The great eighteenth century Buddhist Master, Shantideva famously said; “Where would I possibly find enough leather with which to cover the surface of the earth? But wearing leather just on the soles of my shoes is equivalent to covering the earth with it.”1.
Our beloved Founder of TBI, Kyabje Khensur Kangurwa Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche, highly esteemed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, many high lamas, monks, nuns and lay people in the world, illustrated this point when giving a teaching on the purpose of meditation; “…we hear a lot about how to bring about world peace. Then on a more personal level we can talk about peace and harmony in the family or in the community and then on an even more personal level, we can talk about how to bring about peace within one’s own mind, which gives a healthy body and healthy mind”. This is the purpose of mediation, Rinpoche said, “…to generate wellbeing and peace in one’s mind.” 2.
“Mind” or consciousness is defined as “that which is clear (it’s unobstructed by matter) and knowing” (can apprehend, know things). It is an ever flowing stream of awareness and depending on what thoughts, perceptions, feelings or sensations it focuses upon, “It arises in the aspect of the object it apprehends”3. In fact, the Tibetan word for mediation is sgom, which means “to familiarize.”4. The great Yogi, Scholar and founder of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, Lama Je Tsong Khapa (1357-1419), says, “From beginingless time you have been under the control of your mind; your mind has not been under your control. Furthermore, your mind tended to be obscured by the afflictions and so forth. Thus, meditation aims to bring this mind, which gives rise to all faults and flaws, under control and then aims to make it serviceable. Serviceability means that you can direct your mind as you wish toward a virtuous object of meditation.” 5.
The Buddha taught that we suffer because of our misunderstanding, our ignorance, regarding the mode of existence itself. Things appear one way but exist in another. It’s as if we are preoccupied with the agitated dirt within a jar of water and can’t comprehend the clear and pure nature of the water itself. It is only by allowing the jar to remain still long enough for the dirt to settle, that this becomes evident.
It is possible within a few minutes to experience a taste of the mind coming home to itself as it were, which encourages us to continue to practice, much like toilet training a puppy dog, lovingly but persistently, bringing it back to where we want it to do its business, then giving it affection, perhaps a treat. Likewise, we use our very own breath as the initial focus, bringing it back each time as it is distracted by thoughts, sounds or sensations. Like the puppy, it gradually gets the idea! Great masters can focus so powerfully that they can even mediate throughout the death process. One of Khensur Rinpoche’s senior students, our dear Geshe Pema Tsering, did just that recently. Geshela’s subtle-most mind remained in mediation for nearly a week after he was declared clinically dead and before he left his non-decomposing body for his next life.
In attending this class, there is no requirement to become a Buddhist, everyone is welcome. Come and learn tried and true methods for calming the mind and building mental resilience in an ever increasing stressful world. Our beautiful, tranquil Gompa is still glowing from His Holiness’s visit in June 2013.
Led by experienced meditators.
You are welcome to stay for a cuppa afterwards.
- Shantideva, A Guide To The Bodhisattvas Way Of Life, Library of Tibetan Works & Archives 1979 p41
- Kyabje Khensur Kangurwa Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche, A Talk On Meditation TBI March 2001 p7-8
- His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Stages of Meditation. Rider Pubs. 2001 p32
- Kyabje Khensur Kangurwa Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche, A Talk On Meditation TBI March 2001 p27
- Lam Rim Chen Mo Vol 1 p99