Book Review: 8 Verses for Training the Mind

Eight Verses for Training the Mind, New EditionSo while reading Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, I had to take a detour.  I can’t explain why I am struggling through Rebel Buddha but I think about that later.  In the meantime, I decided to read Geshe Sonam Rinchen’s commentary on 8 Verses for Training the Mind.  Geshe Ngawang Phende at Drepung Loseling in Atlanta is currently in the middle of a series of teachings on root text.
I love to read Geshe Rinchen’s commentaries.  I find them very straight forward and accessible for students of all levels.  This teaching in particular is a wonderfully simple explanation of Langritangpa’s 8 Verses.  He expounds on each verse leading us though a practice to develop our love and compassion.  As Geshe-la explains:

Greater kindheartedness can transform our daily life and make all our activites meaningful.  This is something we can all practice whether or not we have extensive knowledge of philosophy.

The value of these 8 verses in incalculable.  His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama includes them in his daily medititations.  Geshe Rinchen tells us in the book to take one verses that appears to be revelant to our current circumstances and ponder it over and over until until we feel its effect.  By studying all the verses in this manner and putting them into practice we begin to use every circumstance in our lives a chance to strengthen the Bodhisattva qualities, of insight, kindheartedness, and concern for others and result in greater happiness, peace and contentment on our life.

The First Noble Truth

4nobletruthsThe first of the Four Noble Truths is the Truth of Suffering.

What is suffering? Buddhism describes three levels or types of suffering. This is called ‘the suffering of suffering’, the second, ‘the suffering of change’, and the third is ‘the suffering of conditioning’.

The suffering of suffering: the suffering of birth, sickness, aging, and death.

The suffering of change: things we would normally think as pleasurable.

The suffering of conditioning: What is the nature of things? Eveything happens in samsara is due to ignorance

(complied from ‘The Four Noble Truths’ by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, fourteenth printing – 2009)

In training the mind, perspective is of crucial importance.

In training the mind, perspective is of crucial importance. We cannot expect to transform our minds in a few minutes or even a few weeks, thinking, perhaps, that the blessings of an enlightened individual will enable us to obtain immediate results. Such an attitude is not realistic. It takes a long time, sometimes years or even decades; but if we persevere, there is no doubt we will make progress. ~ His Holiness. The 14th Dalai Lama

Mirrors and Us….

I am posted this because it has touched on something Nancy (Spirit Lights The Way) & I have commented on recently…maybe it will help you too? 🙂 It is from Tricycle, so feel free to go to their website for more information on this ….

“Pamela Gayle White, from Week 4 of the ongoing Tricycle Retreat, “Letting Go” that she is leading along with Khedrub Zangmo,

Something that has been very helpful for me is trying to understand just how subjective my own interpretation of sticky situations and difficult relationships can be. I have a story to illustrate this.

Once, during my first retreat with a group of people, there was a woman in our retreat center that most of the rest of us found irritating. We didn’t want to be irritated by her, for we were all trying to be good Buddhists, budding bodhisattvas. It bothered us that she was pushing our buttons continuously because that’s not how we saw ourselves—as ordinary neurotic people.

Of course, we talked about it, about her, as people do. Then one day four of us got together in one of the girls rooms and decided that each of us was going to write down what exactly it was about this woman, Therese, that bothered us so very much. We each got a piece of paper and a pen and were very happy to have a little project to work on. This was at lunch time so we weren’t breaking any retreat rules. We all sat down and wrote our pieces and then compared them. The result was a revelation.

One of the girls, who couldn’t throw anything away, said “Therese, she’s just such a packrat! She’s got this thing about grasping where she just can’t let go. It bothers me, I find it so irritating.” Then, the oldest among us had written, “Therese is just so old. She really doesn’t catch on very fast.” It was clearly about her own fears of getting older. Then the next of us shared that she had written “Therese, y’know, she just isn’t very swift.” This was the person who was having the hardest time learning the practices. Then, the fourth person, me, who has long been working with my natural tendency of being quite irritable, had written, “She’s just so irritable! There’s always this anger in her that is just waiting to flare up!”

We looked at each other and could see the problem wasn’t Therese at all. It was such a lesson.

Retreat isn’t just about practice, it’s also about these fabulous lessons that we learn about ourselves and others. Therese was a mirror that taught all of us. She taught me to ask, whenever I am having a difficult experience with someone, “what it is in me that can’t stand the mirror?”

*names were changed to protect the innocent

 

Book Review: ‘Surviving the Dragon’ by Arjia Rinpoche

Surviving the Dragon: A Tibetan Lama's Account of 40 Years under Chinese Rule Arjia Rinpoche was born in Tibet in 1950. He was recognized 2 years later as the 8th Arjia Rinpoche, the reincarnation of the father of Lama Tsong Khapa, founder of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism.
As the Arjia Rinpoche, he is the Abbott of one of the largest and most influential Monasteries in Tibet, The Kumbum Monastery. In his book, Surviving the Dragon, he tells the story of his life as first, a monk; second, a Tibetan under the occupation of the Chinese Communist Party; and third, a refugee without a home to return to.
I met Arjia Rinpoche when he came to Atlanta to visit Emory and Drepung Loseling Monastery. I was enthralled with his retelling of the travesties done to the 10th Panchen Lama at his death and the subsequent choreographed Golden Urn Ceremony to choose his successor.
As I read the book, I developed a great respect for Rinpoche as he illuminated the problems he faced growing up under the Chinese abuse. He tells of the times he lost himself in the secular world forced upon him by Communism and the great teachers that gave him inspiration to carry on and return to his roots. His struggles to cooperate and work within the Communist bureaucracy are illustrative of the intentions of the Tibetans and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way solution to the Tibetan problem. It also illustrates the intentions of the Chinese to never truly allow a compromised solution.
“The current regime in China is uneasy with political and social changes of any sort.  But if a federation of autonomous regions were ever to be established, if a democratic way of life were ever to prevail, then His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s dream of the Middle Way, his hope for a genuine autonomy for Tibetans and other minorities, could be fulfilled, At last minorities could be free to follow their particular religious beliefs and celebrate their unique customs.  The five stars on the Chinese flag could truly stand for the equality of China’s ethnic groups – the Han majority and the Tibetan, Manchurian, Mongolian, and Muslim minorities – just as the 50 stars on the US flag stand for 50 separate but united states.  Like those white stars in a field of blue, China’s golden stars would shine for free people’s who share the daunting but glorious duty of governing a free country.  Then the dreams of His Holiness the Dalai Lama will come true for Tibet — and for the world. This too is my dream;  this is my hope;  this is my prayer. “

His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked Arjia Rinpoche to write this memoir. He also asked him not to make any angry public statements against the Chinese despite his mistreatment by them. Rinpoche follows this request perfectly: he describes the abuses and mistreatment without any hatred or disgust, just as you would expect a Buddhist monk to.
Surviving the Dragon is an excellent book: a must-read for students of Tibetan/Buddhist history as well as an inspiration to the practitioners of the Buddha’s teachings. ~ Digging_the_Dharma

We’re in This Together

‘We’re in This Together

People need to see that if you hurt another person, you hurt yourself, and if you hurt yourself, you’re hurting another person. And then to begin to see that we are not in this alone. We are in this together. For me, that’s where the true morality comes from. ~ Pema Chödrön, “No Right, No Wrong”

Learning to care for ourselves and understanding that we are really in this together will help not only us but our world. It is my heart-felt wish that the worlds have peace. And this can only happen when we recognize that we are ALL in this together…Pema does such a great job in this article…please read it ..you will be happy you did!

 

May all sentient beings have happiness …always. _/!_