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. The unusual trait in the following list is the tendency to reject things in our life, which instead easily could be used as fuel, like an uninformed gardener, who throws perfectly fine vegetable away believing that they are weed.
At the beginning we feel inspired to go deeper in life, due to meeting an unusually kind and wise person. Or it could be triggered by one inner extraordinary experience. Later on we want to reconnect with that, which is another way of saying that we got disconnected by something and may therefore believe that something must be renounced or rejected in order to be spiritual. While the most important thing to renounce is ignorance, it happens that other components in life become victimized or targeted for blame quite unnecessarily. Even though Gampopa dictated these lines to his students a thousand years ago, their timeless value becomes reactivated when we understand them and let their meaning inspire our life, mind and heart.
I like to explain number nine a little bit more. The path of means is a synonym for very specific tantric practices involving visualization, breath work, yoga, exercises and control of inner subtle energies.
Here are the eleven pieces of important advice not to be rejected by Gampopa.
- Don’t reject compassion, since it is the basis for helping others.
- Don’t reject experiences, since they are the natural radiance of your mind.
- Don’t reject thoughts, since they are the play of your innate nature.
- Don’t reject disturbing emotions, since they are the reminders of wisdom.
- Don’t reject sense-pleasures, since they are the water and fertilizer for experience and realization.
- Don’t reject sickness and suffering, since they are your spiritual friends.
- Don’t reject enemies and obstructors, since they are inspiration for realizing your basic nature.
- Don’t reject whatever comes naturally, since it is a sign of success.
- Don’t reject any type of path of means, since it is a stepping-stone for knowledge.
- Don’t reject the physical activities of a spiritual nature which you are capable of accomplishing.
- Don’t reject the intention to help others, even if your powers are feeble.
These were eleven things not to be rejected.
Featured image: Gampopa painted by Chogyal Rinpoche of Tashi Jong, India.
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