[This is part of an ongoing Lamrim series. All related posts can be found here.]
I have been attending teachings from Khenpo Choejor Gyamtso on Jetsun Taranatha’s ‘Essence of Ambrosia‘ – the principle lamrim text of the Jonang lineage. I have decided to begin a new series of posts dedicated to this topic. I feel this will aid me in reviewing the teachings as well as perhaps benefiting others by sharing some of my reflections here.
I tend toward the view that lineage is important. While I consider myself a non-sectarian, and by this I mean that I will not disparage any of the authentic schools of Buddhadharma (Theravada, Zen, Mahayana/Vajrayana, Pure Land, Tendai, Shingon and others), or even other traditions for that matter (as long as they do not cause harm to others or breed things like hatred, etc), I have found that in my own practice and ongoing relationship with the Dharma, I have been extremely blessed by the lineage I consider my spiritual home – the Jonang.
And now we arrive at the conclusion of this ‘intro series’. Reflecting on the 10 year journey towards the Dharma – beginning with a dream that led to establishing contact with two unique lineages (Jonang and Gelug), several excellent teachers and receiving two Vajrayana empowerments which have benefited my practice beyond calculation – my overall response is sheer gratitude and humility. The best way I know to honor my precious teachers is to keep up with my practice and to continue to cultivate a deeper connection to the teachings for the benefit of all beings.
[See preceding posts in this series – parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6, 7 and 8]
In June of 2012 I lost my job. Finding myself unemployed in a job market that is less than favorable took some adjustment. However, there are several positive aspects to this situation. For example, deep down, when I was honest with myself, I really didn’t want to work where I was working anyway. I had an inner-conflict about it. It’s not that the actual job I did was anything particularly nefarious (I supported eCommerce), but I did realize that the aims, motives, practices and so forth of the company I worked for were truly in conflict with the rest of my life. You can say I became acutely aware of the principle of Right Livelihood.
[See preceding posts in this series – parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6 and 7]
The intervening period between 2007 and 2011 found me mostly on my own, attempting to put into practice in my daily life what I had learned up until that point from my teachers. My work schedule again interfered with me actually participating at the dharma centers I previously attended. However, my interest in the Dharma was not diminished. I kept up a rather vigorous study of Buddhism coupled with a not so vigorous – yet regular – dharma practice (e.g. the Vajrasattva sadhana, mindfulness practice, shamatha meditation, loving-kindness meditation). And while the tradition I embraced is Mahayana/Vajrayana in orientation, I also followed the examples of my teachers by studying Theravada as well – suttas (sutras) from the Pali Canon and so forth. I was taught that the Mahayana/Vajrayana tradition is actually rooted in the Theravada tradition and does not contradict these earlier and well respected teachings, but rather, that it is built off of them as a foundation and is inclusive of the venerated ‘Teaching of the Elders.’
I appreciate you bearing with me as I plug away at this ‘Intro Series’. I am almost through and then I can move on to other topics. I thought it might be helpful to get a better picture of where I am coming from by learning about some of my past experiences in relation to Buddhadharma. This was also a way to acknowledge who my teachers are. Since the period covered is about 10 years (2002 through 2012) I broke it up into several parts. There will probably be one or two more posts in this series.
Going forward I will attempt to continue frequent posts to this blog covering various aspects of the Dharma, my practice, reflections on teachings and other related subjects. A special thank you to those who are following Vajra Vehicle as well as to those who have liked some of the posts. I have found some interesting blogs in the process as well. I will be adding a new section on the right to include links to blogs I follow (in addition to the already existing ‘Links of Interest’). Readers of Vajra Vehicle may perhaps also find these other blogs to their liking. I will add more as I find them.