The second volume in the Dalai Lama’s definitive and comprehensive series on the stages of the Buddhist path, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion.
Volume 1, Approaching the Buddhist Path, contains introductory material that sets the context for Buddhist practice. This second volume, The Foundation of Buddhist Practice, describes the important teachings that will help us establish a flourishing Dharma practice. Traditional presentations of the path in Tibetan Buddhism assume the audience already has faith in the Buddha and believes in rebirth and karma, but the Dalai Lama realized early on that a different approach was needed for his Western and contemporary Asian students. Starting with the four seals and the two truths, His Holiness illuminates key Buddhist ideas, such as dependent arising , emptiness, and karma, to support the reader in engaging with this rich tradition. This second volume in the new Library of Wisdom and Compassion series provides a wealth of reflections on the relationship between a spiritual mentor and student, how to begin a meditation practice, and the relationship between the body and mind, among other fascinating topics.
Preface by Bhikṣuṇī Thubten Chodron xiii Abbreviations xxi INTRODUCTION BY HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA 3 1. THE BUDDHIST APPROACH 7 Four Seals 7 Two Truths 13 2. GAINING NONDECEPTIVE KNOWLEDGE 17 Three Kind of Objects and Their Cognizers 17 Seven Types of Awareness 21 Reliable Cognizers and Unreliable Awareness 22 Direct Reliable Cognizers 27 Inferential Reliable Cognizers 27 Reliable Cognizers Based on an Example 32 Reliable Cognizers Based on Authoritative Testimony 33 Applying the Threefold Analysis 39 Reflections on Scriptural Inference 40 The Prāsaṅgikas' Unique View of Reliable Cognizers 42 Knowing When We Have a Correct Reason and a Reliable Cognizer 44 Inferential Reliable Cognizers and Meditation 45 3. THE BASIS OF THE SELF: THE BODY AND MIND 51 Classifications of Phenomena 51 Five Aggregates 55 Twelve Sources and Eighteen Constituents 57 Consciousness: Mind and Mental Factors 59 Five Omnipresent Mental Factors 61 Five Object-Ascertaining Mental Factors 62 Eleven Virtuous Mental Factors 64 Six Root Afflictions 65 Twenty Auxiliary Afflictions 67 Four Variable Mental Factors 67 Conceptual and Nonconceptual Consciousnesses 69 4. CHOOSING SPIRITUAL MENTORS AND BECOMING A QUALIFIED DISCIPLE 77 Importance of Relying on Spiritual Mentors 77 Spiritual Mentors 79 Three Types of Practice, Three Types of Spiritual Mentors 83 Investigate a Person's Qualities 86 Qualities of a Spiritual Mentor 87 Seek Internal Qualities, Not Titles or External Appearance 91 Becoming a Qualified Disciple 95 5. RELYING ON SPIRITUAL MENTORS 101 The Benefits of Relying on Spiritual Mentors 102 Cultivate Trust by Seeing Their Qualities 103 Cultivate Appreciation and Respect by Seeing Their Kindness 106 Seeing Spiritual Mentors as Buddhas 108 The Role of Devotion 111 Relying on Spiritual Mentors in Our Actions 112 Behavior toward Spiritual Mentors 114 Preventing Difficulties 118 Unusual Behavior 120 Resolving Problems 124 When Our Spiritual Mentors Pass Away 127 Advice to Spiritual Mentors and Disciples 127 6. HOW TO STRUCTURE A MEDITATION SESSION 131 Type of Meditation 131 Meditation on the Lamrim 134 The Six Preparatory Practices 136 The Actual Session and Dedication at the Conclusion 148 Interrelationship of the Lamrim Topics 151 Breaks between Meditation Sessions 152 Making Requests, Receiving Blessings, and Gaining Realizations 157 7. MIND, BODY, AND REBIRTH 161 Sentience, Mind, and Brain 161 The Nature of Mind 167 Rebirth: Past and Future Lives 169 The Buddha Responds to Questions about Rebirth 175 8. THE ESSENCE OF A MEANINGFUL LIFE 183 Precious Human Life 184 Rare and Difficult to Attain 187 Taking the Essence of Our Precious Human Life 190 Eight Worldly Concerns 191 Disadvantages of the Eight Worldly Concerns 197 9. LOOKING BEYOND THIS LIFE 205 Gross and Subtle Impermanence 206 Learning from Our Own Mortality 207 Other Life Forms 213 Fear or Hope at Death? 217 The Death Process 219 Helping Ourselves and Others at the Time of Death 221 Powa, Transference of Consciousness 226 10. KARMA AND ITS EFFECTS 231 The Law of Karma and Its Effects 232 General Characteristics of Karma 235 Specific Characteristics of Karma 238 Constructive Actions 250 The Weight of Karma 254 Discerning Virtuous from Nonvirtuous Actions 258 Karma and Current Ethical Issues 259 11. RESULTS OF KARMA 269 Three Results of Karma 270 The Ripening of Karmic Seeds 277 Definite and Indefinite Karma 282 When Karma Ripens 285 How Karma Functions 288 The Benefits of Contemplating Karma and Its Effects 288 12. THE WORKINGS OF KARMA 291 Projecting and Completing Karma 291 Collective and Individual Karma 292 Naturally Nonvirtuous Actions and Proscribed Actions 293 Intention Karma, Intended Karma, and M