Mangala Shri Bhuti - The Link
Summary: Mangala Shri Bhuti is pleased to announce weekly teachings by web conference by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dungse Jampal Norbu, Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, and students of Mangala Shri Bhuti.
Dungse-la reflects on 2020 as a year of learning through adversity. When the defects of samsara are so plainly evident, so is the opportunity of working with our mind by honestly investigating our reactions to impermanence and other difficulties, noticing where we contract into self-centeredness.
Scott Gallagher reflects on Rinpoche's new book "Peaceful Heart": In order to extend warmth and open-heartedness (Tibetan: tsewa), we need to cultivate patience, tolerance and forbearance. We can do so by applying a variety of skillful means. Instead of shrinking from situations that challenge our patience, we can choose to view them as opportunities to grow. In addition to changing our perspective about future events, we can explore past experiences, reflecting on why we were unable to align our actions with our intentions, identifying the habits and tendencies that disturbed our mind, and applying lessons learned from the past to meet future circumstances more effectively. Through the practice of shamatha, contemplation, and the cultivation of curiosity, humor, and a nonjudgmental attitude, we can gain greater awareness of our habitual responses and empower ourselves to meet any circumstance with greater self-confidence, open-mindedness, and fearlessness.
By applying the five slogans of Machik Labdron to our experiences we can challenge our ego, cut through assumptions and false beliefs, and gain skillful means and wisdom. The slogans are: 1. Confess your hidden faults. 2. Approach what you find repulsive. 3. Whoever you think you cannot help, help them. 4. Anything you're attached to, let it go. 5. Go to the places that scare you.
To gain liberation from suffering, we need to investigate how our experiences arise from a mistaken understanding of the self. Failing to recognize our Buddha nature, we misperceive the self as separate and solid, a view that gives rise to the desire to protect and cherish ourselves. In turn, the attachment and aversion that arise from self-cherishing generate neurotic tendencies that cause suffering. We can liberate ourselves from this cycle of misperception, affliction, and suffering by noticing how the self manifests in the continual appearance of the "little" things we experience---the moments of tension, reactivity and irritation that reveal self-clinging and self-protection. As we investigate and reflect on the experience of suffering (dukkha), we begin to see precisely how our mistaken view of self generates suffering. From this insight the liberating release of renunciation arises naturally. The four maras, which exemplify the obstacles produced by a deceptive understanding of self, are dispelled once we realize they are illusions produced by our misapprehension of our true nature.
We cultivate the blessings of the lineage by contemplating the four thoughts that turn the mind to the Dharma, by keeping an open heart, and by remembering the ultimate purpose of engaging in the three pillars. The four thoughts that turn the mind towards the dharma---our precious human birth, our impermanence, the karmic effects of our actions, and the truth of suffering---remind us of the importance of taking advantage of our good fortune in being able to practice Dharma. The purpose of engaging in the three pillars of the path---practice, service, and study---is to renounce self-centered attitudes and self-grasping ignorance in order to discover the ultimate truth and to benefit beings. It is only by accumulating merit in these ways that we can receive the blessings of the lineage and progress on the path.
Three approaches can help us to avoid self-aggression when working with habitual patterns of thought: an outer approach (seeking external support); an inner approach (self-reflecting), and a secret approach (recognizing the nature of interdependent origination). The outer approach, which relies on using external supports such as maintaining practice records or working with "practice buddies," is a useful though limited way to cultivate beneficial habits of thought and to challenge harmful ones. The inner approach, which relies on self-reflection, engages us in investigating the thoughts that present obstacles to progressing on the path; it has the added benefit of allowing us to develop our resolve and to understand how our thought process imputes our reality. Finally, the secret approach, which involves recognizing the nature of interdependent origination, provides a broader context for understanding how habitual patterns of thought arise and how we can free ourselves from them by coming to understand their true nature.
Authentic engagement with the Dharma begins with directly acknowledging impermanence, renouncing attachment to it and seeking refuge from it. When we use distraction and denial to avoid confronting the reality of old age, sickness and death, we are shocked when it touches us directly. Resisting the truth of impermanence and clinging to our attachments and addictions only give rise to suffering; recognizing and accepting impermanence is the ground for renunciation and refuge.
To cultivate, maintain and renew an intimate relationship with practice, it is helpful to return to the basic practice of shamatha to relax and settle the mind. Dry spells, arising from conditions both internal and external, are natural and inevitable aspects of being on the path. Learning to work with them is essential. One way to navigate such dry spells is to return to the basic practice of shamatha to cultivate calm abiding and to nurture an intimate relationship with the mind.
This is a re-broadcast of a talk Rinpoche gave on March 18, 2001 at Phuntsok Choling in Ward, CO.
This is a re-broadcast of a talk Rinpoche gave on August 29, 2004 at Osel Ling in Crestone, CO
This is a re-broadcast of a talk Rinpoche gave on July 11, 1999 at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde in Leggett, California.
Amidst the heightened suffering in the world today, it is vital to develop a positive relation to impermanence, suffering and death. We are experiencing natural disasters, political and social upheaval, and the Covid19 pandemic, all of which have caused profound suffering and death for billions of beings. As practitioners we are called upon to respond to this suffering through practice, prayer and meditation. Deepening our understanding of suffering, death and the dying process can enable us to develop a positive relationship to our own life and death and to support others to do so as well.
When we take refuge in the Dharma, we renounce violence against beings. To adhere to this vow, we need to cultivate awareness of our body, speech and mind through practicing the three wisdoms. In taking the refuge vow we commit to nonviolence, one of the four virtuous disciplines. The practice of nonviolence requires us to adhere to four precepts: never to repay abuse with abuse, never to be angry in return for anger, never to strike back when struck, and never to expose the faults of others when they reveal our own. To understand, accept and practice these disciplines we need to recognize and overcome the obstacles presented by our habitual and conventional mindsets, and to remember that the Buddhist wisdom tradition seeks not to control behavior or adhere to dogma but to cultivate authentic wisdom and alleviate suffering, which arises from self-grasping ignorance. As the Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche recalls one of his teachers saying, with "genuine renunciation toward self-importance, half the Dharma is accomplished." The process of seeing, understanding and dissolving this ignorance takes place through engagement with the three wisdoms-hearing, contemplation and meditation.
In a talk originally given on 12/06/2010 from Bir, India, Rinpoche reminds us how fast time passes, from a day to a month, a year and then our entire life. What will we have made of this precious opportunity? How do we determine what is important, and not? Will we talk in the footsteps of those who have made communicating the dharma to others their priority?
Dungse-la discusses change and impermanence as being the very nature of things, what enables everything to function. In our self-cherishing and fixations, we resist change and therefore suffer. However, we can choose to rest in change by engaging a bigger view that acknowledges the reality of impermanence and constant change. For example, we can place the changes we are experiencing in the larger perspective of history.