Gateways to Practice

The Three Doors

In Buddhism, there is the teaching of the Three Doors: Body, Speech, and Mind.

The 1st Door
The 1st Door
The Mandala of Our Existence


We awaken through this body, the temple, the mandala of our existence is the body itself. In the Chod teachings, it is said that this body is the sacred mandala: the torso is the center, the four limbs are the four cardinal directions, the eyes are the sun and the moon, the organs are the continents, the blood and vessels are the rivers and oceans, and so on. In this way, our body is our temple, so therefore we should take good care of it, we should nourish it with wholesome foods and medicines, we should cultivate it through physical practices such as yoga and exercise, we should allow time for rest and rejuvenation. As my first yoga teacher used to say, “Manifest, then take a rest.” In Tantric Buddhism, we embrace our humanity, we transmute the cravings and aversions into the path of awakening. We enjoy our sensory experience and celebrate what it means to love, live, and die in this physical dimension.
The 2nd Door
The 2nd Door
Words, Mantra & Breath


This is the door of our words, as well as mantra and our breath. Our words reflect our thoughts, so we must choose our words carefully and try to speak with love and care. The Buddha taught that instead of divisive speech, we should try to heal discord and bring people together through skilful speech. He taught instead of empty chatter, remain silent and use your precious time for Dharma practice and mantra recitation. Another word for the Varjayana is Mantrayana, the vehicle of mantra. So replace meaningless chatter with mantra recitation as a way to awaken through the door of speech. Also, breathe in a balanced and nourishing way. Practice meditation and pranayama so that you can balance your winds/prana in the body and live a healthy vibrant life. It is said that when the prana is balanced, the mind is happy and content. We can do this by practicing the nine purification breaths, the gentle vase breathing and other pranayamas to cultivate balanced prana within us for the benefit of ourselves and others.
The 3rd Door
The 3rd Door
Changing the Habits of the Mind


The mind, as the Buddha said, is the chief, the foremost in terms of our spiritual practice. It is the mind, and our karmic imprints that are stored in our mind stream, that travels from life to life, so we must cultivate our minds to adopt virtue and abandon non-virtue. Instead of anger, cultivate patience, instead of hatred, cultivate love and compassion. If we cultivate loving states of mind, we will feel more love and joy in our life. It is in meditation where we cultivate our positive mental states, we retrain our neuronal pathways towards mental states that bring us peace and happiness. It is through contemplation that we first meet the truth of what swirls in our minds moment to moment, it usually isn’t a pleasant experience, but then through applying the teachings we learn to train and purify the mind so that our internal atmosphere is more spacious and enjoyable. This is possible. We have this beautiful capacity to change the habits of the mind. HHDL says that the good news about habits is that they are learned behavior, and learned behavior can be unlearned. How wonderful! Eh Ma Ho!

Recordings and Resources

Open the 3rd Door


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