Confidence is one of a collection of exercise books that make up an experiential training in Buddhist meditation, reflection and insight called Discovering the Heart of Buddhism. Discovering the Heart of Buddhism training is based on some of the most profound Buddhist teachings: the Mahamudra and Dzogchen teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. The training on Discovering the Heart of Buddhism is a search for truth: a process of exploring our experience and coming to understand and relax into our true nature. In the midst of all the pain, doubt, hesitation, stress and confusion of our lives, there is something that keeps us going. We talk of losing heart and yet, somehow, there is something deep inside us that spurs us on, restores us and gives us hope. The path of Buddhist training is to uncover this heart of our being, to recognise it, to value it and to base our lives and actions on it. According to the Buddhist tradition, this is our Awakened Heart (Sanskrit: Bodhichitta) or Buddha Nature (Sanskrit: Tathagatagarbha). The ideas introduced in the course are ones you will keep coming back to however long you study, and so it is equally suitable for those who have read about and practised Buddhism for years and for those who are completely new to it. Discovering the Heart of Buddhism is not an academic course. Rather, it is a comprehensive training in Buddhist study, reflection and meditation – providing a sound basis for a lifetime of deep spiritual practice.
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Lama Shenpen Hookham, the Principal Teacher of Discovering the Heart of Buddhism, is a Buddhist teacher who has trained for over 45 years in the Mahamudra & Dzogchen traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Lama Shenpen has spent over 12 years in retreat and for the past 30 years has been a student of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, one of the foremost living masters of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Lama Shenpen is fluent in Tibetan and has translated a number of Tibetan texts into English for her students. On Khenpo Rinpoche's instructions she produced a seminal study of the profound Buddha Nature doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism, published as The Buddha Within, and gained a doctorate in this from Oxford University. She is also the author of There's More to Dying than Death. Since then, Khenpo Rinpoche and Lama Rigdzin Shikpo have encouraged Shenpen to develop her teaching activity further. Thus she created 'Discovering the Heart of Buddhism' over a period of more than seven years. Students inspired by her teaching formed the Awakened Heart Sangha, a spiritual community under her direction. Lama Shenpen now spends most of her time in semi-retreat at the Hermitage of the Awakened Heart, in Wales, UK. From there she comes out regularly to teach, as well as giving interviews and advice to students in person and over the phone, by letter and by email.
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