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Gomchen Lamrim review: The teachings, teachers, and students

Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

  • The four great qualities of the lamrim teachings
  • The benefits of hearing the teachings
  • Relying on the six recognitions to listen to the Dharma
  • The characteristics of a reliable spiritual mentor
  • The beneficial characteristics of Dharma students
  • How to explain the teachings
  • How to rely on the spiritual mentor in thought and actions

Gomchen Lamrim 13 Review: The teachings, teachers and students (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Consider some of the benefits of studying the lamrim that Venerable Tarpa laid out: shows us where all the teachings fall into the bigger picture, helps us practice consistently, we see that the teachings work, it nourishes the mind, we understand that practice is the most important thing we can do with our lives, etc. Think about your own practice. How have you seen these benefits in your life? What other benefits have you experienced having studied and practiced the lamrim?
  2. Why is it so important to actually engage with the teachings on a personal level? How are the three faulty pots hindrances to receiving the teachings and what can you do to avoid being like them?
  3. The spiritual mentor is said to be the root of the path. What qualities are we taught to look for in a spiritual mentor and why?
  4. Consider the characteristics of a good student: impartial, intelligent, full of endeavor. Why are these qualities important? To what extent do you have these qualities? What specific things can you do to help strengthen and cultivate them?
  5. The relationship we have with our spiritual mentor is the most important relationship. What does it mean to rely on a teacher in thought and deed? In what areas of your life do you find this difficult? What can you do to overcome obstacles that prevent you from fully relying on your spiritual mentor?
Venerable Thubten Tarpa

Venerable Thubten Tarpa is an American practicing in the Tibetan tradition since 2000 when she took formal refuge. She has lived at Sravasti Abbey under the guidance of Venerable Thubten Chodron since May of 2005. She was the first person to ordain at Sravasti Abbey, taking her sramanerika and sikasamana ordinations with Venerable Chodron as her preceptor in 2006. See pictures of her ordination. Her other main teachers are H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya and H.E. Dagmo Kusho. She has had the good fortune to receive teachings from some of Venerable Chodron's teachers as well. Before moving to Sravasti Abbey, Venerable Tarpa (then Jan Howell) worked as a Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer for 30 years in colleges, hospital clinics, and private practice settings. In this career she had the opportunity to help patients and teach students and colleagues, which was very rewarding. She has B.S. degrees from Michigan State and University of Washington and an M.S. degree from the University of Oregon. She coordinates the Abbey's building projects. On December 20, 2008 Ven. Tarpa traveled to Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights California receiving bhikhshuni ordination. The temple is affiliated with Taiwan's Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order.

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