Tibetan Buddhism is a very comprehensive type of Buddhism, comprising advanced and subtle philosophy, step-by-step instructions for meditation, devotional exercises and physical meditations that are like tai chi, and much more.
Step 1. Read the Dalai Lama's books as much as possible
The most important are "Essential Teachings", "The World of Tibetan Buddhism", "Mind of Clear Light", "The Art of Happiness", "With an Open Heart", "How to Practice" and "The Passage to Enlightenment”. The Dalai Lama is one of the most skillful, humblest, and wisest practitioners of Buddhism in the world, at least among those who are widely recognized.
Step 2. Be patient
The philosophical teachings in Tibetan Buddhism, especially the teaching of imputation performed by the mind, are very subtle and difficult to understand, and it may take years, or at least several months, of study and contemplation before they truly begin to understand. make sense and can apply them to your personal experience in a real way. Keep going. Keep studying, keep contemplating what you have read and memorized (memorizing the important quotes from Buddhist scriptures that the Dalai Lama cites in his books is an important step in understanding and recording the philosophical ideas of Tibetan Buddhism in your mind), keep meditating.
Step 3. Meditate
It doesn't matter much what kind of meditation you practice. What matters is that you do it every day; the more time you spend in a day, the better, but it is very important to realize that if you meditate too much in one day, it is very likely that you will do less the next (the yin-yang principle in action). So, it is best to spend the same time meditating every day and gradually increase your times, if you want to meditate more.
Step 4. Keep in mind that the higher teachings will be of no use if you cannot even practice the most basic teachings, such as ethics (avoid the ten non-virtuous actions)
So, you should start with ethics and do your best to start with the most basic teachings and master them later, or at least have a good foundation of them before moving on to the higher teachings.
Step 5. Think of Tibetan Buddhism as a pyramid
It begins with the foundations of the Hinayana as a stable base, then the altruistic motivation of the Mahayana and its practice of the "six paramitas" is added to the Hinayana, then the Vajrayana is added to the Hinayana and the Mahayana, which is the cusp of the Tibetan Buddhism and the main daily practice of serious practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. The way this works resembles the dependency relationship that exists between the realization of impermanence, suffering, and denial of self (wisdom) in Hinayana Buddhism with the achievement of concentration, which itself depends on practice. of morality (comply with the precepts).
Step 6. You have to know that Tibetan Buddhism understands the teachings of people of many different types of disposition:
it has advanced philosophical teachings for those who are more intellectually inclined; it has more meditative teachings of mystical experience for those who are more inclined to the "zen" world; has energy practices (in Vajrayana) to move the wind (prana, chi, ki) for health, mental clarity and spiritual realization, this is like tai chi or Hindu yoga (for those who want a practice Buddhist emphasis on the health of the physical body). Tibetan Buddhism also deals with subtle "drops" as well as prana in Vajrayana practice. This makes it similar in certain respects to Hindu yoga, which also deals with drops ("bindu"). No matter what type of person you are, it is likely that in Tibetan Buddhism there are perfect teachings for your personality type or spiritual, physical, emotional, mental orientation. In turn, the different deities ("Buddhas" and "Bodhisattvas") are for people with different types of inclinations or spiritual personalities. For those who are more intellectual, Manjushri's teachings are more than adequate; for those who are not, but are very kind and compassionate, the practice of Avalokiteshvara would be ideal; for women, the practice of the deity Tara (a female deity) would be ideal; And for those interested in powers, Vajrapani (representing the power of the buddhas) can be a good choice as a deity.
Step 7. Learn about the “Lamrin” and practice the basics first
Step 8. Make a solid and constant effort to learn and generate "bodhicitta" in your mind and heart
Bodhicitta is one of the most important aspects of Tibetan Buddhism (although it is not a distinguishable aspect, since all Mahayana Buddhists are defined as those who possess bodhicitta). Tibetan Buddhism has a clearer definition of bodhicitta than other forms of Mahayana; And, Tibetan Buddhism also has more clearly defined developed techniques for generating bodhicitta than other forms of Mahayana.
Step 9. Practice "Tonglen" every day to develop compassion and create positive karma
Step 10. Find a Tibetan lama or “rinpoche” to teach you more than you could learn on your own, especially if you yearn for certain powers
Try to have teachings from a "Karmapa" or the Dalai Lama.
- Don't try to understand everything and pretend that everything fits perfectly in your mind, just realize that no philosophical system or religion is perfectly logical. Logic always leads to contradictions. Take only what you consider best for you in Tibetan Buddhism (the principles) and practice it every day. As you study and meditate more, you will see how everything will begin to curdle in your mind, you have to let it digest for a long time. The more difficult or advanced a teaching is, the longer it will take to digest.
- When you meditate, you won't always see your progress. "Knowledge is like dust" (a martial arts master used to say), you can't see it grow because it grows very slowly, but after a while, when you see it again, you will see that it has grown a lot. So, it is important not to stop meditating, even if you think that you are not making any progress, because you are; And your level of progress will depend on how much practice you have, not the method you are using. So, don't endlessly search for the best method. All methods are good in themselves, but it will be the amount of effort you put into a particular method that determines what you will get out of it.
- You get what you give. Just because you know on an intellectual level the most advanced philosophical vision in the world does not make you a more advanced person than any other. What matters is your level of ethics, your level of mental acuity, and your level of active and emotional compassion. In order for the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to change your life, you need to dedicate a lot of your time and effort, remember them, and apply them to your daily life.
- Tibetan Buddhism is a huge religion. There are many scriptures, deities, principles, practices, meditations, teachers, and history. It can be overwhelming. It will take a long time to read, even once, all the major scriptures, and needless to say to read them several times to become familiar with them. Perhaps the best thing is to just read and memorize a few short passages of essential scriptures that you can practice with every day.
- Once again we tell you, be patient. This takes a long time. Even learning only Hinayana ("Theravada") Buddhism is complicated and takes considerable time. Tibetan Buddhism understands much of the Hinayana, apart from all the Mahayana, and then furthermore, it understands and emphasizes the Vajrayana (also known as "Mantrayana", also as "Tantrayana" or "Tantra").