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Gomchen Lamrim review: Aspiring Bodhicitta

Gomchen Lamrim review: Aspiring Bodhicitta

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 difference between aspiring and engaged bodhicitta
  • Two ways of participating in the ritual
  • How to use the ethical code to train your mind
  • The benefits of bodhicitta and how to strengthen it daily
  • Never giving up on sentient beings

Gomchen Lamrim review: Aspiring Bodhicitta (download)

Contemplation points

Venerable Tarpa reviewed the first four of the aspirational precepts, which help us to protect bodhicitta from degenerating in this life. Spend some time reflecting on each:

  1. Remember the advantages of bodhicitta repeatedly.
    • What are some of the advantages of bodhicitta? What does thinking about them do for your mind?
    • How might remembering the advantages protect your bodhicitta from degenerating?
  2. To strengthen bodhicitta, generate the aspiration three times in the morning and three times in the evening.
    • How might reciting the refuge and bodhicitta prayers in the morning and evening help protect your bodhicitta?
    • If you are already doing this, how has it benefitted your mind and practice?
  3. Do not give up working for sentient beings, even when they are harmful.
    • When you’re having a difficult time with others, what thoughts can you generate to counter the desire you have to give up on them?
    • Why is this point so important to the bodhisattva practice?
    • Venerable Tarpa clarified that if someone is pushing your buttons, it’s ok to stay away from them, but you can still hold them in your heart, remembering that they won’t always be like that. Think of people in your life that fall into this category. How can you create healthy boundaries while supporting and growing your bodhicitta?
    • Why does it protect your bodhicitta from degenerating in this life?
  4. To enhance your bodhicitta, accumulate both merit and wisdom continuously.
    • Why does accumulating merit protect bodhicitta from degenerating in this life?
    • Why does accumulating wisdom protect bodhicitta from degenerating in this life?
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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