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Gomchen Lamrim review: Seven-point cause and effect instruction continued

Gomchen Lamrim review: Seven-point cause and effect instruction continued

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.

Gomchen Lamrim 86 review: Seven-point cause and effect instruction continued (download)

Contemplation points

Generating compassion requires us to reflect not just on the dukkha of pain, but to have a full picture of all three types of dukkha (dukkha of change and of pervasive conditioning). Reflect on the dukkha of pervasive conditions by considering some of the verses from Tsong Khapa’s Three Principal Aspects of the Path:

  1. “Swept by the current of the four powerful rivers.”
    • The first of these four powerful rivers is sensual desire. Reflect on how, throughout the day, you are swept by the river of sensual desire.
    • The second is craving for rebirth, craving for existence in samsara. How do you see this type of craving in your life?
    • The third is craving for a self. Craving for a self to be born in samsara, we want a body. Craving and clinging come so strongly at the time of death and we feel that we need our body. Consider this type of craving in your life.
    • The fourth river is wrong views. We are swept away by our wrong view and we won’t listen to anyone. We are certain our wrong view is correct. We think we are right and don’t listen to those wiser than we are. Consider this type of craving in your life.
  2. “Tied by the strong bonds of karma which are so hard to undo.”
    • We’ve created so much karma in the past and that karma has a lot of energy and power, especially if it is something we do repeatedly or the action is done with a strong motivation. Consider the power of habituation and motivation and how it propels you to act.
    • We may want happiness but our karma is pushing us towards the results of whatever actions we’ve done. Karma is this powerful force. If we look at the uncontrolled nature of our mind right now, is it reasonable to think that we will be able to control it when we die?
  3. “Caught in the iron net of self-grasping egoism.”
    • Spend some time thinking about how self-grasping ignorance manifests in your daily life. How does it drive you to act? What harm do you cause yourself and others under its influence?
    • When we get a sense of what self-grasping ignorance is, we can see how we’re trapped. Get a feeling for this.
  4. “Completely enveloped by the darkness of ignorance.”
    • Really get a feel for the visual here… You are pushed by the four powerful currents. You can’t move because your arms and legs are tied in a way you can’t undo them. In addition, you’re wrapped in an iron net and its pitch black. You are totally bound and these four rivers keep pushing you down. How does this feel? Do you have much choice?
  5. Conclusion: Understanding more deeply that this is the situation that we and others are in, feel that it is unendurable and resolve to do something about it through developing your spiritual practice.
Venerable Thubten Samten

Venerable Samten met Venerable Chodron in 1996 when the future Venerable Chonyi took the future Ven. Samten to a Dharma talk at Dharma Friendship Foundation. The talk on the kindness of others and the way it was presented is deeply etched in her mind. Four Cloud Mountain retreats with Ven. Chodron, eight months in India and Nepal studying the Dharma, one month of offering service at Sravasti Abbey, and a two month retreat at Sravasti Abbey in 2008, fueled the fire to ordain. This took place August 26, 2010 (see photos). This was followed by full ordination in Taiwan in March, 2012 (see photos), becoming Sravasti Abbey's sixth bhikshuni. Right after finishing a Bachelor of Music degree, Ven. Samten moved to Edmonton to pursue training as a corporeal mime artist. Five years later, a return to university to obtain Bachelor of Education degree opened the door to teaching for the Edmonton Public School board as a music teacher. Concurrently, Ven. Samten became a founding member and performer with Kita No Taiko, Alberta's first Japanese drum group. Ven. Samten is responsible for thanking donors who make offerings online; assisting Venerable Tarpa with developing and facilitating the SAFE online learning courses; assisting with the forest thinning project; tracking down knapweed; maintaining the Abbey database and answering email questions; and photographing the amazing moments that are constantly happening at the Abbey.

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