Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 12th August

Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 12th August

First of all, our internet went down last Wednesday to Friday, so we weren’t able to film our usual episode.  Many apologies to you all! 


We are sad to say this will be our last Corvid 6 update for our CNN spot, the Crow’s Nest News.  We’ve been following two of these six crows in particular, and Geshe Tashi Tsering talks us through recent events as they happened.


In Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic this week, Geshe Tashi responds to requests he’s received from you to expand on the patience teachings he gave in the 22nd July and 29th July blogs.  Your requests have centred around dealing with the irritation, agitation and anxiety of the Coronavirus measures.  Turning to a selection of verses from Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lam Rim Chenmo volume 2, Geshe Tashi helps us deal with our feelings of unease, irritation and agitation in the face of things that are slowly getting to us.


Continuing his commentary on Maitreya’s Prayer of Love, Geshe la talks us through verse 21 and the Perfection of Concentration.  Here he looks at the three highest levels of concentration for those on the bodhisattva path: illusion like concentration; the concentration of heroes; and vajra like or indestructible concentration.  The translation of hero here (Tib: pawo)  is from the sattva in bodhisattva, or the pa as in jang chub sem pa.  Illusion like concentration allows bodhisattvas to focus on the disparity between appearance and reality.  We recommend developing this before tackling the Two Truths module of FBT Course.  (Don’t worry, we’re only joking!)  Geshe Tashi explains that those with a hero’s concentration are those who are extremely able and capable at overcoming their own self-interest, and therefore can provide others with whatever they need, mentally or physically, without being distracted.  Vajra like concentration is the concentration that destroys the final, most deeply rooted obscurations, moments before enlightenment.


Geshe la ends by putting these kinds of concentration in the context of our mindfulness and calm abiding practices.  Speaking as the Admin Team, our take-away message from this is to work on the Three Trainings and, of course, to sign up to the September intake of The Foundation of Buddhist Thought Course, featuring your favourite Hlarampa Geshe on video every week.  We’ve done a complete makeover, it’s a whole new course, why not join us?


As a final admin note, there will be three more Practising in a Pandemic blog updates before a late summer break.  We will be in retreat in the last week of August, so these are planned for Wednesday 19th August, Wednesday 2nd and 9th of September.  The FBT Course starts on the 7th September. Our weekly programme of classes will continue late September, with exciting new projects in the pipeline!


With best wishes to you all,


Your Admin Team


Maitreya’s Prayer of Love (Verse 21)

Jampai Monlam


Like the concentration called Magic [Illusion like concentration]

And the concentration of Going Heroically [a Hero’s concentration]

And the concentration Like a Thunderbolt [Vajra like concentration],

May I accomplish the perfection of concentration.


FPMT, translator unknown


Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Brian

    Dear Geshela Thank you again your teachings always seem able to clarify a point which previously did not quite sink in…….you hit the nail on the head …….if anyone is running behind it is I …..but great that I can just pluck the session out of the ether so easily…..thanks to all for waiting for the net to come good eventually …and hope the crows are more successful in their nest building……

  2. Rosalyn

    Dearest Geshe’la
    I tried to find the King of Concentration sutra on the web from 2nd century CE. Then found The
    Samadhiraja Sutra translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu ( a Theravada monk ) where he said 5 realisations arise from the sutra – one of which I liked, quote.
    “This concentration arises right within oneself,”
    “This concentration is peaceful, exquisite ,the acquiring of serenity ,the attainment of unity, not kept in place by the fabrications of forceful restraint.”
    Then Gomez and Silk wrote “Difficult to set in a specific sectarian context, it is eclectic and universalistic. ……the Samadhiraja played an important role as a proof text of the Madhyamaka”
    It was interesting to read a little about the text but I couldn’t find Maitreya’s poem of love either in Lam rim Chenmo or Shantideva’s ‘ The Way of the Bodhisattva.’ Or on the web.
    Please excuse me I seem to have fallen a bit behind .
    Thank you for these special teachings which arouse ones curiosity and hopefully increase a little ones understanding .

    1. admin

      Hi Ros, thank you for your great post. Love the quote. About Maitreya’s Prayer of Love, all the verses are on the site, you will just have to go through the blogs in order if you want to collate them – a fun project!
      Thanissaro Bhikkhu is also known as Than Geoff – we have heard good things about him. We’ve dipped in to his website and we can recommend his defence of past and future lives in his Satipattana Sutra commentary. We’d probably be fans if we had the time (and energy). Ah well.
      Take care,

      The Admin Team x

  3. Jane

    Dear Geshe la

    Thank you very much. Echo Ruth, very helpful advice. When external conditions are very hard and impossible to change, it is so helpful to draw on such precious words of guidance. I am glad the crows are starting over and thanks for all the patience and with Tri & Peter with the technology! I really appreciate my recently repaired kitchen tap – wonderful to be able to turn it on and have water coming out! I hope the exams go well and not too stressful for everyone – unlike the UK. The long life prayer for HH Dalai Lama sounded a little different ‘ ‘sol’ …

    I hope you and everyone stays safe and that the lock down continues to protect.

    Love to all


    1. admin

      Thank you Jane. Our technology is back on track, for now. We too were appreciative (or perhaps just relieved) for a short while, now we don’t really think about it, so you are a good example. This morning, at least, we will appreciate our working technology! And our running water!

  4. Ruth

    Dear Geshe-la, Thank you so much for this teaching, in particular for this specific advice on patience. I am sure I am not alone in appreciating your advice on how to keep gentle with the elderly through the long period of decay. And then also the wonderful uplift of the highest peaks of concentration which are available for us all to aspire to and wonder at.

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