You are currently browsing the daily archive for 13 May 2012.

When studying Buddhism, it isn’t long before we encounter lists. List of benefits, lists of vows, lists of downfalls – four of this, six of that, the list (of lists!) seems to be endless. Many such lists can be found in the booklet: The Vows and Commitments of Kadampa Buddhism.

These lists are a traditional and extremely useful way of bringing structure to a topic and presenting Buddhadharma in a logical and elegant manner. Each item on each list is there for a reason and is very important.

There are many benefits from memorising Dharma in general:

  • It improves our memory/mindfulness
  • It improves our concentration
  • It develops our effort and patience
  • It develops our self-confidence
  • It improves our knowledge of Dharma
  • It allows us to recall Dharma at appropriate moments, such as when we are in danger of developing a delusion such as anger
  • It allows us to contemplate Dharma during the day without having to reference actual texts
  • It allows us to recall Dharma during contempation meditation – very useful for making our meditations powerful
  • It improves our ability to understand other Dharma instructions, because we can immediately cross reference
  • It gives us something meaningful with which to occupy our spare time
  • It gives us confidence when we are discussing Dharma with friends
  • It helps to make our lives meaningful

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful ability to be able to remember all these lists at the drop of a hat? Wouldn’t it be intensely meaningful to be able to listen to a teaching and recognise when the teacher skilfully weaves in items from one of these lists? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to draw from these lists confidently in your own teachings, or when discussing Dharma with friends? Wouldn’t it be so beneficial to be able to go through these lists to ourselves when we have a few minutes of free time?

A principal benefit of being able to remember these lists is that it gives us the ability to bring them into our meditations.

By remembering the meaning of each item in our analytical meditation (contemplation) we can build a very clear and well qualified object which we can then focus on in our placement meditation.

Rather then peeking at our text during our meditation (and upsetting our concentration), it is much better to commit the list to memory. In this way we can go through the list mentally without interruption. We can build the object gradually and transition to placement meditation smoothly.

In this series of posts, I would like to share a method of memorising these lists so that your Dharma knowledge and wisdom can flourish. What I am going to present not my invention, and there are many, many other methods out there, but this one works for me – I hope it works for you!

With all these benefits on the cards, I hope you’ll stay tuned for the next post in this series where we will start to look at how to approach the memorisation of lists.

Love Vide x

The purpose of this meditation is to contemplate the benefits of relying upon a Spiritual Guide in order to generate a very strong feeling of wishing to rely upon him, and then to meditate on this wish in light of the kindness of all living beings.

I began with some breathing meditation, and drew an image from the teacher at a day course I attended yesterday. He said that inner peace felt as stable as a high mountain, and as deep and calm as an ocean. I let my mind mix with the idea of a massive stable mountain and a vast still ocean, and my mind was slowly filled with a wonderful deep feeling of inner peace. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then moved on to the main topic, which is a feeling of sincere reliance upon my Spiritual Guide. The New Meditation Handbook gives nine benefits of relying upon a qualified Spiritual Guide, and I recalled them one at a time, generating the wish to attain each of the benefits as I thought of them. After going through the benefits individually I then thought of all of them as a whole, and generated the wish to attain all these benefits. It was like nothing else mattered and I did not want anything else in the whole world – these benefits were more meaningful than anything else I can possible wish for. I stayed with this wish for a while, and then moved back from it with the thought that these benefits all stem from one wish – the wish to rely completely upon my Spiritual Guide.

I thought of Geshe-la. I had the feeling of reaching out to him with my heart and forming a connection with him. I thought about how he exists. He has a body which I cannot meet or see at the moment. But he also manifests in his books. I have his books here in my house. In that sense, he is right here with me now. To rely on him, and hear his words, all I need to to is open his books and read. I had an image of my dharma books seeming to glow with the life of my Spiritual Guide and I felt very close to him. I then thought about how he exists in his Dharma Centres, his Teachers and his students.

I visualised Geshe-la and a connection of light between him and me. I visualised this connection bringing us closer together until we dissolved into each other. I felt like I was completely mixed with him, and I could rely upon him right here in my heart – not just at a distance.

I stayed with this beautiful feeling for some time. I then thought about what this means in light of the kindness of others.

Surely the most kind thing anyone can do is act as a Spiritual Guide to others. A qualified Spiritual Guide has only one wish – to help others attain true inner peace. He wants nothing in return. What is most meaningful to him is that others attain freedom from suffering. This is the peak of kindness.

I felt very fortunate to know my Spiritual Guide and be in his care.

I returned to my thought of reliance, qualified by my gratefulness, for the rest of the meditation.


May all living beings be found by their Spiritual Guide and under their kind guidance, attain true inner peace for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember Geshe-la in my heart, and rely on him completely.

Modern Buddhism

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