Welcome to Daily Lamrim. Thanks for visiting my blog, and for showing interest in Buddhism and Lamrim. I hope that you enjoy reading my posts and that it will help you in your meditation practice.
Lamrim is a special presentation of Buddha’s teachings in a series of meditations. Like many other Buddhists all over the world, I meditate on Lamrim every day – hence the name of the blog.
My Current Practice
I am focusing on the practice in the meditation break at the moment with ‘That reminds me… ‘ posts.
It is said that in some ways the meditation break is more important than the meditation session. During our meditation break we try to never forget meaningful objects, and we can use our surroundings to skilfully keep Dharma in our mind throughout the day. In this way, we can make our whole life meaningful and turn our everyday experiences into the spiritual path.
These posts include references to the things I see on a day to day basis, and of what Dharma wisdom they remind me.
For my daily meditation practice I have used the meditations described in the book ‘How to Understand the Mind’ by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. These meditations are a wonderful presentation of Kadam Dharma in fourteen beautiful meditations:
- Meditation on the preciousness of our human life
- Meditation on death
- Meditation on the dangers of lower rebirth
- Meditation on going for refuge
- Meditation on karma
- Meditation on renunciation
- Meditation on our determination to recognise, reduce and abandon our self grasping ignorance, the root of samsaric rebirth
- Meditation on our determination to enter and make progress on the path to liberation
- Meditation on the ultimate truth of cessation.
- Meditation on cherishing all living beings
- Meditation on great compassion
- Meditation on the supreme good heart, bodhichitta
- Meditation on our determination and promise to sincerely practice the six perfections
- Meditation on training in yogic direct perceivers
The blog began back in May 2011 as a way of me keeping track of my meditations, and recording my experiences. Before starting the blog, I had been meditating for about 15 years, and towards the end of that time I was meditating every day. There was a time when it seemed to me that simply meditating two days in a row was a real achievement! I remember the first time I managed to do all the meditations in a row, and complete my first consecutive cycle of Lamrim meditations – it seemed like I had climbed Everest! It was a year before I managed it again! Over time, it became more and more manageable to meditate every day until it is unthinkable to miss a meditation.
For the first six months of the blog I meditated on each of the Lamrim objects in turn. I used the presentation given in the book ‘The New Meditation Handbook’ which gives the Lamrim in a set of 21 meditations.
Following that first period of Lamrim cycles, I meditated on each of the objects within the context of another. This was a practice taught by Kadampa Ryan, as a way of understanding how each of the Lamrim meditations supports all the others – there are no contradictions.
In practice the method worked like this. Normally we meditate on meditation 1 on day 1, meditation 2 on day 2 and so on. For this practice, on the first day we meditate (as before) on meditation 1. But on the second day we meditate on meditation 2 IN THE CONTEXT of meditation 1. For example, instead of meditating on ‘death and impermanence’ separately from ‘precious human life’, one meditates on ‘death and impermanence’ in the light of ‘precious human life’, and so forth. On the third day we meditate on meditation 3 in the light of meditation 1. We end the first cycle by meditating on meditation 21 in the light of meditation 1. We then start the next cycle until we meditate on meditation 21 in light of meditation 2, and so forth. As there are 21 meditations, the complete cycle took 441 sessions, and was completed in January 2013.
Following this, I changed my practice to focusing on one Lamrim object for seven days in a row. This felt like six months of mini retreats. It was very enjoyable, and coincided with a very special time in my life. This period was completed in June 2013.
Then I spent a couple of weeks meditating on various aspects of the diagram of the Wheel of Life, before starting again to meditate on one object per day.
As mentioned earlier, I am not meditating on the Lamrim presentation which can be found in ‘How to Understand the Mind’ by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
This demonstrates another good quality of Lamrim – that it is possible to keep it fresh and interesting by varying our approach to the meditations – truly a practice for a lifetime!
Who am I?
I am a 48 year old lay Kadampa Buddhist living in the UK. I have a full time job, a wife and three children. Through this blog I want to demonstrate how a modern western person with all the commitments of a normal layperson can maintain a qualified and fulfilling daily meditation practice.
The posts in this blog are notes on my meditations, which I write just after I have finished – straight off the cushion!
In The New Meditation Handbook, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says:
The purpose of… contemplation, or analytical meditation, is to bring to mind the object of placement meditation. We do this by considering various lines of reasoning, contemplating analogies, and reflecting on the meaning of the instructions [to the meditation]. It is helpful to memorise the contemplations given in each section so that we can meditate without having to look at the text. The contemplations given here are intended only as guidelines. We should supplement and enrich them with whatever reasons and examples we find helpful.
The last two sentences are of particular interest to me, as they give me permission to apply my own imagination and experiences to the task of bringing my meditation objects to life. While always trying to arrive at the correct object, I am constantly surprised at what images and ideas come to me in meditation, and how they can have a profound positive effect on my daily life.
I want to share these experiences with you, and hear of your experiences.
I adopted my pseudonym as I believe I will encounter fewer obstructions by remaining anonymous. Even my spiritual friends in my local Dharma centre have no idea I write this blog.
Please be aware that these posts are simply a record of my personal experiences in meditation. Although I try my best, I am only human and I can’t guarantee that my blog will be absolutely correct in terms of the contemplations or the final object of meditation. I try not to, but sometimes I go off on tangents, and sometimes I just get it plain wrong! However, I try sincerely to do my best to practice the Lamrim as presented by my precious teacher Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. As a first resource, please always refer to authentic texts such as those found here.
This blog is not a teaching platform. If this blog stimulates a desire to receive teachings, please visit your local Dharma Centre (you can search for Kadampa Buddhist Centres here) and speak to the resident teacher, who will offer you the best advice on how to proceed.
This blog is not authorised, approved or otherwise endorsed by the New Kadampa Tradition, and any statements made in this blog are not to be taken as any opinion, position or policy of the NKT.
Copyright of Images
I post every day, and gather appropriate images from across the internet. If you feel I have infringed your copyright, or if you do not wish an image to be used on this blog, please comment on the appropriate entry, and I will address the matter immediately.