You can see the video of this teaching by clicking here. In fact, if you click you will find a small and growing treasure trove of teachings in the PTC PPV video archive. The cost per video is $20 to help support teacher visits and the cost of livestreaming. The archive includes two wonderful teachings by Khenpo Donyo about the enlightened female teachers who inspired the Shangpa lineage, Niguma and Sukhasiddhi, and their Vajra songs expressing the nature of mind. (The video archives are unavailable at this time.)
Now, back to Lama Tenam:
Rather than give traditional instructions on how to tame the afflicting emotions of desire, anger, ignorance, jealousy, and pride, Lama Tenam instead shared a personal instruction that he was given by his root guru, Vajradhara Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, for dealing with anything that might disrupt our equanimity. He also shared a very personal experience of how this helped him when he was faced with serious adversity.
Lama Tenam explained that the instruction is very simple and consists of a single Tibetan phrase repeated three times: ma yeng, which means don’t allow the mind to be distracted. For each repetition, there is a different focus.
On the first repetition, we remember that every single thing in samsaric existence is tainted by impermanence and other defilements, and results in suffering–“even if it looks nice.” In fact, “the best conditions can bring the best suffering,” i.e., the worst suffering. So we don’t allow ourselves to become distracted by and invested in samsaric experiences. “Whatever samsaric activity we are busy with–being the most educated scholar, the most successful politician, the best business person–all these pursuits are conditioned to give us suffering. None of them lead to ultimate happiness.”
The specific focus for each of the last two repetitions is explained in the teaching. Meanwhile, if we can just keep the first one in mind, that is plenty to work with!
Photo by Amber Roniger from the Palpung Thubten Choling Facebook page: