Human Mind and Awakened Mind – 16 March 2017

Dharma Teaching by Singha Thekchen Namdrol Rinpoche
A summary by Anne-Marie Wagonis

In today’s teaching Rinpoche addresses two topics. The first topic concerns the ordinary human mind vs the awakened mind. The second topic concerns the differences between Vajrayana Buddhism and Guru devotion and a cult mentality.
“As ordinary human beings we rely heavily upon form in order to help us to understand the nature of our mind.” Rinpoche holds up a tray which is covered by a beautifully brocaded cloth. He lifts the cloth away to reveal a roll of white toilet tissue. “And so, he says pointing to the roll of tissue, this roll of tissue is like the nature of the human mind. It is wrapped up in plastic to keep it covered, clean and well-shaped. This plastic wrap represents the defensiveness of our ego. Nothing can go in and nothing can come out. In our minds, in order to learn anything, to unlearn anything or to see the true nature of ourselves, we must first remove the plastic covering of the ego.” Rinpoche removes the outer plastic covering and continues, “Now we have the actual nature of the human mind here. But within this mind we have years of living where we have accumulated layers and layers of ego, our own experiences and so many concepts of how we want things to be.” Rinpoche begins to unroll the tissue as he continues to teach, “And because of this we become righteous and choose to criticize others.”

“How do you find the one Guru who is the best for you? You must see the Guru as the one who teaches you by improving upon your cultivation of inner morality and ethics. Ethics, virtue and morality are all so very important. It’s in the nature of the human mind to try to clean everything up, to try to right all of the wrongs. The act of cleaning up is not wrong but it’s the act of doing so with a righteous attitude that is incorrect. The mind becomes so focused, like this tissue roll, but focused with a very small view. We try to use our skills to right other people’s wrongs and in the process the human mind begins to believe it has so much more knowledge and so much experience. It has a lot of ego to protect itself. In fact, it becomes everything,…. everything but awakened!”

“But this form, …this roll of tissue which represents the human mind also possesses within it, the awakened mind! The awakened mind is right here.” Rinpoche picks up the brocaded cloth and opens it up wide. He continues, “The awakened mind is this! It’s the vastness of space. It does not need to focus upon anything because it is everywhere. It is the space itself. It does not need a form…..No form, no sound, no smell, no body, no eyes, no ears, no nose, no mouth. The awakened mind is all pervasive. It is beyond light or dark. This awakened nature is within all beings.”

“Our practice is to move beyond suffering by choosing to see the space in everything; to choose to see the divine awakened aspect in every single phenomena. And that is a conscious choice. We all have this capability.”

“Some people see Vajrayana Buddhism as a cult because there is honouring and worshipping the Guru. So, I want to take some time to explain the difference between Guru devotion and a cult. First, Vajrayana Buddhism is not a cult, but it can be abused and misused. We must understand how a cult functions. A cult functions through a group of people who are pulled together and sworn to secrecy immediately. They pray to something or someone and they perform rituals which are meant only to benefit the group itself, or worse to benefit only the cult leaders. That is a cult.”

“Vajrayana Buddhism consists of education and openness. It is something for everyone to study and to develop. The main motive for all of us who practice it, is to awaken our minds. To transform from this form (Rinpoche holds up the roll of tissue), to this space (Rinpoche holds up his open hand). And the most painful part of this process is the removal of layer by layer!”

“If you were to find a village chief, and this chief was wise, compassionate, listens more than talks, supports and leads, is always the first to help with difficulties, etc……Would you help, support and honour this chief? It is the same way in Vajrayana Buddhism with respect to Guru devotion. It does not stem from a cult-like hero worshipping. Rather, it is a mutual appreciation. There will be people who will abuse it and therefore each student must keep your eyes open. Observe before you accept, but once your heart is settled, move forward with stability! Once a relationship is set, be willing to move into a deeper level of cultivation.”

“The awakened mind is beyond all form and it is also within each one of us. All of us can realize this true Buddha nature and awaken to it but it will take the bravery of facing ourselves. And, there are 3 main trappings which are 1. Blaming, 2. Justifying and 3. Complaining which we must be willing to overcome. We all have negative traits but we also all possess the positive space.”

“The true essence of Buddhism is in overcoming our own mind. There is no greater offering than that. To cultivate and to awaken the true nature of mind, we must move forward on this path and everything else will manifest to benefit all beings. To see the real nature of ourselves is to first dissolve the external self. Then all beings can come into oneness with this Buddha nature.”

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