In this episode, I’m speaking with Venerable Thubten Chodron. Ven. Chodron ordained as a Buddhist nun 40 years ago and since then has been studying, practicing, and teaching Tibetan Buddhism.
Seeing the importance and necessity of a monastery for Westerners training in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, she founded and is the abbess of Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community in Washington state.
She has also published many books on Buddhist philosophy and meditation in multiple languages and has co-authored a book with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In this conversation, we talk about Venerable Chodron’s journey, her teaching method, her view on when one is ready to teach the dharma, qualities to look for in a teacher, the practical application of rebirth, similarities among Buddhist traditions, her view on tantric practice, and more.
00:00 – Episode Introduction
01:20 – Ven. Chodron’s journey prior to becoming a Buddhist Nun
17:10 – Life Purpose
17:42 – Rebirth: ways to relate and practice this concept
26:48 – Finding a tradition/method, teacher, and community to practice with
41:26 – Starting to teach the dharma: common pitfalls and advice
50:14 – Vision and story behind Sravasti Abbey (Tibetan Buddhist monastery in WA state)
56:15 – How a day looks like in the monastery
1:00:00 – Ven.Chodron’s method of teaching
01:03:40 – Commonalities and differences among Buddhist traditions
01:06:33 – Unique elements of Tibetan Buddhism
01:08:38 – The role of Tantric practice
01:14:06 – Awakening in this lifetime?
01:15:37 – Advice to lay practitioners
To learn and practice with Ven. Thubten Chodron, check her content, and live events on her websites:
- Book mentioned in the episode: https://thubtenchodron.org/books/buddhism-one-teacher-many-traditions/
To support your practice, we have also created the following resources:
- Video Course Library: https://www.inner-craft.com/video-courses/
- Live Events (Workshops, Q&As, Peer Meetups, etc.): https://www.inner-craft.com/live-training/
- Guided Meditation Library: https://www.inner-craft.com/guided-meditation/
- Podcast: https://www.inner-craft.com/podcast/
- Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1632152067129586
Music by DJ Taz Rashid:
Speaker 1 00:01:37 Now without further ado, venerable two 10 children, hello, vulnerable children. Welcome to the aircraft podcast. Thank you so much for being here. Thank
Speaker 2 00:01:51 You.
Speaker 1 00:01:54 I already shared with the listeners a little bit about your background, but we would love to know more about your journey prior to becoming a nun and becoming a Buddhist. I’m wondering what, what motivated you to do such a thing, especially in those times, I think you were pretty young in your early twenties, if I’m not, not mistaken. So I’m wondering yeah. Why, why you did that.
Speaker 2 00:02:21
Speaker 2 00:03:31 That’s not how you go about it. And, uh, you know, I didn’t really resonate so much with the idea of a creator. God and I explored Christianity a a bit, but didn’t resonate with that either. So I, but I had these questions about the meaning of my life and is it just to duplicate my parents’ life? You know, you go to school, you get married, you have kids, uh, then they grow up and they have kids and you have your career and you advance in your career and then you retire and then you die. And is that there is to life. And is that how I wanted to spend my life? Uh, I wasn’t, it didn’t seem real appealing to me.
Speaker 2 00:04:36 So this kind of questioning, uh, continued when I went to college and the exploration, you know, but I think by the time I went to college, I didn’t believe in God anymore. That just, it had never re you know, it got to a point where I, I just couldn’t, uh, accept, accept that. So, uh, during college, I pretty much did what most of the kids did in the sixties and seventies. Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:05:58 Um, but I got a job in a, uh, an innovative school right after I graduated and I worked there for a year. And so, uh, education really seemed to me to, to be quite important in terms of making a positive contribution. But after, uh, a, a year of, of working, I quit and went to, uh, Europe and traveled around Western Europe, Eastern Europe, which in those days was, you know, not so many people did cuz the iron curtain was still there. Um, and then we went across Africa, north Africa and uh, wound up going to Israel and then from Israel, went to Turkey and then went Overland in India to India. So this was in 1972. Yeah. And we went Overland to India and uh, 72, maybe it was 73. Anyway, mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:07:45 Interesting coincidence. Anyway, when we ran out of money, then went back to the us and I uh, went back to graduate school in education mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:09:06 We say. And I was, that was really important to me cuz I was so tired by that time of people telling me what the truth was that I just didn’t want anybody forcing me to believe something and especially threatening me if I didn’t believe it, that I was going to hell or who knows what. So, uh, so they said, you know, you’re intelligent people, you listen, you put it into practice. If it helps you good. If it doesn’t leave it. Yeah. Think about it. If it makes sense. Good. If it doesn’t make sense, leave it. So I like that approach so much. And then when I started listening to the teachings, I found that what they talked about really helped me to make sense of my life. Okay. And uh, in a way that I, I never expected, I had never, nobody had ever really, uh, for example, uh, explain to me about rebirth and about karma.
Speaker 2 00:10:18 About when I heard about these in that, uh, course, it was like, oh, this makes sense. You know, why was I born? Who I was and not born as somebody else. Yeah. And so, uh, that approach really made sense to me. And also when I followed the meditations, like the meditations to counteract anger and jealousy and, and you know, greed and so on, uh, I found that when I contemplated them, they really helped me and they worked. So by the end, when I came back from that course, uh, I wanted to go to they where they had a monastery in Nepal. Uh, because in those days there weren’t very many Buddhist centers in, you know, in the west. So I packed my bags again, that autumn and I went to, uh, Coon in at some monastery outside of Kaman.
Speaker 2 00:11:29 And uh, you know, it is quite interesting because I, I knew very early that I wanted to Orain. Yeah. And what’s strange about it is if I was, um, how old was I? I was 25 when I met the Dharma. If somebody had told me even like a year or two earlier that I would be celibate and I would be a nun. I would’ve told them they were out of their mind. I would never do that. Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:12:40 It was because it made sense. And because when I practiced it, it helped me, um, become a better person mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:13:59 And I think one of the, the, uh, parts of Buddhism that really spoke very strongly was the idea of Bodhi Cheeta of the aspiration to become a Buddha for the benefit of, of all living beings and the way to cultivate the love and compassion that led up to that. Because as a kid, I always heard love th neighbor as th myself, you know, mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:15:01 Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:15:53
Speaker 2 00:15:55 Yeah. They weren’t very happy. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:15:57
Speaker 1 00:16:57 So it’s, it’s very interesting. And I guess something that I can, uh, also see that both our journeys have in common is the question of what’s the purpose of my life and always, and not taking it loosely. Right. Uh, always question it and sort of try to shape your activities and your relationships to around that question and not just do stuff for the sake of doing stuff. Um, yeah. Which is very interesting. I’m wondering, uh, at many points you were asking that question and you realized that what you were doing, wasn’t the purpose, right? Like let’s say climbing up, uh, the corporate ladder or following your parents’ path or whatever it, that wasn’t the purpose of your life. So what would you say today is the purpose of your life?
Speaker 2 00:17:48 Oh, um, develop Bodi. CHTA realize emptiness progress on the path to Buddhahood Uhhuh and on and on the way, uh, benefit as many people as I can, however I can.
Speaker 1 00:18:03 Right.
Speaker 2 00:18:03 Yeah. You know, mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:18:10 Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. This is sort of a very specific question, but I think this is something I have still traveled to not believe, but completely given to it’s the idea of rebirth, maybe it’s because I’m still in a early stage of my journey, but mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:19:02 Okay. Well, I can’t remember my previous lives. Okay. Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:20:40 I experienced an hour ago. It’s not here. Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:21:52 And then, you know, you have to just keep it with something else that searching for whatever else you think is gonna give you pleasure. And in terms of the, you know, helping society, none of that really made sense to me. Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:23:17 And then especially when I met, uh, Buddhism, it’s like, why was Buddhism attractive to me? Yeah. I was raised another religion. Most people stick with the religion they were raised with how come that never resonated with me, but Buddhism did. Hmm. What’s going on? You know, mm-hmm,
Speaker 2 00:24:33 And so then in this life, when we meet certain circumstances, then that imprint ripens. And, oh, we, we meet a teacher, we read a book, whatever it is, and, and we’re interested and we wanna learn more. And then, you know, we become Buddhist. Uh, you know, there’s nothing in my present life that would account for that happening to me. Yeah. I don’t know about you, but, but for me, I mean, cuz my parents, when I, I said I was becoming a Buddhist and I wanna become a Nu, it was like, huh, why would you wanna do that? Yeah. And my mother was very clear in my genealogy. There are no Buddhist, not a one. Okay. So genealogically, you know, the nature part of it, Uhuh, it’s not because of heredity, family, background, chromosomes, brain, anything like that. Cuz there’s none of that in my background then nurture. So that’s the nature part then the nurture part. Well, you know, I grew up in America. I didn’t know any Buddhist.
Speaker 2 00:25:55 Yeah. I was not exposed to it. I was taught many other different things. So that the nature, the nurture part, none of it was leading me to Buddhism. It was all leading me towards another kind of life, but I turned to Buddhism. So why, yeah. It’s not nature. It’s not nurture. Yeah. What do you explain it previous? It must be something in previous lives and that goes for all of us. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:26:47
Speaker 2 00:26:47 Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:26:49 Thanks. Yeah. That’s that’s very interesting. It’s especially, well, I mean, I can talk more about, I guess, the consistent conditions from actions in this life. Uh, this that’s very clear to me and Buddism, and in general, I guess the spiritual path seems to be great at pointing those, those things out. Um, yeah. Thanks. Thanks for sharing that. Moving on. Um, I would like to talk a little bit about your teachers and I guess I I’m curious on how you found your teachers and also maybe advice you would give to practitioners who may want to find a teacher or maybe who don’t know if they need a teacher or not. Yeah. Who would love to hear your thoughts about that?
Speaker 2 00:27:41 Yeah. Okay. Well, first of all, I think having a teacher is very important. I mean, if we need a teacher to learn how to drive and to learn how to type, we certainly need a teacher to deal with our mind, which is a much more complicated thing than driving and typing
Speaker 2 00:28:51 I can drink a cup of coffee. I can put my feet up on the table. Uh, when the teaching is boring, I can get up and walk and, and get a snack. You know, if I’m at a D center or if I go to the Mo a monastery, I can’t act like that. So it’s just nicer at home. Yeah. Uh, and I don’t think they really get the benefit from the Dharma because there’s something very special that happens when you’re with a living person in real time and with a community, uh, you know, other people there who are also learning and questioning in the same way you are. Okay. Uh, now in, in terms of me how I met my teachers, first of all, when I met the Dharma, when I saw this flyer about a meditation course, I knew nothing. I didn’t know that Buddhism and Hinduism what the difference was between them. I didn’t know the types of Buddhism or the types of Tibetan, Buddhism. I didn’t know anything. Okay.
Speaker 2 00:30:07 Um, but what I did know after this first course, which lasted three weeks, was that what these people said made sense. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:31:26 Yeah. I, I had no, no, uh, you know, it wasn’t that I was just that I was just, I wasn’t just satisfied. I didn’t wanna even look for anything else because I just knew this helped me. But now it’s like, oh, people go here and they go there and they go here and they go there and then you get together with your friends and you all talk about, you know, this teacher and that teacher and this one’s far out and that one’s far out and this is what the community’s like and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And inside you have your own consumer checklist, you know? Yeah. Okay. Oh, well, this teacher has a sense of humor. That’s a point in there, you know? Uh, but they’re Dharma center charges a lot and I can’t afford that. That’s a negative thing. Um, you know, and we have our own little checklist of what we like and what we don’t.
Speaker 2 00:32:24 And uh, and, and so you use, use hear something at one teaching, you know, you go to one teacher and you hear one talk and they’re talking about the disadvantages of anger and you get really mad. Like why are they talking about the disadvantages of anger? I think anger is good. And I have a lot problem with anger, but it’s not a problem because it helps me, gives me energy to counteract social and injustice, you know? So, you know, you hear one teaching that you don’t like, or you don’t understand so well as like pooey and you go onto the next one. Okay. Oh, this one, this one is Z gen. They tell me that is the high as teaching. Well, I am a very special spiritual seeker. So I wanna go directly to the highest teaching. Of course other groups say that isn’t the highest teaching, but Islam is very charismatic, you know?
Speaker 2 00:33:32 And so I, I wanna go and because I’m also quite a distinguished, uh, Dartmouth student. Yeah. So I’ll go listen to them for a while. And then they, you hear them about zap Chan and then you say, well, well, that’s nice, but what about Teva? Buddhism? Yeah, when I was at the zoo chin course, I met somebody who was studying with
Speaker 2 00:35:08 Like you’re taking potatoes and celery and carrots and putting it all in one pot. Yeah. And you know, from a, a Buddhist viewpoint, you know, you are free to go wherever you want, study whatever you want. But if you really wanna make practice, you have to, you know, you have to commit and it’s not even that you have to commit. You just like happened to me. You know, it’s like, this is what makes sense. So I’m just going with it. Nobody made me commit. Nobody said, oh, you have to commit. And who’s your teacher and what’s your tradition. It was just like, yeah, I’m, I’m going back. And then my teachers, I studied with them. Then they also, uh, told me to go study with their teachers and with some of their Dharma friends who were also Dharma teachers. So on the basis of these initial teachers, then I, I met some other teachers too that I studied with. And, uh, and I was incredibly fortunate because my teachers were all really, uh, good teachers. They were ethical human beings and they knew the teachings well, and they had practiced them and had personal experience. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:36:41 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:36:42 Yeah. Yeah. So I, I never did the, the window shopping and, uh, te that’s stuff. Oh, that’s I was just lucky.
Speaker 1 00:36:51 That’s great. Yeah. I think that’s, that’s being like you, for sure. Especially, well, I mean, nowadays, as you mentioned, we have so many teachers out there it’s hard also, if you’re a beginner and you don’t really know what you’re filtering with, but yeah. There are some teachers out there that may not be where they think they are, or may not, not know how to teach even that, uh, that well mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:37:53 Yeah. I was very lucky. So I’m not saying that everybody needs to stick with the first teacher. They have mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:38:58 That’s interesting. Yeah. So there’s no need to commit to only one, right?
Speaker 2 00:39:03 No, mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:40:07 You know, because we come from a culture where everybody falls in love with sports stars and movie stars. Yeah. And so then if, you know, and we be in our culture, people become groupies. So then if we come from that culture and we don’t know what kind of qualities a good spiritual mentor should have, then we just look, oh, who’s the best looking, who jokes. Yeah. Who, who has the most students following after them, who is the most charismatic? And we make our own up our own criteria that aren’t that. And none of those are the criteria that the masters say to look for. You know, none of them is a, a teacher whose charismatic, who makes you laugh, who, um, you know, is an entertainer. And by the, and by the side has sex with their students know, you know, we have to use our wisdom right around this kind of thing. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:41:20
Speaker 2 00:41:47 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:41:48 So we’ve been talking about your, your teachers and getting a teacher for a while. I’m wondering, at what point you sort of bridge the path from student to teacher? Uh, I know that you are, well, you started Shasti a while ago. Uh mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:42:21 Okay. Um, well, first of all, I didn’t bridge from student to teacher. Okay. Because the way I think is until you reach full awakening, you are a student, you know, no matter what, how high you are on the path, you’re always a student until your realization is that of a fully awakened being. Okay. So, uh, I think that’s quite important. So for me, I feel like I, uh, I never aspired to be a teacher. And I mean, I was a teacher in lay life, you know,
Speaker 2 00:43:37 Uh, you’re not looking to, uh, subdue your anger and your attachment. You know, you are seeing Buddhism, uh, as a career choice where you can become a teacher and then you have a job and a title, that kind of thing. I’m I do not recommend okay. My own experience with it is, like I said, I, I didn’t have any idea that I would, um, uh, be in that role, my teacher one time, uh, early on they, they had a, a month long course, every, uh, November. And they would always have one of the students be there as an assistant who led meditations and gave some talks and things like that. They were the teachers of the course mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:45:03 Okay. Lama, what do you want me to do?
Speaker 2 00:47:02 They all told me to teach. Okay. I don’t want to, but you know, you, you trust your teachers. So, okay. So for a long time, I spent like, just like, why am I doing this? I don’t understand. And it took me many years to really, um, see how being in the role of a teacher, not being a teacher, being in the role of a teacher, how it ha helped my own Dharma practice and how it made me grow up in some very important ways. And, and it also taught me that I could do something that was beneficial to others. You know, I’m teaching the Buddhist teachings, but that benefits people. So, you know, it’s like, oh, I need to give myself some credit for that. Yeah. And so after that, then I be, I began to feel, uh, more comfortable in that role.
Speaker 1 00:48:14 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:48:15
Speaker 1 00:48:19 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:48:37 Yep.
Speaker 1 00:48:38 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:48:40 Yep.
Speaker 1 00:48:40 But it’s, I mean, I’ve thought about it sometimes. Uh, but then I, I, I also think to think the same thing that you thought that, uh, which is, I mean, the teachers, let’s say my teachers do a much better job and can help others in much better ways than I could. I mean, I’m, I’m, let’s say just starting. So why, why would I, um,
Speaker 2 00:49:07 Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:49:08 But that’s what I was asking myself too. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:50:42 That makes sense. That’s great advice. Thank you. Uh, and then moving on Shasti um, how did you decide to, to found it, um, what was your, your idea at that point?
Speaker 2 00:50:55 Whoa, well, when I ordained there weren’t really any monasteries where Westerners could live. Um, we stayed at Coon, it was a monastery for the young, uh, Sherpa boys. Um, but you know, we had visa problems and all of that. So for many years, I mean, my life was just kind of go from this place to that place. My teacher always directed it and, or my teacher would send me to one Dharma center or another to work. And so I would study with, uh, whichever teacher was there. Uh, so I was, you know, moving around a lot under my teacher’s guidance. Um, I had very little money, you know, I mean, extremely little money, like being in India, not having enough to, uh, get back to the west, uh, show had problems with that. Then we had so many visa problems yeah. In Asia constant visa problems.
Speaker 2 00:52:12 So at, in 19 82, 1 of my teachers started a monastery in France. And so I went there and I really loved living with other monastics like that. Uh, but again, uh, we all got transferred out to go to other places
Speaker 2 00:53:26 And when you float around like that, you can’t really stay in one place and study deeply and, you know, have a consistent practice. So those initial years where I was like traveling a lot, I look back and I think they were very helpful to me, but I also saw many people, uh, disrobe, because it, the, the, you know, you’re just moving around. You don’t have a base and, and you don’t have any money and
Speaker 2 00:54:43 You know, they don’t have a lot of stuff, but they’re happy. How come I, I think I need all this stuff. Okay. So there’s many ways I think where, uh, being, you know, monastic life and monasteries really contribute to society and to, to the benefit of individuals in society. Uh, but I didn’t initially kind of think that I could do it. You know, I thought I had to have permission for my teacher anyway, I didn’t have any money
Speaker 2 00:56:23 And uh, that’s how the AEY was started.
Speaker 1 00:56:27 That’s amazing. Really inspiring.
Speaker 2 00:56:37 Yeah. You can get here very easily.
Speaker 1 00:56:40 So yeah. Well I do. Yeah. I’m pretty close. Uh, I will definitely encount soon. Um, how does a day in the monastery looks like, uh, more or less, you know, roughly.
Speaker 2 00:56:53 Okay. Um, we start with morning meditation at five 30. People get up 4 30, 5, 4 o’clock whenever they want to. But morning meditation starts at five 30. Uh, breakfast is at seven 30. Then we have a short, um, meeting. So the people, uh, whatever projects we’re gonna work on that day, we, we let other people know and also announcements are made. And if things need to be worked out, we figure them out. So that usually goes from like eight 15 to 8 30, 8 45. And then we have what is called offering service, uh, which other people call work, but we call it offering service because it changes your mind when you think I am offering my service to sent in to sentient beings, to the monastics. That’s totally different than our association with work. Okay. So we offer service, uh, until lunchtime, we have lunch at, at uh, 1230.
Speaker 2 00:58:12 We have a short Dharma talk before lunch and of course with breakfast and lunch, we all we do chanting and everything before we eat after lunch, we usually, uh, so lunch is at 1230 and then we have a 15 minute talk till 1245 about, um, then, uh, offering service starts again at two 30. We usually go until four o’clock and then at four o’clock there’s a study period. So from four o’clock to six o’clock, then people can study, uh, six o’clock there’s medicine meal. Some people eat in the evening, some people don’t. And then at seven o’clock evening meditation that goes to about eight, 15. So that’s the basic thing. But, uh, Tuesday and Thursday morning, we also have teachings Friday night. We have teachings, uh, up until recently we were having teachings on Saturday morning. We also have teachings, um, in the late afternoon on Tuesday and then we’ll have weekend courses. So the basic schedule, uh, has a lot of, uh, alternatives mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:59:34 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 00:59:35
Speaker 1 00:59:36 That that’s awesome. That sounds sounds great. Uh, and is it mostly geared towards monastics or can lay practitioners also go for a period of time?
Speaker 2 00:59:47 Hmm. It it’s a monastery where we live is a monastery, but we invite lay practitioners. Yeah. So we have some courses and some retreats and uh, so people just write, they fill out an application and then, you know, we usually accept it and then they can come. Some people wanna come for a visit when we’re not having a course or a retreat, uh, and just take part in community life with us so people can come and do that. So we have, uh, leg guests a lot, you know, until COVID now people are starting to come back. We’re opening again. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 01:00:28
Speaker 2 01:00:55
Speaker 2 01:02:15 Yeah. But in the Suri teachings, they’re very, very similar. Um, so yeah, I’m, I’m fine with that. What is interesting though, is we have a, uh, a very strong, well, not very strong, a strong, uh, affiliation with Chinese Buddhism in the sense that in the Tibetan, uh, tradition, they, for monastics, they have the lineage for fully ordained monks for the monks to become fully ordained, but they only have the lineage for novice nuns. They don’t have the lineage for fully ordained nuns, but we want to become fully ordained because it’s very beneficial for your practice and, and for how you can benefit society. So we go to Taiwan, uh, because they have the lineage in, in Chinese culture and Vietnamese and Korean as well, uh, the lineage to be able to give the full ordination for women. So in terms of the Nia, uh, part of our practice, we rely on the, uh, the Chinese tradition. It’s they follow the DMA Gupta, Nia, whereas the Tibetans follow the mu Shava Nia. So, but our practice tradition is Tibetan. Our vena tradition is Dharma Gupta and, uh, there’s been no difficulty or, or problem with it at all. Yeah. We invite Batton gees to come here and teach. And, uh, also there’s Chinese, uh, nuns and monks who could come
Speaker 1 01:04:08 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 01:04:10 Yeah,
Speaker 1 01:04:11 I don’t know that much about those traditions, but I’m curious about what sort of the main categories of practice of the traditions are also from a practitioner practitioner point of view, how does the path looks like, you know, first you start, for example, writing sarava bud. Usually you start with San and then you do some mm-hmm
Speaker 2 01:04:39 Okay. Well actually, if, if you learned the traditions, well, you see that they all come from the Buddha and that you find many of the SA I mean, almost all of the same teachings, uh, in all these traditions, but how they’re taught or what the emphasis is, can be different. Okay. So, uh, for example, in Tibetan tradition, uh, yeah, we have teachings on and we practice Shama and VAPA, many people don’t know that they think, oh, VI PAA is this Buddhist tradition from Southeast Asia actually Vipasana is not a Buddhist tradition. It’s a, it’s a, uh, a, an approach to, um, it’s insight meditation. It’s the meditation you’ll see the nature of reality. So all the Buddhist traditions have that in one form or another, all of them have teachings on Shama. Yeah. Because these practices are ones that everybody does. Um, there’s teachings on love and compassion in all of the traditions, although the bohi Cheeta is taught in the MAANA traditions.
Speaker 2 01:06:04 Okay. But if you look, you know, the Buddha taught the eight, uh, the, um, three higher trainings of ethical conduct, concentration, and wisdom. These are found in all the Buddhist traditions. Again, sometimes they’re taught in different ways, but the main elements are there. There’s a book that is holiness, the Dai Lama. And I did together. It’s called Buddhism, um, one teacher, many traditions. And it will really help you understand this because, uh, you, you know, when you learn like that, you see that, oh, you start with the four measurables in one tradition, and then in the next tradition is Bo Chita. So that tradition is based on this one. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm, it’s not like they’re their worlds apart. Mm-hmm,
Speaker 1 01:07:05 What would you say are the unique elements of Tibet bud? Then
Speaker 2 01:07:09 I, I would say that, uh, the emphasis on tantra is unique. Uh, they have tantra, the shin, um, Shinto, no, Shong Shong religion, a single, um, tradition in Japan is tantric there’s, uh, centuries ago. There was tantra in China, not so much now, although now people are interested in that. I would say also, um, how the, the Tibetans talk about the development of ODA, you know, how the, the, you know, this is in the Chinese tradition for sure, but it’s explained in a different way. So Tibet, the explanation in the Tibetan tradition, I think is, uh, yeah, quite is very well developed that, um,
Speaker 1 01:09:04 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 01:09:49 I, I wouldn’t, uh, I would say that tantra has a very unique way of developing, um, Shama PAA. So, you know, it’s, it’s a unique way. Yeah. Uh, just like Chan and, and, uh, tin tie and, you know, they all have their unique ways. Um, you know, I could tell you the elements of, of tantra, but I personally think that people need a very good basis for Suri, uh, and should not just jump into tantra right away.
Speaker 1 01:10:39 And why is that?
Speaker 2 01:10:44 And tantra you’re doing you receive well, first of all, you receive many more precepts to keep. Yeah. And so, in terms of keeping precepts, we should go slowly, first you take the five precepts, get your life together, not to kill and steal and sleep around and lie and taking toxicants, which sounds easy, but many people can’t do it, you know? And then, so you take precepts gradually the, the tantric precepts are the most difficult to keep,
Speaker 1 01:11:19 Which are those
Speaker 2 01:11:19 Don’t, which it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. That’s not important. Okay. Uh, yeah. And so, yeah, so you, you build your practice in a gradual very, uh, organic way.
Speaker 1 01:11:38 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 01:11:42 Yeah.
Speaker 1 01:11:45 Okay. So last question of about a topic. I promise, let’s say, okay, you are practicing in a different tradition that doesn’t have a tantric path.
Speaker 2 01:11:56 Oh,
Speaker 1 01:11:56 That’s fine. And your practice, no problem is going well. Right. Is advancing, right.
Speaker 2 01:12:01 That’s fine.
Speaker 1 01:12:02 No need fine. Yeah.
Speaker 2 01:12:06 What I mean, when you say need, what do you mean by need? No, you know, like you need it to become enlightened, but when you’re, you know, gazillion miles away from enlightenment, do you need, what, what people practice on the last step of enlight? You know, if you’re going from here to New York. Yeah. What do you need more the, the ride that, to know how to get from, from Seattle to Spokane, to Missoula, you need to learn I 90. Are you ready to learn the, you know, the bridges in New York yet? Yeah. Or in Chicago? I mean, no, you need to focus on, on where you’re at right now. Yeah. Cuz if you don’t focus where you’re at and you’re learning all the bridges in New York,
Speaker 1 01:13:10 Right.
Speaker 2 01:13:11 Is that gonna help you right now with your anger? Ignorance, anger and attachment?
Speaker 1 01:13:18 Probably not.
Speaker 2 01:13:19
Speaker 1 01:13:20
Speaker 2 01:13:21 No, you might get really puffed up. Oh, I know all the bridges in New York. Yeah. Do you know them? Oh, you don’t poor thing.
Speaker 1 01:13:49 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 01:13:50 I hear you. Or if, yeah, or even now you can study the bridges in New York and the highways in New York, but are you gonna drive them right now? No, you’re here.
Speaker 1 01:14:03 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 01:14:04 Yeah. You’re driving on I 90, you know, mm-hmm
Speaker 1 01:14:18 Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 01:14:20 Okay. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 01:14:22 So on the topic of this lifetime journey, right? Uh, such an amazing, but also complex journey. Um, I’m wondering, I mean, you’re a monastic who have been training for a while and devoting their life to this question, you know, uh, early on you said you still, you still are student. Right. Are there any hopes for lay, lay practitioners
Speaker 2 01:14:56
Speaker 1 01:15:56
Speaker 2 01:15:57 Yeah, but what I’m happy about is that I met the path,
Speaker 1 01:16:01 Right?
Speaker 2 01:16:03 Yeah.
Speaker 1 01:16:03 Mm-hmm
Speaker 2 01:16:16 To lay practitioners, listening to this study, put it into practice, look deeply at the way, your own mind functions and apply the Dharma teachings to that so that you can begin to subdue the ignorance, anger and attachment don’t harm. Others benefit them as much as you can. Yeah. Learn about Bodhi Cheeta and, uh, and do those meditations as well as learn about emptiness and do those meditations and relax. Relax does not mean indulge your sense pleasures. It means enjoy your practice. Mm-hmm
Speaker 1 01:17:36 Thank you so much. Been okay. This has been, uh, a wonderful talk. Thank you so much for your time. Oh,
Speaker 2 01:17:43 Thank you so much. And Jess, so,
Speaker 1 01:17:47 Bye bye.
Speaker 2 01:17:49 Okay. Bye bye.
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