Listen to Foundational Teachings

"When the mind is free of doubt, whatever you wish can be achieved." 

-- Padmasambhava

Welcome to the Foundational Teachings resource page. Here you will find talks on a selection of topics which explore the core principles of buddhadharma. If you are interested in becoming a student of Kongtrul Rinpoche, or simply wish to learn more about Buddhism, this is the perfect place to start. These talks offer listeners practical knowledge about traditional Buddhist topics, such as loving kindness, our universal longing for happiness, the practice of non-violence, and slightly more advanced but still very accessible teachings on egolessness of self. These are fundamental topics which play important roles in our day-to-day lives, and beginners and experienced practioners alike can gain knowledge and support for their practice from the content these talks offer. We are pleased to be able to offer these downloads free of charge.

Longing for Happiness

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Do we really feel we can attain fulfillment by acquiring a larger house, or by enhancing our reputation? Rinpoche points out the necessity of being sincerely honest with ourselves, and encourages an attitude that addresses not only our desire for happiness, but also the need to change our approach. This culminates in the genuine embrace of others’ happiness as the most direct path to our own. (23 min.)

Caring for Others

Here Rinpoche introduces the radical idea that others’ happiness is as important to us as our own. Through this understanding, we are provided the means to change our destructive habits of self-absorption. The reward for changing our ingrained habits and self-serving agendas is a deepened sense of sanity, sustenance and joy. (20 min.)

The Practice of Loving Kindness

Rinpoche discusses maitri or loving kindness practice, is itself the “greatest offering we can make to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.” Allowing ourselves to simply endure the pain created by our egocentricity, “letting our self-importance have it,” without rejection or reaction, will decrease our self-attachment and promote deep calmness and sanity. (20 min.)

The Seventy-Two Ways in Which Our Minds Become Disturbed

We are usually focused primarily on the eight worldly concerns: pleasure versus pain, material gain versus loss; praise versus criticism; and good reputation versus bad. We attempt to secure our own welfare and that of our loved ones through persistent efforts to obtain what we do want, and to ward off that which we don't want. There is, however, another, more fruitful approach, the value of which we can verify through our own experience. (40 min.)

The Path of Nonviolence

Rinpoche introduces a very specific practice to gain independence of mind. Normally, whenever our self-interest is challenged, we are governed by our intolerance of pain. Yet, by depriving our ego of an aggressive response, we can heartfully “immunize” ourselves against the pain of our habitual reactions. (28 min.)

Mind's Capacity

Our inherent birthright as humans endows us with a capacity for love, caring, compassion and wisdom, but we are clouded by confusions which prevent us from fully expressing that capacity. Instead, we cling to our sense of self -- cherishing and defending it -- while failing to realize that all sentient beings desire happiness and freedom from suffering, just as we do. The Buddha’s great gift to us is his understanding that the true path of happiness is found within a mind free from attachment to a non-existent self. (20 min.)

Egolessness of Self

Rinpoche addresses the key issue underlying our confused perceptions: our unquestioning belief in an apparent, singular “self.” In this thoughtfully guided inquiry, we are gently led to appreciate how often we are seduced by our mistaken assumptions of who we truly are. Once we can recognize this tendency, and no longer feel obliged to cling so tightly to a self, that realization becomes a stepping-stone toward freedom. (25 min.)

The Truth of the Skandhas

In this remarkable explanation, Rinpoche sheds light on our struggle to become confident, patient and fearless individuals, capable of resisting our inclination to spoil every occasion or event in our world with an unwanted mental reaction. The Buddhist concept of “skandha” is clarified in terms that Western audiences will find particularly applicable. (37 min.)

Written Material 

Download written material about the Seventy-Two Ways in Which Our Minds Become Disturbed and Cause Us to React Negatively.

Download written material to support your studies of the Skandhas and Egolessness of Self.

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