Last night after the talk one person asked Ringu Rinpoche what to do if negative emotions arise. He said even though negative emotions are natural things that happen just like waves in the sea or shadows which can’t be separated from ourselves, they do indeed bring suffering. Hence, there is a need to deal with them, not to let them become our master. The best thing to do is not to think about what has happened. In general, people have a tendency to be indulged in the emotions, no matter whether it is sadness or anger and thus hurt themselves. We keep thinking why things happen the way they do, why this and that person says something negative about us. We have to understand that it’s not useful to keep thinking about what happened. When sadness or anger comes, just observe it and understand that it will naturally go away, in the same manner as when it comes.
There are many ways for us to train our mind so that we know how to deal with negative emotions. One of the ways is to meditate. But meditation doesn’t mean simply to sit cross-legged in a prayer room. Meditation is to make our mind flexible so that it becomes the way we want it to be, as the following saying. “Let your body be on your seat, let your mind be in your body and let there be ease”. Meditation is a way to bring the mind home. The mind is here and now, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Timing is not important. It can be 5 or 10 minutes each time. We need to be relaxed and focus our mind on something positive, which can be as simple as our breath. We can do this anywhere. Meditating often and learning to understand the nature of all things will help calm our mind and bring more long-lasting happiness.
Rinpoche said many people complain that they can’t be relaxed because they are too busy and they have no time for meditation. He said that’s a wrong attitude because the busier we are, the more relaxed we need to be. This is because being busy can bring stress and anxiety which will do harm to ourselves. If we are relaxed, we can work more efficiently.
Growing Khadira (Acacia catechu) or Sengteng in Tibetan
Blessing the Stupa site
Blessing Krisadawan’s retreat cabin
Receiving the empowerment together in the Mantra Stupa
Our White Tara mandala. Thanks to Yonten, Ganda and Lassy for the beautiful work.
There are 3 categories of empowerments: Seed empowerment, path empowerment and fruit empowerment. When we receive an empowerment, we get permission to visualize the deity, recite the heart mantra and meditate. After the empowerment, we practice on the path. With diligence, joy and proper motivation, we gradually make progress until we reach the final result – the accomplishment or siddhi. That is when we can say that we have actually received the empowerment.
This evening Ringu Tulku Rinpoche finished his final public Dharma talk in Thailand. It’s the fourth one since Monday. On Monday he led a meditation session emphasizing the importance of understanding our own mind. Tuesday was an academic day with a keynote address on the Buddhist understanding of happiness. This was followed by a workshop on cultural integrity at the Gross National Happiness Conference. The day was concluded by a talk for the Foundation on meditation as an antidote to depression. Then Wednesday Rinpoche visited Tara Khadiravana and performed White Tara Empowerment there. He said he didn’t like rituals but his empowerment turned out to be elaborate and perfect. The best part is that he explained every single step of the ceremony. So we exactly know the true meaning of empowerment. Tonight Rinpoche talked on mind training. Some said it’s the climax of all of his talks since Monday. The teaching he gave, which he emphasized is not the monk’s one, but Buddha’s is like a nectar enriching our soul. We feel grateful to his compassion towards us and other sentient beings. May his activities increase and virtue grow in all directions!
Although our mind is like “monkey mind,” one good thing about it is that through practice we can gradually tame it and come to experience its luminous and calm nature. Ringu Tulku Rinpoche narrated an anecdote during Buddha Shakya Muni’s time. Buddha asked his students to go and fetch water from the Ganges. After they returned, he asked whether the water was clean. The students said it was not. Then he asked them to wait for a couple of hours. Then he asked them again whether the water was now clean. They said yes. Buddha explained that when water is not agitated, it is calm and clean from the beginning. Our mind, when void of emotions and kleshas, is also like that.
We just got back from the meditation session conducted by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. Rinpoche started by saying that he was asked to lead a 40-minute meditation. But he said if he meditated that long he might fall sleepy. Instead he preferred to say something about meditation, sit with the participants for some time, and take questions.
He said meditation was not the only way of Dharma practice. Others include proper view and right conduct – the way we look at things, the way we live our life and do our work, etc. Like learning to ride a bicycle or driving a car, meditation needs an experiential approach. But this experience has to be conducted properly with the right attitude. Rinpoche emphasized that there are many different ways of meditating and all are equally good. We choose the one we find most appropriate. All can lead to the nature of mind which is calm, lucid, luminous, peaceful, joyful and omniscient.
Yet, meditating in order to attain that level of mind is not easy because of our tendency to be affected by feelings and emotions. As soon as we want to sit and meditate, our mind becomes agitated. The problem is due to distractions or sometimes dullness (being sleepy or feeling unclear). In fact, the main obstacle is not so much on distraction itself as on being unaware. We are not aware of what is happening while we are meditating. If thoughts arise, we are aware that we are thinking. If there are noises, we are aware of sounds. We let things go on without being disturbed. We don’t get upset when meditating doesn’t turn out to be the way we want. We are alert, aware and relaxed. We live in the present moment. We are aware of the nowness. We can count our breath 1, 2, 3… or do other techniques. The main thing is we are a little bit aware and are very relaxed. We don’t control our mind.
In this way, it is wise to do short meditations, rather than do long ones. We should have a lot of breaks even in a single session. Rinpoche said sometimes during the break our meditation is better because we get a chance to be truly relaxed.
This past Sunday we had a good opportunity to contemplate on Vajrayana Buddhism and why it is important to do Ngondro or preliminary practices. Before the talk, we prayed and meditated on the kindness of the spiritual teacher who guides us on the path of enlightenment. We talked about the notion Ri-me “non-sectarianism” and why it is important for the Thai context. We also talked about Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism and how Tibetan Buddism fits in between the two. Finally, we talked about preliminary practices and other main practices in Vajrayana Buddhism.
A participant remarked that she learned more about Thai Buddhism by trying to understand Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tara Great Stupa for Peace and Harmony and the Thousand Stars Foundation have invited Ringu Tulku Rinpoche to give teaching on the following topics. Interested persons are welcome.
Rinpoche will give a talk on meditation as an antidote to depression at Room 302, Boromrajakumari Building, Chulalongkorn University, 7-9 pm.
Rinpoche will perform the White Tara Empowerment at Tara Khadiravana Retreat Center, Nongplub, Hua-Hin, 5-7 pm. Interested persons please contact Nuch at firstname.lastname@example.org or K. Areerat at email@example.com for transportation.
Rinpoche will give a talk on retreat and mind training at the Foundation House, 7-9 pm.
The maps to Khadiravana as well as the Foundation House can be downloaded at http://1000starsweb.googlepages.com/.
In addition, on Monday 26th Rinpoche will lead a meditation session at the Monterey Place, 7-9 pm. This event is organized by the Shambhala Practice Group. The Monterey Place is near the Queen Sirikit Convention Hall. Interested persons, please contact Dr. Andy Lowe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are no registration fees for all these events. Gift donations to Rinpoche will be appreciated.