Most of our life in the world is the mind directed outwards. For most of us, this is how it needs to be, but we know there is this whole inner world of ours that is the foundation for the quality of our entire life, and all our relationships. If that inner life is thriving, healthy, enriched, liberated, illumined, then everything we do gets that benefit.
“I learned that well-being and happiness are things that have to be obtained from within yourself. No one is going to give them to you. You have to learn to be wherever you are and to appreciate that, to be with it and be happy with it, not to hope for anything else at that particular moment. ” In these words, Lama Tashi summed up the experience of his three and a half years of retreat, traveling through the Himalayas of India and Nepal.
Many ancient Asian meditation practices have come to the West since the early 60’s. But are they of benefit in this modern day and age? We have lost our groundedness and centeredness due to being more in our heads, we constantly ask why, how, who, what, when? And therefore we are always analyzing and over thinking things.
In 2016 I was fortunate enough to visit several power places of Padmasambhava, spending some weeks in retreat at one, and doing meditation and puja at others. I will share some of my experiences in the hope of encouraging others to visit these holy sites which confer blessings even though one lacks faith or even interest.
During five weeks in Nepal, mindfulness teacher Rikke Braren Lauritzen tested the waters at a traditional nunnery and discovered that it is possible to fuse a spiritual path which draws on both the old wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings and the modern scientific-based interventions used in the Mindful School program, to support the new generation of young monastics living in the 21st Century.
According to Tibetan Buddhists, when a great master reincarnates, though he still retains the level of realization he attained in his previous life, he needs to go through the process of remembering it through formal instruction in this life so as better at teaching others.
The first day is not as silent as you might think it would be. The invading noises of bats, jungle, and ocean blend in flurried motion to become that deeper internal silence that negates all commotion. Disturbing isolation becomes a comforting meditation.
A poetic description of a pilgrimage through the eight main sacred buddhist places of Northern India by Pema Dragpa.
The births of all who dwell here are free of pain. Following the ways of their ancestors and the guidance of elders. They are raised according to the inner path of meditation, and cultivate the outer paths of art and warrior discipline. Their manner is dignified, direct and considerate, and their lives are untouched by sickness, hunger, unhappiness or poverty. Both men and women are true warriors, but live the lives of ordinary household.
Neither wild monkeys, nor snakes or other poisonous animal life could dissuade me from staying in retreat, not even these huge reptiles and the fear they triggered in my mind. But now a larger problem occurred.