≡ Menu

Buddhist practices and religious beliefs

In Tibetan Buddhism people make plaster casts of Buddha images as a purification ritual. The Tsa-Tsa above is a cast of a Buddha head I did myself. As you can perhaps see the eyes, mouth and ears are painted in digitally. As I write this the tsa-tsa is not yet finished. The finished product will [...]

Bodhicitta meditation for skeptics

I'm a Mahayana Buddhist in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This tradition has many features that baffle my scientifically trained mind. Unfortunately, some are at the heart of the tradition. Navigating my skepticism is part of the challenge of being a modern Buddhist. However, I'm not quite as much a skeptic as the Bachelor's. I do [...]

Buddhism is best known in the West for being a philosophy, perhaps a philosophy of life. However, it's also - and perhaps primarily - a religion. And like all religions Buddhism has it's sensitivities. There are certain things you just don't do, and certain things that are taken for granted. This is true in any [...]

If you come to Tibetan Buddhism after having read one of the easily accessible books by the Dalai Lama you may be in for a shock: there are a LOT of rituals involved in Tibetan Buddhism. For Westerners the first responses will be alienation and curiosity. To help you deal, here are some common practices. [...]

For Westerners Guru yoga is difficult. It's so difficult for us that the Dalai Lama teaches Guru Yoga at the end of the Lam Rim, even though it's right at the beginning in every Lam Rim text.Basically guru yoga can be translated as guru devotion. That is: devotion to your spiritual teacher.On the most fundamental [...]

Taking refuge: vows, commitments, belief and faith

Since I took refuge, I find myself explaining what that means to me to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Because, after all, I did not suddenly become less of a skeptic. There are aspects of the Buddhism I'm being taught that I don't relate to much at all. The main example is, always, the enormous amounts of [...]

Universal Buddhist Refuge Prayer

In the Gelugpa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism of the FPMT one is expected to take refuge in the three jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) twice daily (three times each), especially if one has already taken refuge formally. For me, as a former theosophist, anything sectarian is a problem. On the other hand, I did pick Buddhism as [...]