Thursday, February 23, 2006
Heart advice from a laptop lama
Below are just a few extracts from advice that Ringu Tulku has sent his students. May they be of help and inspiration to whoever reads them.
On having a sense of humour:
I am very glad that you are better and even your humour has come back. It is important to treat life a little bit like a joke. It is good to laugh at yourself and at everything that is funny or not so funny. The more serious we take it the more serious life becomes.
On having compassion but not taking on the suffering of others:
This is not so easy to imagine for us at the moment as we do not know how to experience it, but it is said that you can have compassion and feel no suffering. It is maybe a little bit like sitting next to a man who is sleeping and having a nightmare. We know that the man is suffering and we may want to wake him up, but we also know that it is just a dream and there is really no danger.
It is matter of knowing that there is no need to have any fear for yourself.
On expectations and relationships:
All relationships are based on expectations. And the more expectations we have, the more likely it is that we will have problems.
The less we expect from others, the more we can appreciate the small positive aspects of our relationships.
On death and grief:
If you really realised that there is no death you would have no fear of death or grief for those who have died. But, until then, you have both fear and grief.
But if we can at least try to understand impermanence very deeply I think it prepares us a little for both our own death and the loss of others.
On meditation and being peaceful:
Please do some Shine meditation as I told you and keep simple and peaceful.
The mind will become clear naturally.
Please stop thinking about work and instead try to do a little meditation. Relax and let your natural peace shine out from within.
Do this either sitting up, lying down or walking.
There is no barrier in your meditation. To think that there is a barrier is the barrier. Nothing needs to happen. Just relax. Let your hair down and let your feet up. Just be without any pretension and expectation.
Who says something has to happen?
On the nature of the mind:
To know the nature of your mind is not an intellectual thing so please let it be uncontrived and you will slowly see it as something that is nothing to see.
Let the concepts and knowledge dissolve and then you will see the nature of your mind as a confidence that there is absolutely nothing to see and it is absolutely OK that there is nothing to see.
On being impatient:
Please don't be impatient. Don't expect to know everything all at once. Just meditate and learn to relax. Little bit of gardening is very good too. Also walks in the morning and evening.
You will slowly understand what I mean. No need to worry about anything.
Beliefs can be lost. Even understandings can be lost. Even experiences can be lost.
Only realisation cannot be lost. It is the clear seeing based on direct experience. Until then you cannot fully get rid of some level of un-clarity.
That is why it is not possible to say that your experience is real or delusion. Perhaps it is a little speck of understanding within the vast darkness of delusion.
I think to work on this we need to be as realistic as possible. No need to believe in anything. Just try to be as we really are.
This is to search for the truth; the practice and meditation. Let be, fearlessly, without bias and unchained by our cultures and habits.
When you are having a bad time try to recite Tara mantra and concentrate on a very bright and warm white light in your heart giving joy and pleasant feelings to every part of your body. Slowly let this light come out of your body and give the same to other beings too.
Do this for a few minutes and relax for few minutes alternately. See how you feel with this.
On being a good human being:
One must not see the path as a narrow footpath but a very broad highway. You can have lots of vehicles on the highway. The ultimate aim is get out of the Samsaric way of reacting which means to find the root causes of suffering and get rid of them.
To have that as the ultimate aim is seeking liberation or enlightenment. It is to become a really great human being.
To do that we need to start from where we are. And the first and most important step is to become a better human being. Actually to practice the way Buddha said, you have only three things to do:
1. Do no evil; try to find out what causes harm to yourself and others and try to refrain from doing them in body, speech and mind as much as possible.
2. Do good; try to find out what causes good and what helps yourself and others and try to do those things as much as possible.
3. Tame your mind; try to learn how to work on your negative emotions and habitual patterns and try to tame them. This is where the view and meditation comes in.
All these are ways to become a better human being.
TO TRANSCEND SAMSARA IS THE GOAL
TO BE A BETTER HUMAN BEING IS THE WAY
On being a good teacher:
I am obviously not the best teacher. A great teacher would know his/her students better and would know exactly what he or she needs to learn. I just teach from my experience and what I learned from books and my teachers.
I try to teach my students all that I know as equally as possible. I try to make them understand the Dharma as clearly as possible and try to clear their misunderstandings. I wish them all only betterment and try my best to help them in whatever way I can.
I don't know how to care for them any other way.
On attitude and the preciousness of Dharma:
You are right we cannot take anything for granted and we should be very happy and thankful when things are going well. We should learn to appreciate every good thing that we have. We should eventually learn that to accept pain and suffering also as fleeting and unreliable, just as the good things are, and therefore feel able to face them without too much fear and tension. Then we learn how to live in peace and joy.
Besides that, if we can do something that is good for others, then we have lived a useful life.
Everything is about attitude so you are practicing Dharma if you have the right attitude even if you do not do anything formal.
I think if one really starts to understand Dharma one cannot leave it behind because one cannot leave the truth, and there is nothing to leave. All Dharma related problems come from not understanding the Dharma in a proper way.
This is Samsara. The perfect situation is rare and even if it happens it soon changes. We need to let our minds rest and relax now in whatever situation we may be in. The time to be peaceful and relaxed is now, no matter what is going on around you.
There is no benefit whatsoever in being anxious, sad and despondent.