Introduction to Calm-Abiding (Shamatha) Meditation Series
The practice of bringing the mind to stillness
Calm Abiding is the practice of bringing the mind to stillness. Our minds are constantly processing information as we move about our daily life and we develop the habit of following and reacting to every thought as it arises and following it to the next and the next. One of the first steps on the Buddhist path from suffering to freedom is to learn that we do not need to follow every thought. We can choose to let go of the thinking process and bring the mind to rest. And in that resting mind we find our true self, and true joy. Our normal experience of mind is similar to the treacherous waves of a turbulent ocean. The practice of Calm Abiding provides a way to bring those turbulent waves gradually into peaceful stillness.
Calm Abiding is the foundation for all Buddhist practice, and it is essential to cultivate it at all stages of the path. In order to begin the path of meditation and to fully mature as experienced practitioners, it is necessary to sit in silence and learn to work with our mind and come to know and understand our unique karmic/habitual tendencies. When we are not distracted by the movement of mind, the cause of suffering can become clear; the wisdom, compassion and all the qualities of a bodhisattva can spring forth; the visualizations of Vajrayana practice arise effortlessly and in clear detail; and we can access the wisdom that recognizes the nature of mind.
In these seven sessions (35-40 minutes each) Lama Döndrup introduces the calm abiding practice, leading short meditations, giving brief teachings, inviting students to ask questions and share experience. The meditations increase in length, with the last three sessions being only meditation.
These sessions were originally part of Sukhasiddhi Sundays. References will be made to other classes on the same day. Downloadable video and audio recordings are provided for each session.
Lama Döndrup is the Resident Lama of Sukhasiddhi Foundation overseeing the curriculum and offerings at Sukhasiddhi in collaboration with the lamas and dharma leaders on the teachers council. She has practiced and studied in the Buddhist tradition for over twenty five years. After five years of Theravadin Buddhist training, she immersed herself in the teachings and practices of the Shangpa and Kagyu Vajrayana lineages. In 2005, she completed a traditional three-year retreat and was authorized as a lama. Upon her return to Marin County, she began teaching classes and leading meditations at Sukhasiddhi Foundation, and in 2020 was authorized by Lama Palden Drolma as Resident Lama. Lama Döndrup is honored to guide students through all stages of the spiritual journey; helping them to feel confident in their own understanding of practices and teachings; and supporting the natural unfolding of their innate wisdom and compassion. In addition to her Buddhist training, Lama Döndrup trained in the Diamond Approach for seven years and has a Masters of Fine Arts degree in piano performance.