Practicing Dharma Authentically Means Commitment
When you really want to practice Dharma you want to carry on until you die, there is no stopping. Dharma practice is a
continuous journey–of course we want to continue until enlightenment but for now we need to think, “I want to do at least until death”.
Practicing Dharma: Sincerity and Reflection
But these days we notice so many people not going continuously, steadily, slowly, gradually moving upwards. Instead we see them going downwards, sometimes stopping and starting, sometimes completely stopping. They have lost all inspiration to practice.They have knowledge of dharma,they have understanding but they lack inspiration. Do we want to be like that? What is missing? What is lacking in this type of person? It is sincerity, it is reflection that is missing.
He or she is viewing the dharma as being “out there” –not right here! As soon as we can begin to view the dharma as internal, as being with us always then it becomes simple. The traditional view of dharma practice is very simple…we do the practice, we recognize the benefits but we let go of attachment to the result. We let go of our obsessiveness and allow the practice to become natural, a part of us.
Practicing Dharma: Allow the Benefits to Manifest
We need to learn how to make our practice dynamic, make it alive and JUST DO IT! No one other than yourself can convince you of the benefits. Science may explain the benefits, but we need to see this for ourselves. Reflect and allow the dharma to become dynamic, real, authentic. The teacher may explain the benefits and we will think inwardly, ” yeh, I know”, but without reflection no matter who tells us of the benefits of will not help. For example, if we watch a romantic film having had a personal experience of romance we will cry,we will be moved, it will be so touching. If we have had no romantic experience or perhaps a bad romantic experience then the story will not touch us in the same way.
The First Base or Ground of Dharma is Mind
How to explain to others about our dharma practice? We can explain as Rinpoche has done here in the video. It is not necessary to explain lots of fancy practices; just talk about the mind. To explain we need to find some common ground. The person listening has mind and the person talking also has mind. If you talk about something you do..meditation, chanting or whatever you will lose them because they do not do what you do…you have lost the common ground.
But they do have mind, you also have mind so there is common ground. We begin here. Mind has no nationality, no passport. Your name is given to you, your face is not you,face is changing, body is changing. Can we really have such a thing as a British mind? So we have neutral ground, whether we are British, American, Nepali. We all have ego, we all have anger, we all experience disappointment, so we have this same neutral ground. So the first thing in our practice of dharma is to understand the mind. Recognizing the power of the mind and yet also the fragility of the mind. This mind which one moment feels strong can change and become a victim mind. And mind changes so rapidly, we have no stability.
Practicing Dharma: Habit
Why is this mind so changeable, so fragile? It is because of habit? We have this habit of thinking….We have no habit of staying in one place..always moving like on a wild horse, galloping away. These habits soon become part of our nature, our character. So after meditation we may miss our anger, our jealousy, our habits so we search for them. We think that they are the real “ me” the real “ I” our real character, but no they are not, this is our mistake. Our true nature is not these changeable emotions and thoughts that are constantly moving through our mind.
So to recap we begin by examining our mind, looking at our mind, reflecting upon the strengths and weaknesses of our mind. And we acknowledge how very easily habits are formed–good habits and negative habits. These habits soon become thought of as us..who we are.We identify with them. But that is our first mistake; habits are not us.
So, begin with this investigation!
Begin our day with an investigation into our mind, what qualities do we have? What strengths do we have? What weaknesses do we have? What are our strongest habits? Are these habits helpful to ourselves and others or are they harmful?
At the end of the day, look back and again examine, “ Did I get totally lost in my thoughts and emotions today? Was I able to retain some mindfulness, some quality of remembering to check and examine this mind?”
Make this a new habit.. A habit of reflection, a habit of mindful enquiry.