Buddhist Philosophy

~ November 10, 2015 ~

Knowing Dharma is Nothing: Doing Dharma is Something

Buddhist Philosophy • audio

Mind Creates Experience

In this audio clip from a talk at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Cooperstown in August 2015, Kyabön Phakchok Rinpoche describes how our mind creates our experience. Rinpoche explains that because we do not understand our own mind and its power, we have ups and downs. He suggests that we can learn from our own life experiences and use them to motivate our practice. Once we develop this habit, then we will not need to rely so much on outer circumstances for motivation; we will automatically turn toward our meditation training.

Changing our Experience

We can learn how to use our practice experience to “settle” down. Here, Rinpoche gives an amusing example of something we might all relate to when he describes what could have been a frustrating experience in mundane life. But, by bringing his meditation practice into the situation he did not get angry or waste a lot of time dwelling on a problem. Instead, he explains that he turned around the situation–not changing the result, but changing how he felt about it, or experienced it.

Knowing or Doing?

Rinpoche suggests that we often think that we know the Dharma because we come to retreats, or study books and do some hours of practice. And that’s great; we should know what to do.  But honestly, how often do we bring that practice into our life?

If we actually “do Dharma” then we can learn how to turn our experience around. If we don’t do this, we are like someone who continues taking poison even though we know that the poison will harm us. Giving in to our thoughts is exactly the same as knowingly swallowing that poison. Rinpoche reminds us that the choice is ours.

Rinpoche quotes his own Guru, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche and Indian masters : “Knowing the Dharma is nothing. Doing Dharma is something”. Let us take this teaching to heart and become people who “do Dharma”.

1 responses on "Knowing Dharma is Nothing: Doing Dharma is Something"

  1. Yes!!! I used to write reminders to myself on my hand…now that is usually relegated to my “smart” phone. But if there is something I really really really really want to remember (like “get gas” when the empty light comes on and I am driving to NYC later), I still write it on my hand. So today, I wrote “Do Dharma”. I will! Powerful reminder. Thank you Rinpochela!

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