Maha Guru

A Big Heart and a Strong Mind

My aspiration for you in this start of a new year is that you grasp the key points of practice—in particular, keeping a big heart and a strong mind which in Tibetan is called “khokpa chenpo”. First of all, to be honest, even though we do need to study in order to gain deeper knowledge of the Dharma, when it comes to practice, a key ingredient is to keep it simple.

Understand Ignorance

Understand Ignorance to Reveal Buddha-Nature

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: Once Again Resting the Mind

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 in Meditation: Bring Back the Mind

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. 

Meditation Training With Focus

“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.

Mental Maintenance Creates Stability

“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?

Practicing Dharma: Continuous Journey

When we really want to practice Dharma we wish to carry on until we die. We don’t want to stop! Dharma practice is a continuous journey. Of course, we want to continue until enlightenment but as we begin, we can think, “I want to practice at least until death”.

Knowing mind

Knowing Mind

What is Dharma?…. Knowing Mind is Dharma When we hear the word dharma what do we think of? Often we think of sādhana practice, study, visualizations,