Dharma Teaching by Singha Thekchen Namdrol Rinpoche
A summary by Anne-Marie Wagonis
Rinpoche begins today’s dharma teaching with these words:
“Thank you for making time to come and learn dharma today. While many of us may think that a dharma teacher is always there and that there will always be dharma around, the reality is that although many have knowledge of things, when we say we need to learn dharma, learning really has got not much use if it’s just a collection of knowledge. What is important is to have our own internal realizations, our own internal experiences and our own internal awakening. If we don’t then fear, loss and insecurity will always arise for us when we are faced with the challenges in our lives. So although we do need to learn, we also need to cultivate, reflect and meditate upon what we learn. It is experience and not knowledge that will allow us to have the stability in our minds to deal with the things that occur daily in our lives.”
“So today I want to talk about something that is very personal to me. It’s about the experience of dharma and then some points of practice. In my twenties, I suffered a stroke. As a result, I was using a walking stick and I had double vision. I was hospitalized and they did some tests. They told me I had a flu. But no one could tell me why I was left in this condition or if I could be cured. My mind went through two major upheavals. No one could tell me what was wrong with me. They could not find any reason for what had happened to me, so I was very scared. I was introduced to a neurologist who wanted to inject something into my body to see if it would cure the double vision. It didn’t cure it but that was a good thing because I was told that meant that I didn’t have a tumour in my brain. So then I was thinking…, my health is now being told to me by other people. And other people are telling me about whether I can recover or not. I was discharged from the hospital and given some special spectacles with prisms in them to help me to see and given some eye medicine. I was told that maybe I would recover on my own or maybe I would not. For 3 months I suffered not knowing. Then, I went to Phuket, (Thailand) to rest. I asked where I could find the temple with the Buddha’s relic. It was very difficult to say these words in front of Buddha so I was in tears. I said that if I have to suffer like this then I wish to take on the suffering for all beings so that they never need to suffer like this. I prostrated in the temple to the Buddha’s relic and said please, if I’ve done anything from previous lives either through ignorance or any other causes to have to suffer such a fate at this young age, I confess now and I repent. Then I did confession prayers and prostrations. The next day I woke up very unwell. When I put on the spectacles, my vision was much worse than it was before, so I removed them. When I took them off, I was cured. It was the power of Bodhicitta. When we have difficulties in our lives we must choose to use those difficulties as opportunities.”
The points Rinpoche made in today’s teaching are:
1. Take charge of your own life because what dharma is really telling you is that you are the master of your own
life. Start to own your body, speech and mind. When you own your own body, speech and mind then nothing can come
in to harm you.
2. Don’t be a bully….. Be of benefit. All of us have weaknesses and because we live in such an instant and
impatient world we tend to push people around to accomplish things. If you really want to make things happen
quickly, don’t bully people. Instead, inspire people. Don’t just tell people what to do. Be willing to do it with
them. The mutual support will result in the success. We should all rejoice that people have different skill sets,
knowledge and experience. And if we all had a pure open-heartedness toward one another, there would be no
bullying. (Rinpoche’s advice: If you received a lot of bullying when you were young, please do a lot of
purification practice for that).
3. Manage your temperament and the speed of your life. Like a good and skilful driver you must know when to speed up
and when to slow down. Accomplishing everything quickly is not always the answer. Spend some time in really
getting to know others.
4. Always check your motivation. Enjoy your life with the motivation of enlightenment…. to be awake.
5. Have confidence in your own abilities.
6. Support your Guru’s activities in benefitting others. In the most difficult times, so many need merits. They need
our help and our support. Don’t let your response be that this is not a good time for you to offer that help.
7. There is always opportunity in facing our difficulties and we have a choice. We are very able with our body,
speech and mind to choose to be happy, choose to be successful, choose to see opportunity and to go for it!