This story from one of the previous lives of His Holiness Rangjung Rikpé Dorjé, the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa, was told in 1976, while his party drove through Jalandhara, a place in Himachal Pradesh. It was raining very slightly and peacocks were singing softly. His Holiness had the car stopped and said to his attendants, “I have come back to my motherland”. He then told the following wondrous story.
When people visit me in my monastery in Nepal, they sometimes ask, “Please introduce me to the nature of my mind! My plane leaves tomorrow morning, so I’m in a bit of a hurry!” It almost sounds as if they think the nature of mind is a special thing, a bit like a tourist attraction, which they have to see before they’re off to the airport. On other occasions, people talk to me as if I were a gardener and the nature of mind were a rare flower that they want to see and smell.
–Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
The Tibetan master Gampopa is famous for being the foremost student of Milarepa, the great yogi. He is unique in that he fused and combined the practice of mind training, which many of you know from the Dalai Lama’s lectures, with realization of the nature of mind. His writing style is very much down to earth, advice for simple living and easy to understand guidelines for making sure that we are on the right track. Some of his advice takes form of small handy lists to memorize, ponder and measure oneself against.
A continuation from, A Story From the Infinite Mind of the Gyalwang Karmapa: The two princes built a grass hut in the forest and lived there together. During the daytime they taught the dharma to animals and at night they meditated. One day, while meditating, the younger prince, Sun Moon, saw that the time had come for them to go and spread the dharma in their own country and in other places where it was still unknown…
Most people never question their day-to-day experiences. They accept whatever is felt and perceived as real. Without examining anything we will never penetrate beyond this illusion to see the actual state of affairs. Instead, we will regard everything that is impermanent as being permanent, what is unreal as being real. What an unfortunate, superficial and mistaken way of perceiving things!
The single vehicle is the understanding that all teachings are personal advice on how to soften rigid mind-habits, letting go of pointless aims, and then settling into a gentle presence that is both calm and kind. Our attention simply remains for a while in this way, at ease in itself with nothing that needs to be held or cast away. This aware steadiness is often called shamatha, being calm, and it is the basis for all higher or deeper states of authentic insight.
Reading sections out loud invites us to delve deeper into the material. It is too easy to just skim over difficult material while reading by yourself but what you found difficult someone else probably did too. I’m always amazed in a class to learn what I read but didn’t really understand when someone inquires about it!
The background for Tara practice in the Triple Excellence program, written down from the words of recent masters in the Tara lineage and original sources. It is important to know the source to fully trust that the teaching is authentic so one can practice with deeper confidence.
The power of bhakti is a swift path for those who are able to harness this energy in their spiritual awakening. The power of love, the power of the heart, can unlock an incredible force within us which cuts through all our conceptual thoughts.
You may wonder, is mind nothing? It still shimmers and flashes forth, like haze in the heat of the sun. You may wonder, is it something? It has no color or shape to identify it but is utterly empty and completely awake. That is the nature of your mind.