In this audio clip from a Dawn of Dharma retreat in August 2015 at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Cooperstown, Phakchok Rinpoche reminds participants not to forget the essence of teachings.
Rinpoche gives valuable advice on “slow infusion dharma”. His message is that we need to give the Dharma time to work. We combine diligence with gentleness. And we will be kind to ourselves if we don’t approach the dharma with a “timeline.”
Slow Infusion Dharma: Formal Practice
Rinpoche begins by reminding us what formal meditation practice means:
- Sitting down
- Reﬂection — trying to remember the key points.
- Trying to imprint the teachings in your head, not in a book.
What does a “formal session” mean? It does not mean, “sit down and focus.” Meditation means remembering, and not forgetting. And meditation means being mindful. It also means to bring about change or transformation. Meditation means to get free from “observer, meditator, judger.”
Slow Infusion Dharma: Start with Short Sessions
Rinpoche gives us his own guru’s advice for beginners. When we are beginning a meditation practice it is good to do shorter sessions. That’s because we need to be inspired to practice, and not to feel too tired. After we feel more inspired, we can gradually increase the time bit by bit. It increases naturally. It’s healthier that way.
We can inspire ourselves to practice by thinking of the conditions we have now. Rinpoche notes that he does this regularly himself. And because he personally believes in past lives and future lives that reflection helps inspire him. But he is not asking us to believe in previous lives immediately. Rinpoche reflects on his good life, good teachers, good practice, and his stable mind. He reminds himself that if he doesn’t practice now, these conditions are not guaranteed to last or to continue in the future.
Transformation Takes Time
The crucial point is transformation. It takes time. It won’t help to give ourselves a deadline to learn dharma. Deadlines sometimes make us feel rushed, or pressured–and we’re not allowing things to soak in holistically. Dharma will work if we allow it to touch us bit by bit — we can slowly infuse, like a sponge.
You will notice yourself slowly changing. Than after one or two years when you look back, you see the changes. It’s very interesting. So, please give yourself time!
When you sit down to practice, do you pause first to reflect on your current situation? Try to do this very consciously for the next few weeks. Do you experience any difference when you begin a formal practice that way? Are you more aware and appreciative of your precious human life? And would you like to share other ways that you find it helpful to practice slow-infusion dharma?