Broken Commitments: Breaking Buddhist Vows or Promises Carries Heavy Karma, But What Do We Do About It?
What the Teachers Say About Doggie Dharma: Did Buddha Teach That Dogs and Cats Have Buddha Nature? Science: Research Proves Vajrayana Meditation Techniques Involving Deity Visualization Improve Cognitive Performance and May Be Promising For Degenerative Brain DisordersScience, and in particular the medical profession, has long accepted the positive benefits of all forms or meditation. Drumming for mindfulness and healing: a simple way to calm the mind, remove stress and heal. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche discusses decades of teaching, advice for beginner students and funny stories of his teachers.PART 1 OF A 3-PART FEATURE INTERVIEW WITH VENERABLE ZASEP TULKU RINPOCHE.
I’ll admit to having broken commitments out of a lack of mindfulness, a tendency to laziness or just sheer exhaustion. Tara in the Palm of Your Hand, a book by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche is a commentary on one of the most popular deity practices. Simple, wonderful, precious advice, but I thought I’d compile some wise words from various teachers on this subject, more words from my teacher Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, and sage advice from the Dalai Lama, and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
It’s difficult to resist empowerments, especially if they really move you spiritually.
To one student who wrote that he felt he could not keep his commitments because it involved too much reciting, Lama Zopa replied, “even if you don’t understand the subjects, Dharma texts, and prayers, it is still extremely worthwhile to read or recite them because it leaves positive imprints. Daily commitments are for all practitioners who have taken empowerments, commitments or a teachers, both monks and lay people.
I had no idea that more whales have been killed in my lifetime than were killed in all the decades during which ‘Moby Dick’-style whaling wreaked its havoc. Whales and men were both fodder for world wars, not least because whale oil was used in the manufacture of nitro-glycerine. Efforts to limit and ban whale slaughter have been episodic, and each success has been a struggle. Traditionally, she shows, small-scale community hunting of whales and other cetaceans was carried out with the greatest respect. Journalists have been asking politicians whether Japanese people will be angered by the decision to stop the killing.
This is a great moment to applaud Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace for all they have done to prevent whale slaughter and to keep the issue in public sight. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Inevitably, arthritis pains subsides in my case, and I’ve avoided most of the colds and flus that go around my business meetings— knock on wood. Many studies across decades of research have proven meditation is simply good for the body—and your health.
But, if that annual doctor’s visit brings dreaded news, a diagnosis of a serious disease or condition, your doctor will probably refer to a specialist.


Studies show drum meditation supports treatments of cancer, Parkinsons and depression.Psychology and science have identified both drumming and mindfulness meditation as helpful therapy for everything from stress to memory loss to supportive cancer care. The spiritual head of many temples and meditation centres in Canada, United States, and Australia, the eminent guru will make his semi-annual teaching round in Toronto, Canada in April 2016. Any vow or promise should be taken seriously, but it carries an even more rigorous standard in Buddhist practice. It trains some of us (speaking for myself, anyway) to overlook those small, relatively harmless issues. I’ll do a mini-one day retreat this Sunday to make up for my week of missed practice sessions. I was particularly interested in his answer to students on how to recharge practice when faced with laziness, fatigue or even pain—all of them, more or less my obstacles. When you read mindfully, sooner or later you will be able to understand the meaning, not only intellectually. His straight-forward answer was that he still had to do them but “If you have many sadhanas, the general advice is you make your main meditation whichever is your main deity. I have been reading Philip Hoare’s book The Whale, and the story it tells is so utterly appalling that it is difficult to believe that any fair-minded person could assent to the on-going killing of these great songsters. According to Philip, in 1951 alone ‘more whales were killed worldwide than New Bedford’s whale-ships took in a century and a half of whaling’. Philip writes that ‘the entire population of humpbacks in the South Atlantic were driven to extinction by 1918′. There has been a great deal of ideology in the mix, as my courageous friend Kumi Kato explains.
A whale death was treated like a human death, and a commemorative plaque was hung in the temple. I have had the privilege of hearing Kumi’s recordings, and gratitude for those dedicated and loving women has filled my heart. The answer seemed to be that the majority doesn’t care, and that some will dislike the ruling while others will be glad for it. Not only the killing, but the sonic impacts, and the toxins, and the entanglements, and a thousand other hazards of life in the deep blue sea. A new study from the National University of Singapore, attempts to differentiate the relative benefits of different types of meditation…. And, putting aside Buddhists, why is the meat industry growing when the science says it’s hurting our planet? Together with Medicine Buddha practice, they are important and treasured practices in Buddhism that have been relied on for healing for centuries.
Most of the thousands of people in Tibet, in India and the West who flock to Kalachakra initiations take the initiation as a blessing and to create auspicious conditions for the future. Meditation on Death is particularly important to motivating daily unbroken practice, for example.


I almost fell victim to this thinking early on, attending several very moving empowerments within a 3 year period. But if you are busy working for others and you miss your commitments due to that, there is no need to regret much.
I starting reading after meeting Philip at the recent conference ‘Encountering the Anthropocene’.
The second world war also involved massive whale slaughter, and after the war whale meat and oil were used to feed protein-hungry populations in war-torn countries. Prayer wheels are used to accumulate wisdom and merit (good karma) and to purify negativities (bad karma). Since the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, we have known about the stress-reducing benefits of both mindfulness and drumming. In order to receive a Tantric initiation as a actual empowerment, and not just a blessing, you are required to take Refuge and Bodhisattva vows before the initiation. The most important thing is to meditate on the dharmakaya, then a little on the sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. The invention of harpoon guns armed with a bomb that would explode inside the animal’s head was the great leap forward in slaughter. She contrasts them with commercial whaling, the point being that while there was a tradition of hunting, it was not the same as contemporary slaughter. Kumi considers that whaling traditionally involved ethics and spiritualty, along with a strong sense of reciprocity. The temples still hold memories, the nuns still sing, and today whales in the southern ocean are that bit safer than they have been previously. My kind teacher, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, smiled as they lifted the pup for a blessing after the teachings.
For example, a good friend attended a Vajrakilaya event with His Holiness the Shakya Trizin, and remains confused to this day, as to whether he was empowered or has the commitment. I endure extremely painful arthritis, for example, and sitting during practice is painful, sometimes excruciating. From that time on, with faster ships, more lethal weapons, and, as the years went by, more sophisticated tracking devices and gigantic factory ships, the whales never stood a chance. He sat with a crowd, listened to the practice initiation—mostly in Tibetan—but there was no talk of commitments, no Sadhana was given out for practice, and it felt more like a blessing.
Am I excused from practicing on those terrible days when I can’t even think through the pain?



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