Awakening Faith in the Mahayana

Theme: Awakening Faith in the Mahayana (Mahāyāna śraddhotpādaśāstra)
Place: Buddha Pada (, Kalimpong, India
Date: 13th – 22th Jan 2023

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Note: Recording from morning 20th failed.
Text: Mindfulness of Breathing is an extract from Asanga’s Shravakabhumi (Stages of Disciples), translated from Tibetan and Sanskrit by B. Alan Wallace. Please use this text only to supplement listening to the lectures. The text is not intended for free distribution.

We thank Buddha Pada and Br. Tenzin for their kindness and sharing these great lectures.

Retreat with Bhante Dhammadipa: The Study of Mahayana Shraddhotpada Shastra (Attributed to Ashvaghosha)

In the Mahayana tradition, one is encouraged to combine Shamatha and Vipassana even before realizing the Ultimate Reality. In the non-dual tradition, Shamatha is the base for the penetration of the non-dualistic nature of the mind. This penetration is done either on the Alaya tradition, or on the basis of the Buddha-nature tradition. Both are traced back to the teachings of the Bodhisattva Maitreya.

In this course, Bhante Dhammadipa will explore Shamatha practice from the point of view of Buddha-nature (Tathagatagarbha), explained with reference to Alaya or store-consciousness. We will discover meditation as the base for insight into the non-dual nature of mind, the mind which is pure and always present, and the application of this method in understanding not only the Zen tradition, but also Tibetan Vajrayana (Dzogchen / Mahamudra).

The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana is a text attributed to Ashwaghosha, who was clearly a Shravastivada poet and philosopher. In the Chinese tradition this text is widely studied as the philosophical foundation of the Zen tradition, and it is also related to the Pure land tradition.

Vasubandhu’s “Three Natures”: A Practitioner’s Guide for Liberation

In this book, Ben Connelly shows the power of integrating early Buddhist psychology with the Mahayana emphasis on collective liberation. You’ll discover how wisdom from fourth-century India can be harnessed to heal and transform systems of harm within ourselves and our communities.

The three natures (svabhavas)—the imaginary, dependent, and complete, realized natures—are inherent aspects of all phenomena. The imaginary nature of things is what we think they are. Their dependent nature is that they appear to arise from countless conditions. The complete, realized nature is that they aren’t as we imagine them to be: things that can be grasped or pushed away. The three natures form the backbone of Yogacara philosophy, and by showing us how to see beyond our preconceived notions of ourselves and others, beyond the things that we’re convinced are “true,” they open up a path to personal and communal healing.

Dive into this empowering approach to freedom from suffering, from harmful personal and social patterns, and to finding peace and joyfulness in the present.



Thank Tsadra Foundation ( for beautiful interview.
Tsadra Foundation Media Channel: Youtube

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1. On the Roots of Tathāgatagarbha and His Position on the Concept
2. On the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana
3. On Yogachara, Shamatha and Vipashyana, and Tathāgatagarbha as Skillful Means
4. On the Nature of Mind in Yogachara
5. On How He Came to Study the Yogachara Tradition

Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara: A Practitioner’s Guide

In this down-to-earth book, Ben Connelly sure-handedly guides us through the intricacies of Yogacara and the richness of the “Thirty Verses.” Dedicating a chapter of the book to each line of the poem, he lets us thoroughly lose ourselves in its depths. His warm and wise voice unpacks and contextualizes its wisdom, showing us how we can apply its ancient insights to our own modern lives, to create a life of engaged peace, harmony, compassion, and joy.

In fourth-century India one of the great geniuses of Buddhism, Vasubandhu, sought to reconcile the diverse ideas and forms of Buddhism practiced at the time and demonstrate how they could be effectively integrated into a single system. This was the Yogacara movement, and it continues to have great influence in modern Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. “Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only,” or “Trimshika,” is the most concise, comprehensive, and accessible work by this revered figure.

Vasubandhu’s “Thirty Verses” lay out a path of practice that integrates the most powerful of Buddhism’s psychological and mystical possibilities: Early Buddhism’s practices for shedding afflictive emotional habit and the Mahayana emphasis on shedding divisive concepts, the path of individual liberation and the path of freeing all beings, the path to nirvana and the path of enlightenment as the very ground of being right now. Although Yogacara has a reputation for being extremely complex, the “Thirty Verses” distills the principles of these traditions to their most practical forms, and this book follows that sense of focus; it goes to the heart of the matter—how do we alleviate suffering through shedding our emotional knots and our sense of alienation?

This is a great introduction to a philosophy, a master, and a work whose influence reverberates throughout modern Buddhism.