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Relating to our teacher by action

23 The Foundation of Buddhist Practice

Part of a series of teachings given during a retreat based on the book The Foundation of Buddhist Practice given at Sravasti Abbey.

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice 23: Relating to our teacher by action (download)

Contemplation points

  1. What are the three ways in which we rely on our spiritual mentors in action? Contemplate and make examples of specific ways to make offerings to your spiritual mentors in each of these ways. Consider how you have personally relied on your mentors through your actions. Are there ways in which you’d like to develop any of these?
  2. What does it mean to offer your Dharma practice to your spiritual mentors? Why is offering your practice the best offering?
  3. What would it feel like to have the kind of clarity about the path, the kind of understanding about the four truths, the kind of strong aspiration and values that are described by the Buddha in the passage from MN 70:27? It may not be possible now, but take that first step and imagine what it would be like to have that kind of focus and energy for the Dharma.
  4. How would you benefit from having an open and honest relationship with your spiritual mentor?
  5. What are appropriate ways to behave with your mentors? What are inappropriate ways? How can you protect against engaging in them?
  6. Under what circumstances is it appropriate to share and discuss different views you may hold from your spiritual mentors?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.