What You Will Learn in Each Lesson
In this first lesson, we’ll review the foundation of the vajrayana path: the teachings of the hinayana and the mahayana. We’ll study the four noble truths and the concepts of shila (discipline), samadhi (meditation), and prajna (knowledge) as they apply to the hinayana and the mahayana. It cannot be emphasized enough: these two vehicles are the training ground for the vajrayana practitioner to return to again and again throughout the journey, the same way one always returns to the root when combing one’s hair.
Indestructible Goodness and Wakefulness
To enter the vajrayana path, we need to drop all pretenses. This is the path of the siddha—the householder yogi. When we leave behind our baggage and our sense of needing to be something special, we can connect to the quality of goodness that is innate. It disrupts our cozy, small-minded way of being, so we can see reality as a dazzling display of wisdom and compassion. It might sound romantic, but once you enter this world, there is no way out.
The Facets of the Diamond Path
“Vajra” has many meanings: indestructible or adamantine; a mythical weapon that always accomplishes what it sets out to do; a ritual implement; space that cannot be conceptualized. What does it mean, then, for this path of practice? In this lesson, we’ll study the many facets of the diamond path—from the central role of mantra to why it’s kept secret and how and much more.
A Spiritual Love Affair
If you have a love of something, learning is easy. When your heart is touched, a more profound opening of the mind can take place. In this lesson, we’ll explore the role of devotion in the student-teacher relationship. We’ll also learn about the three kayas: dharmakaya, samboghakaya, and nirmanakaya—and how transmission manifests in each.
The Mandala of Self-Born Wisdom
The mandala is a complete world, and within it we each have different contributions to make and energies to work with. When we inhabit reality with an understanding of mandala principle, we connect with the elements and directions in a way that evokes sacredness. In this lesson, we’ll discuss the many aspects of mandalas, including the five Buddha families.
Practices of Awakening
The awakened quality we see in the enlightened masters is no different from the quality we ourselves possess. Vajrayana practice is a means for connecting with that quality and resting with a fresh mind. In this lesson, we’ll discuss the progression of practices in the tantric path—from the preliminaries to creation and completion practices and more.
Pathways to Realization
One aspect of realization is manifesting utmost devotion and compassion, while another is resting in completely open, pure space. In this lesson, we’ll explore the tantras of mahamudra and dzogchen, which make up two-thirds of the nine-yana path.