Vision and mission: Buddhahood
Vision and mission are crucial elements for success in worldly endeavors. In Part One of this video teaching, Phakchok Rinpoche explained the importance of vision for the Buddhist practitioner. In addition, he described how meditators can investigate our own minds.
Now, in Part Two, Rinpoche continues discussing the types of mind. Finally, he gives very detailed meditation instructions including tips on correct posture and eye position. This video teaching is in English with Chinese translation.
To review, Rinpoche spoke about three types of mind:
Aspects of Mind
Rinpoche discusses different aspects of the “mind.” He specifies three categories and the details of the first two are laid out in Part One.
- Basic mind
- Habit mind
- Influenced mind
Rinpoche introduces us to what he calls our “influenced mind.” This mind is easily impacted by outside circumstances. We see this mind when we are easily disturbed by what we see and what we hear. When we both see and hear things at the same time, we tend to take things personally. If someone scolds you and looks angrily at you at the same time, it makes a deeper impact, right? Scientists have proven how deeply sensitive we are to body language and facial expression. So we need to accept that our mind is easily influenced by conditions. Because our minds are the minds of sentient beings, they are not independent. We tend to think we are independent, but that is not the case.
Don’t Take it Personally
We need to keep reminding ourselves, “don’t take it personally.” It is very easy to say that—and in the beginning, it may seem not so hard to practice. However, it takes some time to see how deeply this tendency is ingrained. The first impact of taking something personally may not be so bad. But the problem is that we tend to hold on to that feeling—we attach to it and solidify it. We make it into a habit—we take the influenced mind and create a habit.
Alternating Investigation of the Mind
That’s why in the beginning, we need to really investigate our own minds. First, we do that throughout our day by focusing our awareness within; we examine our own mental processes. We don’t look outside at the circumstances or situations, instead, we watch our own reactions. Secondly, we investigate our minds through meditation. And by alternating these two types of investigation, we can come to truly see our patterns. These two techniques: investigation during activity, and investigation during meditation, are two extremes of seeing how our mind functions. If there is a big difference in how our mind operates during these alternate periods, then we have more work to do. We should begin to see a balanced mind in both situations.
The Best Way to Learn meditation: Not Forgetting
Rinpoche explains that the best way to learn meditation is by “not forgetting.” We can’t trust our recordings or our notes—we make so much effort to take notes—but we leave the knowledge in our books. Not forgetting is really the key. We need to repeat what we learn until we absorb the meaning. Why do we use mantras? Mantra is a type of continuum—it helps us not to forget. That is the point. If we understand today, but go back home and forget, then there is little benefit. Reminding yourself is the practice. Not forgetting is absolutely the best way to learn. And what do we not forget? Honestly, we make so much effort to attend teachings, to try to learn, but sometimes we are not smart about how we go about it.
Correct remembering is the best aid on the path. This doesn’t mean that we memorize every word. But we should not forget the key subject, which is mindfulness. We need to remember the three types of mind. Basic mind, habit mind, and influenced mind. After we hear these categories, we need to remember them. We don’t just leave them as lists in our notebooks or in recordings that we don’t review. Instead, we go back and reflect and remember what we learned—think about these three types of mind. Sometimes, when we write so many notes, we are not really digesting anything. We need to digest what we hear—we need to rely on our own memories.
Meditation Instruction and Silent Meditation Practice Session
So now that we understand the three types of mind, we can learn how to meditate. Just as there are three types of mind, there are different mindfulness instructions. Here, Rinpoche gives instruction on basic meditation. First, he explains how to sit and to hold our hands lightly touching in meditation posture. When we meditate, we don’t slump forward, but we also don’t sit very rigidly.
In the video, Rinpoche demonstrates correct posture and eye position and discusses our focus. Again, he reminds us to keep the vision on buddhahood. By copying the Buddha’s instructions as we meditate, we are ensuring a good result. However, if we instead try to make lots of personal adjustments, then we may not have such good results.
Then, Rinpoche leads his audience in some minutes of silent meditation.
You may wish to watch this video portion repeatedly and take the opportunity to meditate at the same time. Having the inspiration of a teacher meditating with us can be supremely beneficial.
Showing Proper Respect
Finally, Rinpoche reminds us that we should conclude a meditation session with a respectful bow. Why do we do this? Because, we have created the samādhi stūpa, or meditation stūpa as we mediate. So we then pay respect to that stūpa by showing our reverence before we resume our normal activities. In the same way, when we enter a shrine room, we pay respect by bowing toward the statues. Similarly, when we receive teachings, we bow to the teacher and the teacher also bows in order to show respect to the Dharma stūpa, the teachings. We may know how to respect a physical stūpa, but it is important to understand that Dharma and meditation stūpas are even more precious.
For the first part of this talk on vision and mission see here: