Pilgrimage has been an important part of Buddhist spirituality since very ancient times. Specific spiritual practices are enhanced by being in proximity to the places where great masters have lived and meditated, and the Buddha himself recommended travel to sacred sites as a way...Read More
Mahasiddha Tilopa, 10th Century
Advaya is a Sanskrit word which literally means “not-two” (a=not, dvi=two), and has been translated as “non-dual”, “undivided”, and even “unique”. It is a word used to describe the ultimate nature of the universe and ourselves. There is no “non-dual plane of existence” within the Buddhist tradition, but there is the possibility of directly experiencing non-duality right in this present moment.
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” Shakyamuni Buddha
A connection to the masters of the past is crucial in all schools of Buddhism. It is through this connection that the current of teachings flows, and it is essential that there is a direct link to the masters of the past. Authentic dharma teachers are very open about who their teachers are, and will express a reverence for both their personal teachers and the lineage masters of the past. Because without a lineage the teachings of the dharma would not be available to current students.
Anam Thubten grew up in Tibet and at an early age began to practice in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Among his many teachers, his most formative guides were Lama Tsurlo, Khenpo Chopel, and Lama Garwang. He is the founder and spiritual advisor of Dharmata Foundation, teaching widely in the U.S. and occasionally abroad. He is also the author of various articles and books in both the Tibetan and English language. His books in English include The Magic of Awareness and No Self, No Problem. To view Anam Thubten’s teaching and retreat schedule, please visit www.dharmata.org. Through the essential wisdom of Buddhism and his personal experience on the spiritual path, Anam Thubten brings alive the timeless teachings and invites everyone to participate.
Nicholas Egan, is a Dharma teacher in the Nyingma tradition, and has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies. A student of Anam Thubten Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, he is known for his clear and accessible teaching style and is the founder of the Advaya Institute. He has been leading pilgrimages to Asia since 2005, and has lead groups to Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Mongolia, China, and Thailand.
There are several different “schools” or traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, all of which are legitimate expressions of the Buddhist lineage. Our tradition, the Nyingma (practitioners are called Nyingmapa), or Ancient Ones, comes from the original transmission of the dharma to Tibet from India. While the Nyingma has produced many stunning scholars in both modern and ancient times, the main focus of the lineage is on practice and application in daily life. The Nyingma tradition, arguably, has the most robust practice of ordaining advanced practitioners as teachers who are also householders (or non-monks/nuns). Because of this it contains a treasure trove of teachings and practices designed to be implemented right in the heart of daily life.
Buddha Shakyamuni (Tibetan: སངས་རྒྱས་ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ་, Wylie: sangs rgyas shakya thub pa, 6th Century B.C.E.), is the historical buddha of this eon. He was an Indian prince named Siddhartha before leaving the palace in order to follow the spiritual path and eventually attain enlightenment or buddhahood. He is the original source of every Buddhist tradition, from Theravada in Southeast Asia, to the Pure Land and Zen schools, as well as the entire Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
Nagarjuna, (Tibetan: ཀླུ་སྒྲུབ་, Wylie: klu sgrub) One of the greatest scholars and yogis of India. He is credited as the discoverer of the Prajnaparamita, or Perfection of Wisdom, Sutras. Considered to be the clearest elucidation of emptiness and interdependence in the sutric tradition. In the tantric view of the Nyingma school he is also identified as one of the eight vidyadharas or “Knowledge Holders” and several tantric practice texts are attributed to him.
Asanga, (Tibetan: ཐོགས་མེད་, Wylie: thogs med, 4th centure C.E.) Is renowned as the one who received the “Five Treatises” directly from the future buddha Maitreya. After undertaking a lengthy meditation retreat his mind was purified enough to perceive the future buddha as the body of a dying dog on the side of a trail. After treating this dog with great compassion, it miraculously transformed into the shining body of Maitreya and gave Asanga very clear teachings on Buddha Nature.
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Padmasambhava (Tibetan པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས་, Pemajungné; Wylie padma ‘byung gnas, in Sanskrit transliteration པདྨ་སམྦྷ་ཝ་) . Invited to Tibet by the dharma king Trisong Detsen in order to help subjugate the local spiritual forces, Padmasambhava is the quintessential vajra-master. Because he was the very foundation of spreading the teachings to Tibet, he is often known as Guru Rinpoche, or the Precious Teacher. He is identified by many in the Tibetan tradition, and especially in the Nyingma school, as the “Second Buddha” (སངས་རྒྱས་གཉིས་པ་,sangyé nyipa). His teachings primarily focus on the Vajrayana or tantric vehicle of Buddhism; his “treasures” or terma teachings are still being rediscovered in modern times and are known for their incredible spiritual potency.
*Image courtesy of www.rigpawiki.org