Dharma Teaching by Singha Thekchen Namdrol Rinpoche
A summary by Anne-Marie Wagonis
Upon returning from his retreat in Kota Tinggi, Rinpoche begins this teaching by saying he would like to address some skilful methods of overcoming the obstacles we face during our dharma practice.
“When practicing dharma if we think that because we will receive the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and therefore we will not have obstacles to overcome, that is ridiculous thinking. The reality is that because of the blessings we receive, we will have a very bright light. This bright light will shine inward into ourselves. And when we go inward into ourselves with a very bright lamp, frankly speaking what happens almost immediately is “Oh my God…..shit!” This is the reality of it. So to say that practicing dharma is going to eliminate all of your problems is not correct.”
“Many of us don’t know how to move along on this path. Many feel that it’s a very lonely path to take. But there are some things that we need to observe. For instance, what is the purpose we are here to practice for? Why are we doing this? If we fail to ask ourselves these questions then it is like we are living in a beautiful drama. You will continuously climb out of one hole, only to fall into another hole. The same things will continue to resurface.”
“One of the biggest issues we face is anger. We must learn to understand it. And if you say that you have no anger, you are lying to yourself. Anger comes when we feel that someone has harmed us in some way. Anger also often comes from fear. If we came across a person who we thought was truly possessed by something, we might feel compassion toward that person. But we must remember that we are all possessed. We are all possessed by our own emotions. A Bodhisattva trains to see that all beings are possessed by their own emotions. Therefore we must learn to generate this feeling of compassion toward ourselves and toward others. When we work together as a group and we practice together, there is purification. When two stones rub against each other, they finish each other off; things become smooth and sometimes even become shiny. It is the same way with us. Since our current situations sometimes make it so difficult to praise one another we should learn to do so through the recitation of mantras, where we are in actuality, praising the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Through doing so, we are encouraging good aspects to manifest.”
“We all possess ego, pride, self-centeredness and selfishness. The main thing is to recognize these things and to transform all of this. When you begin to feel negative thoughts, offer them away. We need to learn how to shut down our minds from being so obsessed with ourselves. We are all so obsessed with this one word. And that one word is “I”.
“Why do we all want to live in the past? Why do we all want to suffer so much? And why do we also want others to suffer too? It is because when there is nothing new happening in your life, you become obsessed with the past. We must learn how to realign ourselves; how to touch base with our conscience and with our consciousness. We should all be here to communicate and to support one another and to focus on our common goals. When we are examining our progress we must ask ourselves two things. 1. Did the “I” go down? and 2. Did we become less sentimental and more compassionate? When we practice, our minds should become more and more friendly, more and more closer to all beings, more interdependent and more feeling in oneness with each other. We must learn to recognize but not to become angry with our own demons. We can train ourselves to see this through meditation and through reciting the names of the Buddhas.”
Rinpoche then shared some of the personal experiences he had with us during his retreat in Kota Tinggi and followed those experiences with this advice:
Surrender all of your obsessions
Recognize your thoughts and then release the deep attachment to them by offering them away
Overcome the conditions
Retreat from your old bad habits
Take a few steps back and see how you can realign and reactivate a new way of doing things differently
“Dharma brings out the best in us. Dharma practice is meant for you to overcome your “old” mind. And we do this in order to experience our own inner peace and inner bliss.”