By Lama Yeshe
As you know, Tibetan Buddhism places a lot of emphasis on meditation. What meditation does is allow you to see clean clear what’s going on in your mind; through it you can see your conventional, superficial ego conflict. That’s the purpose of meditation. The moment you meditate you gain access to states of mind beyond your emotional ego conflict. In that way you’re able to view your mind as if you were looking at an external object, except here you’re seeing what’s going on within your mind.
All people have daily problems: ego conflict problems, emotional problems, various obsessions and so forth. We all have problems. But we’re also capable of seeing what lies in our mind beyond them. You shouldn’t think, “I’m pretty confused. My whole nature must be confusion. I have no hope of releasing my confusion or clearing it up.” That’s a wrong attitude; it devalues your fundamental human quality.
The reality of our human life is that we are capable of solving our own problems. We should understand very strongly that “My problems are my baby; I have to take care of them myself.” By thinking in this way we develop deep self-confidence. How do we come to that understanding? It’s because all human beings have wisdom and intelligence. Don’t think that human nature is total ignorance. We all have wisdom, love and compassion. Abandon thoughts such as, “I’m a completely angry person; I’m full of hatred. I have no love, no wisdom, no compassion.” That’s a completely nihilistic view of your reality.
When you trust yourself and feel confident, when you’ve had some experience of your own wisdom and compassion, you become more natural and allow your intuition to develop, but when you’re too intellectual and egotistic you damage your intuition. You’re born with intuition intact; your original intuition is uninfluenced by philosophy, religion, teachers or the environment. It’s there but it has to be protected in such a way that it’s allowed to function without being shut down and suppressed.
If we die a natural death, during the process, all our concepts—political, economic, societal, racial, capitalist, communist and so forth—naturally go into space and disappear. Anything we think about, any selfish attitude with which we take advantage of other people by thinking that we’re intelligent and they’re foolish, dissolves into space. And not only at the time of death—the process of going to sleep is similar to that of a natural death with respect to the absorption of the elements and concepts. In other words, every time we go to sleep, even then all our ego conflicts as well as the various concepts I mentioned before dissolve. That’s why it’s better just to go to sleep rather than get all emotional, stressed, agitated and angry. In sleep we go into a natural, fundamental state of consciousness in which our intellect no longer functions.
However, no matter who you are, it’s very important to know how your mind works in daily life, while you’re asleep and during the death process. It’s essential that you educate yourself in this. If you do, you’ll have no fear that dying is horrible, like falling into a black hole; that death’s a black hole that’s going to suck you in and eat you up.
From the moment we were born we’ve been destined for death. We think that dying is a big deal, worse than losing a job, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, husband or wife. That’s the wrong attitude. We think that dying is negative, but that’s just our projection.
Death is better than a flower, for example. A flower cannot give you tremendous peace and bliss. It can give you something, but not that. Death, however, can give you both: tremendous peace and tremendous bliss. Death is better than your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife because they give you very little bliss. They cannot truly solve your problems. They can alleviate emotional anxiety momentarily, perhaps, but not for long. At the moment of death, however, all anxiety and other emotional problems are totally cut off for a long period of time.
This is excerpted from Lama Yeshe's teaching on Life, Death and After Death. Read the full text on Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive here.
On 4-6 May, Thubten Yeshe (TY) will lead a lam rim retreat exploring the same topic through meditation. Full details here.
One of the important positions at VI is that of translator for Geshe Samten. Although Geshe-la often teaches at least in part in English, he prefers to explain the finer points in Tibetan. Venerable Yeshe has been Geshe-la's translator for the past 6 years but, sadly, he has decided to move on. Already those attending Geshe-la's teachings will have met Yeshe's replacement, Corey Jackson. Corey and Yeshe are currently sharing the translating before Corey takes over.
On behalf of all the students, I would like to deeply thank Yeshe for his service at VI. He has been an incredibly loyal and consistent translator – I can't recall Yeshe missing a single class due to being sick or tired or any of the many excuses I use for not attending teachings. In addition to translating, Yeshe has also done most of the cooking for Geshe-la.
Prior to taking up his new appointment at VI, Corey learned Tibetan at Thosamling Institute in India, where he also became a Tibetan language teacher. On returning to Australia in 2008, he was translator to Geshe Tashi Tsering at Chenresig Institute in Queensland. Already, students at VI have commented on the clarity of his translation. As well as translating for VI, Corey is also studying Sanskrit at Sydney University. A warm welcome to Corey and his partner Kirsty.
I'm also delighted to advise that VI is publishing a book of Geshe Samten's teachings. It is a crystal clear commentary on Lama Tsongkhapa's masterpiece, "In Praise of Dependent Arising". We are currently seeking sponsors to enable us to print the book. We need about $5000 to begin printing. To become a sponsor please go to this dedicated page on our website or contact VI office.
Sacred Relics: The Maitreya Project Relic Exhibition was held at VI on 9-11 March, attracting many people to view and receive the blessings of the relics. A big thank you to all sangha, staff and volunteers who help to make it a success. Photos of the exhibition are posted on our Facebook page.
Conference & Retreat: We have concluded yet another successful Happiness conference in March, this time at the Sydney Town Hall and right in the midst of Mardi Gras. We wish to thank all the staff and volunteers for their excellent work. Alan Wallace returned to lead our annual calm-abiding retreat from 27 March to 2 April with more than 60 people participating this year.
Impermanence@Work: We thank Ven Yeshe for all his tireless work at translating Geshela's teachings over the last 6 years and wish him all the best. And we extend a warm welcome to Corey Jackson, our new translator, who has begun translating Geshela's Tuesday and Saturday classes.
This weekend our senior teacher, Jampa Jaffe, will continue his teaching on the Wheel of Life in "The Ego Empire" teachings on Sat 21 April 2-5pm.
On Sunday 22 April 10-11am, we will be holding an Animal Blessing ceremony for our animal friends to place positive imprints on their (and our) mindstreams. You can bring a photo of your pets if they can't make the trip to VI. There will also be a release of butterflies and worms as a part of a short animal liberation practice. Then you may stay back for a cuppa and meditation.
Ven Robina Courtin will be visiting VI in May to lead a Vajrasattva Retreat and to give a free public talk on Wed 23 May 7-9pm. She will be talking on how to create a positive and joyful mind through meditation. Ven Antonio Satta will return to lead another Vipassana Retreat with us on 8-11 June.
Our Northbridge Meditation group, led by Phil Hunt, will be holding a two-day introductory course to the 16 Guidelines to a Happier Life on Sat 19 May and Sun 27 May 10am-4.30pm. Contact Phil at 9949 9882 for info and booking. The course will be held at Northbridge Aboriginal Heritage office.
A new book of Geshe Samten will be published by VI later this year. It is Geshela's commentary on Lama Tzong Khapa's In Praise of Dependent Arising. Carefully transcribed and edited by Daniel and Alle, it is now in its final editing stage. We hope to raise the fund for its printing. You can help by donating via this webpage or contact VI office.
Meditation can be understood as the cultivation and habituation of our mind to the different wholesome qualities within us.
When we start our own practice of meditation, we inevitably come face-to-face with our unique set of hindrances that seemingly obstruct us from enjoying a "peaceful" meditation. We find ourselves falling asleep or compulsively ruminating over the past or future, none of which is particularly pleasant. Instead of giving in to frustration or giving up on our meditation, we might want to consider our meditation practice as the very arena for us to learn to heal our mind and body, to gently face up to and clear away these hindrances, and to allow the natural healing abilities of body and mind to be activated and to do their jobs.
Different techniques of meditation will develop different qualities of our heart and mind. A skillful combination of different practices would address the various imbalances in our attention, emotional reactions and thinking habits. A solid practice of mindfulness helps to remedy our "mindlessness," while nurturing the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion cannot but help to improve our relationship with self and others. When we discover that there is a ready source of peace and happiness to be found within ourselves, we will find it so much easier to shift our priorities to order to create the space and time to meditate.
Moreover, this does not have to be a lonesome path. We can join with others in meditation and receive support from fellow meditators and teachers. I have listed the various meditation classes and groups related to VI below for your reference. I hope one or more of them would kick start your meditation and keep it going, accompanying you on your healing journey into life.
VI outreach meditation groups run a how-to-meditate course entitled "Happy Mind, Happy Life," starting 23 April. There are groups at Northbridge, Newtown, Sutherland Shire, Paddington/Woollahra, Avalon and Rouse Hill. Full details here.
At VI, we will be having a one-day retreat on How to Meditate on Sunday 29 April 10am-3.30pm, a part of our Discovering Buddhism series taught by Wai Cheong. You can also join our regular Learn to Meditate classes on Tuesday and Wednesday or the Drop-in meditation sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Full details here.
A Lamrim retreat with Thubten Yeshe (TY)
Non-residential, 4-6 May
with Ven Robina Courtin
Non-residential, 18-20 May
with Ven Antonio Satta
Non-residential, 8-11 June
with B. Alan Wallace
Residential, 22-28 October
Tuesday 3 April to 26 June 7-8.30pm
Thursday 5 April to 28 June 7-9pm
Saturday 12 May, 16 June
with Jampa Jaffe
Mon & Tues from 16 April
with Jampa JaffeSat 21 Apr, 26 May, 30 June
with Wai Cheong KokMonday 30 Apr to 28 May
with Ven Chokyi
Wednesday starting 2 May
with Jampa Jaffe
Tuesday mornings 11am
with Wai Cheong Kok
Wednesday evenings 6pm
with Wai Cheong Kok
Wednesday mornings 11am
Wednesday 7pm &
with Dana ClarkeTuesday mornings 10am
with Anna Carmody
First Sunday of the month
at Vajrayana Institute
Sunday 22 April 10am
with Ven Chokyi
Sun 13 May
with Ven Chokyi & Wai Cheong
Sun 29 Apr; 13, 27 May; 17, 24 June
with Renate Ogilvie
Sun 24 June
Sydney Exhibition & Convention Centre
21-22 June 2012
Sydney Exhibition & Convention Centre
29-30 October 2012
|Fri May 24 @10:00AM - 12:00PM|
|Sat May 25 @ 4:00PM - 05:00PM|
Animal Blessing on Sakadawa
|Sat May 25 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM|
|Sun May 26 @ 9:00AM - 03:00PM|
|Sun May 26 @10:00AM - 03:30PM|
DB Retreat Day: How to Develop an Altruistic Heart
|Sun May 26 @ 4:00PM - 06:00PM|
Practising the Path Study Group
|Mon May 27 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM|
DB: How to Develop the Altruistic Heart
|Mon May 27 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM|
|Tue May 28 @10:00AM - 11:00AM|
Meditation for Parents & Bubs
|Tue May 28 @11:00AM - 12:15PM|
Learn to Meditate