When I avoid conditions that disturb me, / Emotional afflictions lose their strength.
When there are no distractions to engage me, / My dharma practice grows to fill the space.
Awareness – knowing – rigpa clarifies, / And certainty in dharma dawns and thrives.
On solitude and silence to rely: / This is the way a bodhisattva trains.
verse 3 chanted 3x.
verses 1-3 chanted 1x.
Verse 3! I think this may the hardest challenge of all in our 21st-century lives so rich with technology and other distractions. We will spend another week on verse 3, so please continue your study, contemplation, and meditation on it.
OK, the title is a trick–as we know, compassion and wisdom are complementary, and in the end of course there is no difference between them at all. Buddhahood, enlightenment, full awakening is the ultimate development of both, and they are ultimately undifferentiable, like any qualities we may ascribe to the nature of mind for the purpose of discussing it. Buddhahood is sometimes likened to a bird with two wings–both wings have to function fully for flight to take place.
I hear a lot about the importance of engaged Buddhism, putting compassion into action, not thinking it is enough to sit on our cushion or chair and meditate. Sometimes there seems even to be an implication that sitting on the cushion is indulgent compared with being up and about to help others in active ways. Why waste time in solitude when so many are suffering?
“There is no problem other than the thought.” –Lama Norlha Rinpoche
When I was running a household and raising my daughter, I eventually learned to streamline the more mundane aspects of my life, such as housework and meal preparation, with the help of an online housekeeping maven who emphasized the importance of having household routines—things you do automatically on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis without thinking about them.
I keep meaning to add new posts but golly it is a busy life, even when it’s a life that is to all intents and purposes dedicated to Dharma practice. It’s hard to bring major projects, Dharma or otherwise, to fruition because they are constantly interrupted by more immediate concerns, and the to-do list is mainly a historical record of things I meant at one time to get done.
Why is it so hard to set aside meaningful periods of time to focus on things that are really important?
I took refuge with Lama Norlha Rinpoche on October 29, 1980.
I had met him just a few days earlier, when I attended a meditation session at his center in New York City with my friend Carolyn. I never expected to be a Tibetan Buddhist; I was more attracted to the economy of Zen practice. But in a year or so of meditating at Zen centers in NYC, I had somehow not yet connected directly with a teacher.
I went to Lama Norlha’s center just to see what it was like. After an evening of chanting, a short teaching, and a brief interview, I had no idea what this strange practice was about, but I knew for sure that I had found my teacher.
Suppose someone gave you a treasure map, with a guarantee that if you followed it, you would find a million dollars at the end, and it would be ALL YOURS—no taxes, no fine print, no legal hassles. What would you do? Who wouldn’t drop everything that could possibly be dropped and devote every spare minute to the pursuit of such a fortune?