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Four Techniques of Mind Training

We just finished the first day teaching by HH Phakchok Rinpoche. It was a full day of inspiring and lively talk. Rinpoche emphasized the importance of taming our mind. He said many people might wonder how mind which is so corrupted by negative emotions and unwholesome thoughts can become clean. According to him, it does seem that our mind is like chacoal which is inherently black and can’t be washed away or whitened. But Buddha tells us that each one of us, even a dog and other kinds of beings, has the Buddha nature (tathagatagarbha), which is pure, clean and full of wisdom from the beginning. Hence, the task of taming our mind is possible.

Since our life is so active, i.e. we do so many things in a day, we need many techniques to train our mind. For example, when we work, we need one technique. When someone says negative things to us and we feel angry, we need another technique. When we go to temple and feel calm, we need one more technique. He talked about four specific techniques, namely (1) seeing one’s negative emotions and thoughts such as anger, jealousy, pride, (2) developing positive emotions and thoughts such as loving kindness, compassion, Bodhicitta, (3) examing the root cause of problem, which is the “me”, and (4) meditating without conceptual thoughts, no matter whether they are positive or negative ones. This can be done via shamatha meditation for peaceful mind and vipassana meditation for the understanding of the real nature of things.

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