About

I’ve been practicing Kadampa Buddhist meditation for 35 years and love it. Luna Kadampa is my pen name.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to learn Buddhist meditation and find peace, positivity and joy in your life, whatever circumstances you find yourself in. There is some background to Buddhism, meditation, and my teacher below.

Meditation means familiarizing ourself with positive and happy ways of thinking and overcoming negative habits of mind that cause unhappiness. Kadampa Life is mainly about applying Buddhist meditation to daily life and using what happens in daily life to improve our meditation.

Buddhist meditation is open to everybody who wants to learn it, it doesn’t belong to Buddhists. It resonates with a lot of people these days because it is profound common sense. This blog is not set up to proselytize, evangelize, or convert anyone to Buddhism, just in case you were wondering. I’m using it to share some experience of putting these teachings into practice over the past three decades. If you find something on here that’s helpful or practical for you, that’s great, please use it. If not, it doesn’t matter. Different strokes for different folks.

Comment policy: Please make comments on this blog, I love them. All I suggest is that before hitting “send” you ask yourself “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” I try to do that with the articles as well, as I think that it just about covers everything Buddha had to say about the moral discipline of speech. Thank you.

See also What I’m up to with this blog and Where are the Kadampas?

A bit of background

Buddhism

“Buddhism is the practice of Buddha’s teachings, also called Dharma, which means ‘protection’.” ~ Modern Buddhism, page 3 (click on the link for a free eBook!!)

Meditation — or familiarizing ourself with positivity — is at the heart of Buddhism. By practicing Buddhist meditation we are protected from the suffering caused by our so-called ‘delusions’ – unpeaceful, uncontrolled states of mind such as anger, attachment and ignorance that give rise to nothing but suffering. We also learn how to develop and maintain our peaceful, positive states of mind such as patience, love and wisdom, and in this way fulfill our innate potential for happiness and freedom, including the ability to help others. Anyone with a mind can do this, regardless of their background, culture or even belief system.

Kadampa Buddhism

“In general, all Buddha’s teachings, the Dharma, are very precious, but Kadam Dharma or Lamrim is a very special Buddhadharma that is suitable for everyone without exception…. This is because Kadam Dharma accords with people’s daily experience; it cannot be separated from daily life.” ~ Modern Buddhism, p. 22-3

Kadampa Buddhism is practical, applied Buddhism. It is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (AD 982-1054), practiced fully and passed down the generations through great spiritual masters, including Je Tsongkhapa (AD 1357-1419), to the present day.

In the word ‘Kadampa’, ‘Ka’ refers to Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings, and ‘dam’ to Atisha’s Lamrim (or stages of the path to enlightenment) instructions. So a Kadampa is anyone who regards Buddha’s teachings as personal instructions and puts them into practice by following the instructions of Lamrim. This way we can learn to transform all our daily activities and experiences – relationships, work, good times, bad times etc — into the path to mental freedom and enlightenment.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, circa 1978, just out of 16 year retreat in the Himalayas and newly arrived in England.

You can find out more about this modern-day Buddhist master and founder of the New Kadampa Tradition in any number of places, including in this article I wrote about him on his 80th birthday. I could speak volumes about my teacher, but all I’ll say for now is that I think he is a spiritual genius! I’ve read lots of Buddhist books but, to me, his books still take my breath away. Although I have read each one many times, I honestly still find new clarity and vision each time I pick one up and read even a sentence.

His 22 books — all commentaries one way or another to Je Tsongkhapa’s works — range from detailed, authoritative texts on every aspect of Buddhist meditation and philosophy to newer books like Transform Your Life and Modern Buddhism that manage to make Buddhism simple, practical and do-able, while at the same time blowing my mind! Now, thanks to this, anyone who wants to can practice Kadampa Buddhist meditation and derive real benefit — whomever and wherever they are.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Comments

  1. Hi Luna. Always great to see your smiling face at the festival.
    I have a question which i wanted to ask you. I have had this question in various forms and asked it to various people in various ways over time. I often feel unsatisfied with the answer (and the question!) . Perhaps it is an unsuitable question; perhaps i dont have the wisdom to understand the answer. However it is lodged in my heart and i dont like to keep this within. Alas – I would appreciate if you could try to answer or guide me towards the answer

    Who do Buddhas Benefit? (what are all living beings to a Buddha?)

    If, once attaining enlightenment they have perfectly purified their self, their world, their enjoyments and activities – all phenomena including all living beings are necessarily purified. So do buddhas help the heroes or heroines of their mandala? Why would a Buddha need to help anyone – they are pure – all they perceive is pure? We are always striving to cease dualistic appearance. When we meditate on the emptiness of our body, of persons, or extremes or others or physical objects, we are trying to understand that they are not “out there” inherently existing from their own side. So we try to understand that they are “mere name” so we can use that mere name for the purpose of communicating. But then we can become a living Buddha in order to benefit “all living beings” – those same livings beings that we generated compassion for and then realised they were just appearances to mind. I dont understand that.

    If Buddhas do not exist from their own side (to humans), from the perspective of a Buddha – how can “living beings” exist from their own side if not dependant upon the mind of a Buddha? Clearly they cant. But from my ignorance the meaning is roughly like… Become a Buddha – then help “all living beings” – wait which living beings – o all those beings that we realise are just appearance to mind.

    I ask this question not out of mere intellectual wondering but because it has deep effect on my practise. For example, i have often felt weird talking about or having the chance to teach on emptiness. I think – all these people are mere appearance to my mind. Why am i sitting here teaching the “mere appearance to my mind” – I am effectively telling the mere people in the mere room, with my mere words that things are empty. Thats seems pointless. Then it seems that they are appearing to help me – but then its feel too weird – too fake…and lonely too.

    Honestly (i know this is an incorrect view) – sometimes i really miss “inherently existent” persons. When i first tried to develop compassion, this was before many teachings on emptiness, and so it felt easier to strongly feel love for, or wish to take the suffering from “out there” beings. They had “real problems”, “real suffering”. Compassion for dream like beings – more difficult. I don’t really get “compassion observing the unobservable.” I wish and pray for PRACTICAL, correct, profound teachings on this.

    Over years, due to my mistakes – meditations on emptiness have lead to
    1) Not feeling the wish to talk to or engage with anyone. Feeling freaked out. Feeling like id lost everything. Wheres my “inherently exitent” mum that did all those things to help me grow up – dream like mum does not work the same for me.
    2) Overwhelming laziness – inability to want to engage in worldly (or even spiritual) activities
    3) Confusion / Fakeness / Im in a movie / everyone is an actor / Not knowing where to turn / its all pointless – its all a dream…
    4) Other inconceivable experiences (ranging from supremely amazing to wildly scary) that i cannot explain for fear that people would claim i am revealing realizations or contaminated powers. I have zero realisations, except faith in my supreme root guru.
    5) Experiences similar to how the bardo is explained – things changing extremely fast.
    5) Solipsism – its MY dream – its all from “ME”…Hmm except that even the dreamer of tonights dream – ME – does not exist either (advice i was given from a high teacher in our tradition.) Still i have big problem with this. I pray that one day a powerful scholar and powerful teacher can help me to totally eliminate this solipsistic view.

    I would love to hear practical and easy to understand explanations of:-

    1) “Remaining NATURAL while sustaining illusion-like subsequent attainment”

    Im not very good a being an “actor” in this play.

    Thanks for listening and helping

    S.

    • There are some good questions here. For a while i have been wanting to address some of the points you raise in here in any case, and your well expressed comment has motivated me to get on with it! Still, i’m a bit busy for the next few weeks so hope you don’t mind waiting a little longer …🙂

  2. Debra says:

    Brilliant articles

  3. Been practicing for about a year the compassion centre in Newcastle. A friend point me in the direction of this excellent blog. Please add me to your mailing list. Xxx

    • Hey Neil, thank you! To add yourself, put your name in the box on the top right of the home page (I can’t add people myself). It’ll send you a link to your email, i think, asking you to confirm.

  4. Thank you so much, I so appreciate you.

  5. Lynne edes says:

    Please add me to your email list
    Thanks

  6. Thank you for sharing these teachings ॐ

  7. Thank you for your great kindness , you are here in my heart,tenderness spreads gives pure Joy!

  8. would like to be notified of your articles. Thanks kindly x

  9. Vajra Kelsang says:

    I have subscribed to received posts from you, but I have not received any.

  10. Hi; I nominate you for the
    Very Inspiring Blogger Award

    The announcement is scheduled
    in my queue to post at 3 PM
    today — Eastern USA time.

    There isn’t any complicated
    requirements to accept it.

    Just click here (after 3 PM)

    http://hunt4truth.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/very-inspiring-bloggers-award/

    or load the post from
    your reader.

    Thanks for posting an
    inspiring blog.

    ~ Eric

  11. andrew says:

    Recently, had problems with someone I thought was a friend, I’ve realised that these problems stemmed from my “attachment” to her which I understand, and your blog made sense… since I came to this realisation I’ve felt happier with myself and others, In the last few days I’ve ‘bumped’ into a person (several times) that I believe to have a positive energy unlike the person I was attached to…. my concern is that this is a test of my interest in buddhism or just a transference of a need for attachment. Yes I know I’m the only one that can answer that but sometimes sharing your thoughts helps ….

  12. Thanks so much for creating this blog. I have read many books by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Pema Chodron and Chogyam Trungpa. I have always tried to follow the path of Buddhism. It has led me to a good place.

    Namaste,
    Dennis

  13. Dear L,

    I have a recurring question that I would be grateful if you would write about: – How is it possible that pure love makes us happy when the people we love might be suffering so much?

    Also, do we just have to wish, hope and pray (and practise of course) so that one day in the far distant future they will get to the Pure Land?

    Another thing – It seems to me that Buddhists are always talking about things as they would like them to be rather than as they are. Notwithstanding bringing the result into the Path and everything being empty of inherent existence, if we do not recognise the way the world is experienced by many people we cannot expect them to recognise our reality.

  14. Thank you Luna Kadampa for connecting via LinkedIn and my blog. I will subscribe to your blog and hope to read and learn more. Kindest greetings from Paula

  15. i love you L🙂

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hello,
    This is my first time to visit your website. I have been studying Kadampa Buddhism for almost 2 years thru a KMC. This website seems to be a great way to spread Geshe-la’s teachings. I am interested in subscribing. However, I try to be very careful about who I am getting Dharma from. With complete respect for your efforts, may I ask if this website has been sanctioned by Venerable Geshe-la or one of the Gen-las? Thank you!

    • Hello, thank you for your interest and your fair concern. This site is not officially sanctioned by anyone because it is a personal site by an individual practitioner. (Nor has it received adverse reaction from the powers that be.)

      In any event, as I’ve said elsewhere, Kadampa Life is not intended as teachings, which you can receive perfectly from your teacher, center and study program — that is their function. This website functions just as a sharing of experiences — my own and the people who comment (and experience can never be wrong.)

      Hope this helps.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I became a Kadampa 10 years ago and the teachings have changed my life in such a profound way. I have been so fortunate to have been to many Festivals and have also gone to Tharpaland. Before this, I was afraid to travel and the last 10 years, I have gone to Festivals all over the world.

    It was so interesting that I adopted 2 children in July 2001 and found the teachings 2 weeks later. They have been raised Kadampas since the ages of 1 and 2. They actually met Geshe-la in Toronto in 2003 and received a blessing from him.

    My life now has real meaning and I can say I am truly fortunate and hope to never be separated from Geshe-la

  18. Hi, Luna – just been poking around the website. You’ve asked for article ideas a couple times and I’ve actually been desperately wanting some guidance on a topic as it relates specifically to Kadampa Buddhism; what is the view on pet euthanisa?

    Thank you so much for this wonderful website, by the way! It a daily source of support and comfort for me. I am so grateful for YOU!

    • Oops, sorry, only just caught this comment…. that is a million dollar question. There are no easy answers, of course, and each case is probably going to be a little different. It is one of those things where we have to take the decision on our own, as otherwise we are involving others in some difficult karma.

      We can start by checking whether we are wanting to euthanize our pet out of attachment and aversion or not, not able ourselves to bear their suffering because it hurts US — we definitely don’t want a deluded motivation as that won’t help anyone.

      I always remember Geshe-la’s advice that, while our pet is still alive, we have the opportunity to be with her and love her and protect her, but when she dies that opportunity has gone, and we don’t even know what more horrible suffering she is experiencing all on her own. Death is not the end of suffering, as we know, so this is a good note of caution for not putting down our pet prematurely.

      Having said that, I think that sometimes there can be a case for making their actual deathbed experience less painful and scary, just as we pump humans full of morphine even though it hastens their death. (If our human or furry friends are already in the process of dying, we presumably also don’t incur the karma of killing them?)

  19. Hi Luna – it’s lovely to ‘meet you’ – I saw your connection on Spirit of Less and am following my own path in this direction too….wishing you peace and light, TS x

Trackbacks

  1. […] distraction or they can be helpful. It depends on whether I’m watching them out of some delusion/unpeaceful mind such as attachment or laziness, or out of some positive motivation such as the wish to expand my […]

  2. […] distraction or they can be helpful. It depends on whether I’m watching them out of some delusion/unpeaceful mind such as attachment or laziness, or out of some positive motivation such as the wish to expand my […]

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