PRACTICES

PRACTICES 


Our practices are rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, which comprises the three main phases of Buddhist thought and practice: the early teachings of the Buddha (Foundational Vehicle), the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) and the Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle). Essentially, our focus is on cultivating compassion and wisdom, and being of service to others. Lama Tsultrim Allione, author and international teacher, is the founder or our practice community and has developed our curriculum based on her many years of traditional study with Tibetan masters and her own realization born of many years of practice, retreat, and teaching in the West.

Although many of our practice meetings have prerequisites, our goal is to provide teachings and make the practices accessible to all levels of practitioners. Please join our newsletter and refer to our calendar to see when teachings and transmissions are being offered. You can also email us for more info.

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Practice Descriptions 
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The Mandala of the 
Five Wisdom Dakinis Practice

The Dakini Mandala creates a sacred geography within the psyche leading toward the realization of the innate perfection of the world. The mandala is a blueprint for sacred reality on every level. Ritually, aesthetically, and symbolically it expresses the inherent purity of all existence, and embodiment as a path to liberation. Through the mandala, the psyche is provided with a container and structure for transformation and architecture of enlightened experience. In this practice, we explore through color, light, sound and visualization how our human emotions are the very seeds for our own transformation and enlightenment. Pre-requisites: must have learned the practice from Lama Tsultrim or an authorized teacher.

SEE PRACTICE CALENDAR

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Feeding Your Demons®

Inspired by the Tibetan spiritual practice of Chöd, Feeding Your Demons® is a five-step process created by Lama Tsultrim Allione to befriend and transform negative emotions, fears, physical and mental illness, addictions, and self-defeating behaviors. Feeding Your Demons® is a foundational practice in our sangha. At our sangha practice sessions you will have the option of doing either partner or solo work. Courses on learning how to do solo and partner work are offered locally throughout the year and at Tara Mandala during the retreat season (April-Oct). Please refer to our courses page for our schedule.

Pre-requisites:  It is highly recommended that serious practitioners attend a teaching session with Lama Tsultrim, Chandra Easton or another authorized teacher to receive the benefits of the practice. However, those who have read Lama Tsultrim's book, Feeding Your Demons, and who have done at least three Feeding Your Demons sessions on their own may attend the sangha practice sessions.  
SEE COURSE SCHEDULE & DETAILS

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Prajña Paramita Practice
 
Prajña Paramita is the Great Mother. She is luminous clarity that is full of compassion. She is a deity, a symbol, and a sutra. Above all, she is the teaching that guides us to the experience of prajña, or wisdom, which is the capacity to perceive the ineffable vastness of basic space. The Prajña Paramita practice from Lama Tsultrim Allione is a nature of mind practice which requires transmission. Prajña Paramita is a foundational practice in our sangha. We offer courses locally throughout the year in the Bay Area and at Tara Mandala during the retreat season (April-Oct).  

Pre-requisites: at least two years of meditation or internal arts practice (i.e. Chi kung, Tai chi, or yoga) and must have received transmission from Lama Tsultrim, Chandra Easton, or other authorized teacher.

SEE COURSE SCHEDULE & DETAILS

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 Chöd

The Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Chöd came to this great Dzogchen master in a dream. Chöd is a unique blend of the Tibetan Shamanic traditions and the Buddhist tradition of compassion and emptiness. This centuries-old practice is sung and is accompanied by the use of a traditional Chöd drum and bell. Healing comes when fear, fixation, and self-clinging are cut through, based on nurturing not fighting what assails us, giving rise to the awareness of the empty nature of afflictive emotions. Pre-requisites: This practice is open to all. People who have learned the practice can join in and anyone can come and receive the healing energy of the practice.

The Parchangma Chöd is an integral part of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje’s Dzinpa Rangdröl (Self-Liberation of Clinging) treasure cycle (terma). This practice is sung and is accompanied by the use of a traditional Chöd drum and bell. Healing comes when fear, fixation, and self-clinging are cut through, based on nurturing not fighting what assails us, giving rise to the awareness of the empty nature of afflictive emotions. Pre-requisites: This practice is open to all. People who have learned the practice can join in and anyone can come and receive the healing energy of the practice. 

SEE COURSE SCHEDULE & DETAILS

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Compassionately Awake to Oppression & Privilege

Lama Tsultrim and our Bay Area Mandala Committee feel that the killings of unarmed black men show us that racism continues to be a national crisis, not a current event that will pass. Because of this, we feel the importance of responding with informed and balanced activism by skillfully implementing the tools that we have as a sangha to help bring about social justice.

Our goal as a sangha is to continue the work we began with Rev. Jamil Scott, Chandra Easton, Karla Jackson-Brewer, Buddhist Peace Fellowship and others by further bridging Buddhism and activism. During the Fall & Winter of 2015 we will continue to meet for Public Meditations in support of racial justice. Please contact sfbay@taramandala.org to learn how you can get involved.
 
This curriculum consists of the following elements:
  •  A discussion group exploring Buddhist teachings in relation to issues of Racism, Inequality and Social Justice.
  • A practice group utilizing Buddhist practices of Feeding Your Demons, Mindfulness, Chöd, Tonglen, and Equanimity meditation to work with the powerful emotions that this material evokes.
  • An action group applying the Eight Fold Path of Wise Speech and Wise Action to create ethical responses to social ills.

PUBLIC MEDITATIONS
FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
  
Join us for our Public Meditation gatherings at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater in Oakland, CA. We practice Mindfulness, Metta, and Chöd to bring about peace, justice, and healing for all beings and to inspire others.

Our next Public Meditation will be on Saturday, October 17th, 2015 from 11am-1pm with special guest teachers Karla Jackson-Brewer, Rev. Jamil Scott, and Chandra Easton. All are welcome, and bring your friends!
Email Lenore at sfbay@taramandala.org for more info.


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Green Tara Practice

Green Tara is the female Buddha of Compassion. She provides protection from fears and obstacles. She sits with one foot in the meditation posture and one foot in the world, thus embodying active compassion and serving as a model for modern day contemplative life. This Green Tara practice is from the Luminous Secret Vajra Treasury, the revealed teaching cycle of Adzom Drukpa. Pre-requisites: must have learned this practice from Lama Tsultrim, Adzom Paylo Rinpoche or another teacher.

SEE PRACTICE CALENDAR
 
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Simhamukha Practice

Simhamukha is known as a powerful remover of obstacles and as Queen of the Dakinis. This mind treasure was given to Ayu Khandro when she was in dark retreat by the Queen of the Dakinis herself, and she practiced it for more than 20 years before transmitting it to anyone. Pre-requisites: must have received this practice from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche or Lama Tsultrim.

SEE PRACTICE CALENDAR

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Zhitro Practice of Namchö Mingyur Dorje

This is a practice for death and dying taught to Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche from Ayu Khandro. In our society we often have no real way to help someone who has died, we can only grieve. The simple and accessible practice of Zhitro offers a real way for a practitioner to help the deceased. This practice also helps one to become familiarized with the visions and experiences one may experience during the 49 days following one’s own passing. During the 49 days following death, the consciousness of the deceased may be lingering in an intermediate state, known as the “bardo” in Tibetan. It is very important to know what to do when someone passes away to help them progress on their journey through the bardo. Pre-requisites: must have received this practice from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche or Lama Tsultrim Allione.

SEE PRACTICE CALENDAR

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Opening the Gates to Space Practice

This Nature of Mind Phowa practice was given by Machig to her oldest son, Gyalwa Dondrub. It is the heart and life force of the mother lineage of the Dakinis. It was a core practice for Machig and offers profound opening to the limitless vastness of the nature of mind, mixing space and awareness. Pre-requisites: must have received this practice from Lama Tsultrim.

SEE PRACTICE CALENDAR

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Dharma Study Group

Join us for practice and study of the essentials of Tibetan Buddhism, including Shamatha and Vipassana meditations as well as the Four Immeasurables (Loving-kindness, Compassion, Equanimity & Sympathetic Joy) with Robin Gayle. This is a wonderful way for those new to Tibetan Buddhism to learn the fundamentals.