Concept & Vision
Vajrayana is complex
Many of the practices of Vajrayana Buddhism are a lot more complex than meditation in other Buddhist traditions. Where the technique is usually no more difficult than the popularized de-stressing meditation promoted almost everywhere these days.
Way-back when: a lifetime challenge
Traditionally the students would spend a lot of time with a teacher to receive instructions, study the “theory” before they apply it. And then apply it and go back to the teacher with any questions for more details, corrections, and further instructions. In the mountains in Tibet (and before that in ancient India) these students would often give up their normal lives and travel a long way to then live close to their teacher while they were learning and developing their own practice. And those societies were largely and generally supportive of this kind of lifestyle.
Now: even the casual student…
This flavour of Buddhism left Tibet and spread around the world in the wake of the Chinese invasion and cultural revolution just like it went from India to Tibet about a thousand years ago in time to evade the wholesale destruction of Buddhism in India at the hands of the invading Muslims. Over the fifty-plus years since coming down from the mountains conditions for study and practice have changed significantly: these days you can go to see the greatest teachers and listen to their teachings for not more than the price of a plane ticket and a couple days travel. Or they even come to visit your home town anywhere in the world. Back in Tibet or India people would travel tediously for weeks and months in order to see a teacher. Only to find that the teacher had moved somewhere else in the meantime and they had to spend another half year or so tracking them down.
Today you can even find transcripts or recordings of the highest teachings on the Internet.
…has easy access while the teachings haven’t gotten any simpler
This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in these ancient and precious teachings: they have never been as easily available as they are now. The downside of course is that instead of a handful of extremely serious full-time students attending a teaching (allowing the teacher to work with each of them individually and in-depth) you now get hundreds if not tens of thousands of more or less interested, and rather less than more committed listeners at any given teaching. Some students, based on their particular situation, will still get close access to teachers and will thus be able to progress quickly on the path. But for most potential students the quality of access remains as low as the quantity of access is now great.
A new quality in learning may solve this
The complexity of the practices however is such that you cannot really hope to accomplish much unless you have a chance to learn and study them in depth. And this is where eLearning has the potential to shine both in its ability to help more people learn with higher quality regardless of their lifestyle and thus to attract a significant number of students. The former of course being a condition supporting the latter.
Dharma-eLearning is especially useful for visualizations, chants, and other complex practices and practice elements that are best learned in an iterative and incremental way, adding aspects as the practice progresses and develops. For this purpose Dharma-eLearning will offer step-by-step guides with visual and audio aids for each practice as well as a number of other features:
- learners can explore all aspects of a practice in increasing levels of detail in order to accommodate their own learning curve
- content is offered interactively and in as many different media as possible to accommodate different learning styles and speeds
- includes original text & transliteration, recorded chanting / recitation of original, spoken and written commentary with detailed instructions for practice as well as interactive game-like (where appropriate) exercises
- learners can ask questions and share experiences online in a (closed) community
- and in addition: interactive, illustrated meditation texts (landscape-format for on-screen use) as well as chants and recordings as mp3/mp4 files for separate listening/viewing
The vision: all practices as Dharma-eLearning
Dharma-eLearning’s vision is to make all practices of our lineage available – content-provided and quality-ensured by our best teachers – to all (qualified) students* for deepening their understanding and improving their practice’s quality when and as they need it; with an online community and active involvement of teachers for support.
In order for Dharma-eLearning to be of maximum benefit to the largest possible audience, we are working on extending the initial cooperation between Dupsing Rinpoche and his student to include other prominent teachers of our lineage and possibly beyond. The support and contribution of a number of teachers has been humbly requested.
(*Of course only after obtaining wang, lung, and (initial) instructions from a qualified teacher.)