Living in the Path OnlineRealizing the Lamrim, Death-Impermanence: This is Going to Happen to You
Living in the Path is an online program taught exclusively by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the spiritual director of the FPMT. Many of the modules are extracted from Rinpoche’s explanations of the topics of the lamrim – the teachings on the stages of the path to enlightenment according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa (Gelug). Other modules cover specific practices intended to help us purify our negative karma and create the merit necessary to actualize the lamrim topics.
Living in the Path is ideal for anyone who wishes to deepen their personal practice and develop the realizations of the path to enlightenment by relying on Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s heart advice and teachings. However, as Rinpoche’s teachings often assume familiarity with the topics of the lamrim, it is advisable to have done some prior study of the lamrim, such as by having completed some or all of the modules of Discovering Buddhism.
In this module of Living in the Path, Lama Zopa Rinpoche gives a teaching on Pabongkha Rinpoche’s Heart Spoon (or The Most Essential Advice): Encouragement Through Recollecting Impermanence, perhaps one of the most graphic and heart-wrenching poems on death ever written. It offers a strong admonishment to stop postponing our practice of virtue and use our lives well. As Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, without meditation on impermanence and death, we will continue to wait for the perfect conditions, thinking, “Not now, but later I will practice Dharma.”
The language is strong; the images, disturbing. This text is meant to be “taken personally” and taken to heart. As Lama Zopa Rinpoche advises, it is best read thinking, “This is going to happen to me.”
What makes you practice Dharma? What persuades you to practice Dharma? It is meditation on impermanence and death, which then makes you have the realization of impermanence and death. With that stable realization, you are able to begin to practice Dharma, to continue to practice Dharma, to complete the practice of Dharma, and to actualize the complete path to enlightenment. (Lama Zopa Rinpoche)
The course materials consist of 28 pages of lightly edited transcripts drawn from the Light of the Path Retreat 2009 held in North Carolina, USA. The module is introduced in a video featuring Ven. Amy Miller.
1. Death Meditation Makes You Practice Dharma2. What to Do?3. You Are So Fortunate
Includes the text Heart Spoon: Encouragement Through Recollecting Impermanence by Kyabje Pabongkha Dechen Nyingpo.
To help you deepen your personal understanding and experience of the teachings, the chapters are supplemented with:
A “Certificate of Achievement” is granted upon the successful completion of all the course requirements.
Important information about your order of online materials: Following your order, you will receive an email with a link to a webpage to download a PDF document which will contain the enrollment key for the course and instructions on how to access the course on the FPMT Online Learning Center.