"Lam Rim" Program with Geshe Namgyal
On Saturday at 10:00am
Ananda Dharma Center is proud to offer you a new Lam Rim course, recommended to us by H. E. Choden Rinpoche during the Mahamudra Teachings 2013. Rinpoche kindly gave us an Oral Transmission of these great topics after the last day of Mahamudra Series.
Class Notes are available here.
Video Recording of this series is available here.
Audio Recording of this series is available here.
“Lam Rim” taught by Geshe Dangsong Namgyal, translated by Ven. Tsondue by Ananda Dharma Center EVERY SATURDAY, 10am-12pm
Lam Rim means “The Stages of the Path” in Tibetan. It is the teaching that presents a complete compendium of all the Buddha's teachings. Lam Rim has existed in many different forms and versions in Tibetan History. Lam Rim is presented in all four Buddhist schools, and is taught by different teachers of the Nyingma, Kagyu and Gelug. All of these versions are actually elaborations of Atisha's Dipamkarashri Jana text, “A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment”. This text expounds the entire stages of the path, beginning from the ordinary level up to complete Enlightenment, the fully awakened state of Buddhahood. The Lam Rim text presents stages on the Path to Enlightenment in accordance with the three scopes of disciples. Initially, the Lam Rim began to flourish in Tibet in the Kadampa school, when Atisha brought his teachings to Tibet at the beginning of the 9th century. But in the later part of 14th century, the Gelug founder, Lama Tsongkhapa, wrote a new complete Lam Rim text, that later became one of his masterpieces called “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path of Enlightenment “ or Lam-rim Chenmo.
The Lam Rim course was recommended by His Eminence Choden Rinpoche during his summer events in 2013. He instructed Ananda Dharma Center's new Geshe, Geshe Namgyal, and his translator, Ven. Tsondue, to begin teaching “The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment” “as soon as possible”. Choden Rinpoche also gave an oral transmission of the Lam Rim text called the “Easy Path”.
Our teachings of Lam Rim will be based on this text, composed by the Fourth Panchen Lama - Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen. (Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen was the Fourth Panchen Lama of Tibet, but the first to be given this title during his lifetime, and, sometimes, because of this called “the First”). This particular text was written during the 16th Century and was based on the root text called “The Easy Path” (“Blissful Path to Omniscience, Guide to the Graded Path to Enlightenment” sometimes simply known as “The Easy Path“ (bde lam) by Panchen Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen). As Panchen Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen himself stated:
This Lam Rim, as he says, “was based on Lama Tsonghkapa's Lam Rim Chenmo, encompassing all the critical points in the form of practices.” The Lam Rim text composed by Lama Tsongkhapa summarized the essentials of the Buddha's entire doctrine as well as three faculties of the person based on their understanding of these instructions. To summarize, Lam Rim is a great pathway of spiritual pioneers: glorious Nagarjuna and Arya Asanga and the profound heart essence instructions of Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa. They present the Entire Path for the three capacities of human mind in its complete form.
This Lam Rim text is adorned with four greatnesses and three qualities: it deals with cultivating a loving kindness through refraining from three negative actions of the three doors (body, speech and mind); it presents dependent origination, dependent arising and the necessity of bringing the ignorance of the mind to its end; it emphasizes developing the mind of ultimate Bodhichitta, that strives for the welfare of others. All the instructions and advise presented in this text are also very relevant in our everyday lives in today's society. We can learn the ancient path and also apply this knowledge in our daily lives, to make our lives more meaningful, more inspired and full of joy.
If we practice the Lam Rim in this manner we will certainly come to appreciate its Four Greatnesses:
- the greatness of enabling one to know that all of the Buddha's teachings are free of contradiction
- the greatness of enabling one to understand, that all of the Buddha's scriptures are instructions of a practice
- the greatness of enabling one to easily realize the Buddha's intent
- the greatness of enabling one to refrain from any wrongdoing
In brief, study of the Lam Rim explains to us how to properly meditate on the path, how to train in the three higher trainings, and how to practice the six perfections. This course is also not simply a dry intellectual program. We will complement this course with weekly meditation classes that will include meditation on the Special Insight, as well as all other Lam Rim topics.