Our minds are full of thoughts, full of afflictive emotions, and full of unhappiness. This is why dharma practice is really indispensable to us all. We can’t really do without it. It is better when we practice because right now our minds are completely under the control of our afflictive emotions. If we apply ourselves to the practice of dharma, it becomes the antidote that we need for our afflictive emotions.
Science of mind occupies a great deal of attention in Buddhist philosophy. This is not some new development; ancient Buddhist texts include major treatises investigating the mind. So, when we begin investigating the mind scientifically, we need to ask some fundamental questions. What is the mind? And how does mind arise–what causes it? How does our mind function?
We’re busy people and have lots of responsibilities and activities, so often we may forget to engage in self-reflection. But, we may want to look carefully at what we prioritize. If we don’t make time for self-reflection, we don’t need to apologize–but we should remind ourselves how important this is. And we should begin our meditation sessions with a few minutes of reflection–don’t leave it to the last thing we do. If we form the habit of checking ourselves, we are actually taking steps toward becoming a bodhisattva, a buddha.
We have a lot of negative emotions, don’t we? And traditionally, Buddhist teachers explain that the antidote for our negative emotions is the application of the Dharma. Defining what we means by Dharma thus becomes crucial. Implementing, or putting into practice, the Dharma is what the Buddha did. Put most simply, Dharma is method and wisdom. Application of these two is what the Buddha experienced.
Belief or faith can mean different things depending on the context. Without any investigation, we may think that belief implies a blind, almost ignorant attitude. In this audio teaching, Phakchok Rinpoche discusses his own belief in the Buddha’s teaching and reminds us that solid belief comes about through practice.
Five negative emotions cause us so many problems. In this audio clip, Phakchok Rinpoche explains how the Buddha taught about the mind and about actions. Rinpoche describes these five as they might arise in our daily lives. He also demonstrates how subtly these five negative emotions may influence our behavior.
Learning what the Buddha taught could take a lifetime of study, contemplation, and meditation. However, the Buddha often summarized his teachings in simple, easy-to-understand key points. Here, in a one-minute reminder, Phakchok Rinpoche explains the heart of the teachings.
As we begin to practice meditation, many of us experience doubts. One of the biggest questions is, “How can I concentrate? My mind gets distracted so easily!” We may blame the hectic pace of our modern lives, but Buddhist teachers have been talking about the “monkey mind” for two millennia.
Inspiration for our meditation training is a boost for our practice. We love to think we can be independent and do everything by ourselves, but is that really realistic? Do we have a good track record?