Hidden Teachings of Tibet:  An Explanation of the Terma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism – Tulku Thondup

Introduction to Tantra – Lama Yeshe

Open Heart, Clear Mind – Thubten Chodron

Opening of the Lotus:  Developing Clarity and Kindness– Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa

Relating to a Spiritual Teacher – Alexander Berzin

Start Where You Are – Pema Chodron

Taking the Bodhisattva Vow – Bokar Rinpoche

Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha – E.A. Burtt

Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up – Allan Wallace

Transforming Problems Into Happiness – Lama Zopa

When Things Fall Apart:  heart Advice for Difficult Times – Pema Chodron

Words of My Perfect Teacher– Paltrul Rinpoche

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind – Shunryu Suzuki

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