Robert Thurman talks about how important it is not to just leave your practice behind as you leave the cushion.
Here is Khandro Rinpoche on how we can keep the mindfulness we discover on the cushion as we go about daily activity. Hearing from my friend Gabriele that Rinpoche would be teaching in Berlin, I asked Gabriele to ask Khandro Rinpoche to make another What Meditation Really Is video. Rinpoche quickly agreed!
I recently attended a retreat with Sogyal Rinpochein Amsterdam. One of the main themes of the retreat was about how to take the blame. Now this may seem like quite a strange concept: why should we be willing to take the blame in situations? It definitely was something to think about for me, which is why I am writing this blog.
I work in an environment, where there has to be a lot of interpersonal and group communication. In fact, the whole aim of our work is to communicate FOR our clients. So one would assume that me and my colleagues are kind of masters in communication – whether in written or spoken word, by visual or auditory means or whatsoever. Nevertheless it is fascinating to be witness of how rarely communication works, even in the most basic daily business.
Question: It sometimes seems to me that fear has become an unacceptable emotion on the spiritual path. There are so many teachings that talk about how unhelpful fear is, and how it gets in the way of growth. Yet for me, I am increasingly recognizing how dominated by fear my whole life has been, and the more I practice, the more this fear feels like it is dominating my life. I feel it vibrating through my body, making it difficult to breathe, and I often get very little sleep at night as fear and panic surface just as I am "dropping off". It seems to be too terrifying to let go of control enough to fall asleep. I am trying to welcome this fear as a friend who I can learn from. But I find it very, very difficult when I hear teachings that don't seem to have anything positive to say about working with fear - but just name it as an obstacle on the path. I hope that you can help me with this.
Recently I caught up with Professor Robert Thurman at Tibet House in New York City. We were talking about some of the comments he made at his Occupy Wall Street talk (which I recorded and posted here) and how it is important not to just leave your practice behind as you leave the cushion. We then made this six minute video on What Meditation Really Is. You can watch it after the jump.
Student’s question: I understand the fundamental problem of the dualistic mind (i hope). The idea that as long as something is "good" in our mind, that means something is "bad" as well, which causes us to have a misconception that is damaging to our mind. We can see with our own investigation that this is damaging to our experience of the present and reality. So what about good actions and bad action? Wise speech\unwise speech? Good intention\bad intention? Truth\ dishonesty? I struggle because those are dualistic concepts that are fundamental to the Buddha’s teaching. Are there some dualistic mind states that are helpful? I am most certain that I am confused! I would love some insight.
When I was studying English literature, I remember being particularly struck by this passage in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own:
“What is meant by ‘reality’? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now in a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech—and there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far away for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever it touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates.”