Our Weekly Meetings
Dharma Study and Question/Answer Session
At each center in Texas, we have the same general meeting format. Normally people arrive a little before the scheduled meeting time to get some tea and coffee and catch up a bit with the Sangha about everything that happened during the week before.
Then we begin the meeting with studying a certain Diamond Way Teaching from the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. We either watch a video lecture or read articles and books by various Kagyu Lamas so that we get the necessary information to be able to practice the Mahamudra View in daily life as well as in meditation. As non-dogmatic information, along with meditation and holding the level of realization reached, is one of the three main pillars of the Buddha's teaching, it is important that we have an idea about the basis, way, and ultimate goal of what we are doing in our spiritual path. Otherwise, we may just be "climbing up trees with no fruit" as Lama Ole says.
The study session before meditation also serves as a way to calm our minds from the ups and downs of the day so that we can focus more clearly in the meditation that follows. Also during the study session, we normally discuss the teaching that was presented and try to answer any questions that arise.
A Message to New People--At each meeting, we are always happy to give an introduction to our group and methods, and answer any questions. No prior knowledge of Buddhism is needed and everyone is welcome to attend.Meditation
Then follows the actual practice the we do as a group, The Guru Yoga Meditation on the 16th Karmapa (or more commonly know in our centers as "The Karmapa Meditation"). It is a guided Tibetan Buddhist Meditation, translated into English by Hannah and Lama Ole. The 16th Karmapa himself gave them this practice during their years of meditation and study with him from 1969-81. In this meditation we build up the enlightened form and qualities of the Karmapa in front of us, not as an outer god or entity but rather as the enlightened expression of our own mind that we are presently unaware of. Through the use of the mantra, Karmapa Chenno, we unite inner and outer perfection and then we disolve this enlightened form into light and mix completely with it such that we can realize the enlightenment already inherent within our own minds. All form disappears and we rest in the true nature of mind without hinderance or limitation. At the end of the meditation, we let a world arise once again, but now we see it as a pure land and all beings and ourselves as Buddhas. Our entire perception of the outer and inner world has been transformed from that of suffering and pain into self-liberating joy. We finish with the strong wish that all the good which just appeared may stream out to all beings everywhere, remove all of their suffering, and bring them the only lasting joy, that of knowing their minds."
After the meditation, we normally hang out for a while, have a few more cups of tea and coffee at the center or go out to eat at one of the local restaurants.Ngondro Practice
Aside from our weekly meditations as a group and the very busy daily schedules with jobs and family, most of the Sangha members are also working individually on the Ngondro Practices. We get together informally from time to time to practice the Ngondro at the various centers as a group, and also hold public Ngondro sessions on Saturday mornings at 9:30am at the Texas Retreat Center (before our normal weekly meeting at 11:00am) and in Austin on Thursday nights at 7:30pm.
Once a month, Sangha members from all over the state come together at the Texas Retreat Center for a Weekend Ngondro Retreat. We normally we have one meditation session on Friday night and 3-4 on Saturday and Sunday. In between sessions we are either working on the land, studying, resting, or grabbing a bite to eat.Contact the center closest to you for further details about meeting times and Upcoming Events in the area.