Tulku Migmar Tsering introduces the concept of Buddha-nature using a series of traditional examples.
Understand ignorance. Why would we need to do that if we are studying our minds? Most of us come to meditation retreats or Buddhist teachings because we are searching for answers. We know that we are unhappy, or anxious, or we may just feel like something is not quite right. If we have studied for some time, we may have heard a lot about how we are confused by ignorance. But why do we need to understand ignorance? Because if we just think that we suffer from ignorance, we may start to think of ignorance as something solid and unchanging.
Repeated Placement is the third stage of our calm abiding meditation. In shamatha meditation, our practice proceeds gradually so that we are able to quickly recognize when our attention wanders off. Here, Tulku Migmar Tsering explains how repeated placement works.Repeated placement means that as soon as we notice we are distracted we bring the mind back. Here Tulku explains that if we allow our wandering to go on, it makes the mind very “heavy”. And then it is harder for us to be mindful and to meditate. So he suggests that we learn to do this in three seconds–don’t forget our focus.
Continuous placement, or establishing continuity, is the second stage of calm abiding meditation. When we practice calm-abiding or shamatha meditation, we’re gradually retraining our minds. When we practice continuous placement we don’t have more thoughts than we had before. In fact, we are making a big step in managing our minds. We are noticing when the mind wanders and how many thoughts we have. Normally we don’t pay any attention to that process.
Tulku Migmar explains that Mindfulness is an exercise everyone can practice, notwithstanding their religion or lifestyle.
“Meditation training with focus” takes many forms. As we begin to build a habit of mindfulness, we can use one or more of these techniques. For example, in a meditation session or sometime in our day, we may focus our attention lightly on a sound. How so? We simply rest our mind on the sound of our choice. Then, when we notice that our mind has wandered away, we gently guide it back to the sound. That’s all there is to it–bringing our mind back to the object of focus again and again. We call that process “mindfulness”. In this video teaching, Tulku Migmar Tsering advises us on how we can use meditation training with focus to cultivate a habit of mindfulness.
When we hear the word “meditation” we may think that we can’t keep still for an hour and be calm. But, as Tulku Migmar as explains here, the point of meditation is the process itself. When we meditate we are cultivating new habits bit by bit in short periods.
“Mental Maintenance” means working with our own minds. Anxiety, depression, and stress can affect anybody. First, we need to take care of our actual physical needs, but then we also should care for our minds. Mental maintenance signifies stability. So first, it is good to investigate our own minds. Are they stable? Are we in control of our minds?
In the Vajrayana context, practitioners utilize the bell and dorje as important symbolic ritual items. At the outer level, these two implements represent the indivisibility of means (vajra) and the wisdom recognizing emptiness (bell).
Tulku Migmar explains in this video clip how we can begin to work with the profound practice of Tonglen. Moreover, he advises how we can incorporate this “Beginner Tonglen” within any of our meditation sessions.
Malas have become so popular these days that many people are unaware of their deep spiritual meaning. Phakchok Rinpoche often teaches that we should regard our malas as our best friends in reminding us to practice.
Calm abiding meditation forms the backbone of Buddhist meditation practice. Without developing a solid foundation in this core practice, we will not be able to settle our minds. Traditionally, we spend months or years learning, practicing, and experiencing the results of calm abiding meditation before we move on to other practices. And we never abandon calm abiding: this simple technique recurs throughout all types of Buddhist meditation.