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Only through cultivation, learning Dharma, and transforming karmic forces can you realize prajna, your intrinsic nature, liberation, and accomplishment.
S. H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III
Imparting the Absolute Truth Through the Heart Sutra

Understanding the Essence of Buddhism

Meditationsmatte und SitzkissenIn the West, the perception of Buddhism is often centered around meditation – the search for inner peace and tranquility through various meditation techniques to better cope with stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges. While stress management and relaxation can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health, this is not the primary goal of Buddhism. It’s important to understand that the essence of Buddhism is liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and the cessation of inevitable suffering. To this end, a profound understanding of karma – the law of cause and effect – is essential, enabling us to change our karmic forces to the point where we attain the highest enlightenment. The conscious decision to follow this path and dedicate one’s precious life as a human being is the defining motivation for becoming a Buddhist.

The Path to Enlightenment

To achieve the goal of Buddhism, it’s important to understand and actively practice two fundamental aspects: self-cultivation and Buddha-Dharma. We must learn and understand how the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas themselves attained enlightenment in order to eventually become a fully enlightened Buddha. The harmonization of our three karmas – thought, action, and speech – with those of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is very important.

On the path to enlightenment, it’s essential to continually deepen our insight into the Buddhist teachings. One key to a deeper understanding and implementation of these teachings is the study of the Sutras. These scriptures contain the defining concepts and principles of Buddhism that contribute significantly to self-cultivation and the practice of Dharma.

In our modern times, it’s essential that we have access to the relevant teachings and principles in a form and language that is clear and practical. This is where the Dharma discourses of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III play an important role. These discourses complement and expand upon the teachings given in the sutras in a language and style that is easier to understand and put into practice.


When we embark on the path of Buddhism, it’s important to start with self-cultivation. In essence, this means:

  • Bringing our thoughts, words and actions into accordance with the Buddha’s teachings.
  • Consistently turning away from all evil and bad to avoid bad karma.
  • Cultivating and strengthening good karma and compassionate thoughts.

Self-cultivation is the fundamental basis for benefiting from Dharma practice. It directly influences the insights and experiences we gain during our Dharma practice. However, it must be done with the right views and in the right order.

To understand what Buddhist cultivation is, one must understand the eight fundamental right views. In the Dharma discourse ‘What is Cultivation?’ by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, these eight views are described as follows:

  1. Understanding impermanence: In order to attain the true state of mind that is determined to leave the cycle of reincarnation, we must first understand impermanence.
  2. Firm belief: We must firmly believe in the sufferings of reincarnation, the cause of which is impermanence. Only with such a mind of firm belief will we fear the sufferings caused by impermanence and successfully achieve a state of mind that truly fears impermanence.
  3. Mind of renunciation: After attaining a state of mind that truly fears impermanence, the state of mind that is determined to leave the cycle of reincarnation will grow stronger day by day.
  4. True vows: Building on the first three states of mind, we vow to take action for the sake of sentient beings, understanding that not only we suffer, but all sentient beings suffer.
  5. Diligent mind: We continue our cultivation continuously and conscientiously.
  6. Precepts: We observe the precepts to avoid negative karma.
  7. Dhyana and Samadhi: Only the previous states of mind, enable us to attain real states through meditation and concentration.
  8. Bodhicitta: Now we can also practice bodhicitta, which is not empty and illusory, not a deluded and false state of mind.
Knowing these eight dharmas and practicing them with the right view is the correct practice of Buddha-Dharma. These eight fundamental right views, which are indispensable for cultivators, must not be taken out of order.
The Dharma discourse ‘What is Cultivation?” by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III explains what self-cultivation is and how to implement each step. This is the first and fundamental lesson to understand and put into practice.

Read the Dharma discourse ‘What is cultivation?’

Buddha-Dharma Practice

Although self-cultivation is indispensable on the path to enlightenment, it alone is not enough to achieve the goal of Buddhism – liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The practice of Buddha-Dharma is also necessary.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III explains in ‘Learning from Buddha’, “No one can attain enlightenment without cultivating oneself. But even with pure self-cultivation and without learning Dharma, one will not attain realization. Both are important and closely related.
When asked what Buddha-Dharma is, His Holiness the Buddha said, “Buddha-Dharma is a kind of Dharma transmitted by the Buddha, by all the Buddhas of the ten directions. It corresponds to the three karmas of living beings-body, speech, and mind. It enables living beings to eliminate their bad karma, increase their good karma, and perfect their efforts for enlightenment in order to attain liberation from samsara, awaken to the inner truth, and realize the state without death and birth.
Although the term “method” does not accurately describe the Buddha-Dharma, this term can be used to make its meaning more understandable to people today.
In the three-part Dharma discourse ‘Learning from Buddha’, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III explains why, in addition to self-cultivation, the practice of Buddha-Dharma is necessary to achieve true attainment and realization.

Read the Dharma discourse ‘Learning from Buddha’

Three steps to build a Dharma practice

In order to successfully establish your own Buddha-Dharma practice, the following three steps are necessary.

1. Finding a Dharma Teacher

The first step is to find a Dharma teacher. This can be a Rinpoche, an Acarya or any other qualified Dharma teacher. The teacher must be able and authorized to transmit the Buddha-Dharma within a lineage and to give the necessary guidance to students on the path. Choosing a suitable Dharma teacher is the first and most important prerequisite for developing a serious Dharma practice.

2. Taking the Threefold Refuge

The second step is to take the ‘Threefold Refuge’, which includes taking refuge in the ‘Three Jewels’ – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This refuge is the foundation of Buddhist practice. Added to this is the transmission of the ‘Five Precepts’ – no killing, no stealing, no improper sexual behavior, no improper speech, no ingestion of substances that intoxicate the mind – which is fundamental moral conduct for all Buddhists. This ceremony of taking refuge and transmitting the Five Precepts is ideally conducted by the Dharma teacher.

3. Requesting the Transmission of Buddha Dharma

The third and final step is to formally request the transmission of Buddha-Dharma. In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Dharma is transmitted in a direct relationship between the teacher and the disciple. However, before the disciple receives a specific Dharma practice, such as the yidam practice, the preliminary practices are first transmitted. These preliminary practices are also known as ‘ngöndro’ in Tibetan.

The Xuanfa Dharmazentrum is led by Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche. He is the contact person for all questions concerning the Dharma center, its practice and activities and is always happy to help.

Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche Profilbild

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Meditation cushion: Susanna Marsiglia on Unsplash

Learn more about Buddhism

Origin and development of Buddhism

Learn how Buddhism came to our world through Dorje Chang Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha and how it has divided into different vehicles – Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana – over time.

Four Phases of Dharma Transmission

Founded in the 6th century by Buddha Shakyamuni in northern India, Buddhism has spread to the present day in four phases, producing different streams of thought and practice.

Main Sects and Schools of Buddhism

The diversity of Buddhist schools and traditions should be seen as different paths to enlightenment, all of which are useful, just as one needs different kinds of medicine to cure a disease.
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