The Restful Mind - A Teaching by His Eminence in London
BY HIS EMINENCE GYALWA DOKHAMPA IN LONDON, UK ~JANUARY 2014
This evening, I would like to approach this subject (Restful Mind) as a person who is a Buddhist practitioner and received Buddhist trainings on meditation, especially the tradition of the Drukpa order. I will talk on how myself and the monastic orders do our daily meditations and what does meditation mean to us because it might be slightly different from what it means to the modern world. Nowadays, the modern world needs meditation because of stress from jobs, relationships, etc. If that is the only reason why meditation is done, then many of us who are not working in a big company do not have that kind of stress. Stress release is only a part of the result of meditation.
“What is the purpose of meditation?”
I think it is mentioned in the book that “You become what you think and you are what you think”, as said by the Buddha. As the doctor says, “You are what you eat”. So our different personalities, different experiences that we go through, basically all these are very much coming into fruition in our mind. Therefore, meditation from the Buddhist point of view, is firstly about stilling your mind and relaxing your mind which is I think common and which everybody is familiar with.
Then, the second part of the meditation is not only about stilling your mind but once you have stilled your mind, the second step is to understand the mind itself - what is the mind, how does it work and what can I do to transform my mind so that I can transform my life? This is important because every action we do is initiated by the mind – whether you are walking or talking, everything starts with the mind. For example, there is a pond of water which is very still, with no waves, no current and no movement, and then you can see the depth of the pond. Then you can see what is in that pond of water, it’s colour and so on.
First Part – Breathing meditation (concentration meditation):
The first part of the meditation that we do in our daily lives which is very much covered in the book is called the breathing meditation. In another word, it is called the concentration meditation. In this meditation, the focus is very much to bring your mind to the present and to focus on certain things. The point of focus can be an object or anything including your own body.
For example, there are certain meditations during which you focus on your toes, on different parts of your body and today in this book we are talking about breathing meditation which is focusing on the breath. This is something which I thought we will do in this session. The first step is very much about bringing your mind to the present and then developing a sense of focus. This is something that is very much needed in the beginning and this is something that I think that the modern world generally talk about as per what I read – stilling the mind, resting the mind and de-stressing the mind. It works very well and I will later explain to you why it works from my experience point of view and from my understanding.
Second Part – Understanding the mind:
If our meditation is only about resting our mind and if we stop there, then there is not much of transformation that is going to happen in our life. When we are doing the stilling meditation, you will feel a sense of peace but then once you get up from the meditation, then the same problems are still very much there. You are the same person, the same situation is there - so not much has changed.
In a way, meditation is also a way of escaping from our problems. For example, when we have lots of problems, sometimes we go to a bar and have a nice drink, we get knocked out and of course for a while, we have escaped from our problem. But in the morning, all the problems are still there, plus hangover. So we have not really solved anything.
Therefore, from the Buddhist point of view, stilling the mind is a very good beginning and it gives you a sense of peace but it is not good enough. It needs to become deeper. Deeper here means to understand the mind, to transform the mind and understand how our mind interacts with the world and how we react with each other.
So, the second part of the meditation actually has a lot to do with thoughts and reflections. These reflections should not be judgmental – neither from your point of view nor from other’s point of view. It is to understand the mind as it is, to understand how the mind works so that the way we think can be transformed, the way we look at the world can be transformed. So this is the second part of the meditation.
Why does concentration meditation work (first part)?
The first part of the meditation which is to still the mind with techniques like the breathing meditation and there are many other forms of meditation like focusing on your body as I mentioned earlier - when you do this, why does it work? Why does meditation work? What is the logic behind it? I guess you know that from the scientific point of view, they say that if you do meditation, it develops a certain connection between the body and the mind which associates with happiness, peace and compassion.
Anyway, I don’t think I am the right person to speak from the scientific point of view because I am not a scientist. So I shall speak from my personal understanding of the Buddhist point of view. The reason why this stilling meditation gives a sense of peace is because when you are doing the concentration meditation like the breathing meditation, your mind is very much in the present. There are a few reasons for this.
(i) Firstly, our mind is very much in the present. So why our mind being in the present gives us a sense of restfulness? It is because most of us are usually either recollecting a lot about past experiences – not only recollecting in the sense watching old movies but these recollections are having effect on our mind.
For example, if some wonderful things had happened, then a sense of loneliness and sense of longing develops and if some terrible things had happened, replaying it in the mind refreshes the hurtful feelings. This is going on because of too much reflection on the past even though past is gone and it cannot be gotten back and future is very uncertain. I think, if we look back, none of us would have thought how our lives will be in 10 to 15 years. Our lives have never gone the way we dreamed when we were a child or teenager, definitely not mine. Yet, we hold on to our past which sometimes gives us a lot of pain. For example, let’s say somebody said hurtful words to us in the morning and we can still feel the pain.
So, from the emotional point of view, we can go on about it. If you go about it from the restful mind point of view, that incident which happened only when the person was saying hurtful words to you, would probably be only about 3 minutes if you clock it. No Boss can abuse us for one hour continuously unless that person is really kookoo or something you know. Then in that case, you don’t need to care. But we replay that incident which happened for 2 to 5 minutes in our mind for hours and sometimes weeks, months and even years and we still feel the pain. So that time, the pain is not coming from the person because by now the person may be dead also. But we still feel the pain because we cannot let go and we are very much in the past. Similarly, sometimes we are very much in the future, so very much in the future that we are imagining so many terrible things that may or may not happen giving rise to hope and fear.
We think of so many things that we are get worried and tense about things that actually may never happen. So what is wrong with that? What is wrong about thinking about future and dreaming about it? I would not say right or wrong – it is not my judgment to say right or wrong. But one of the losses of being too much into the future is that it creates a lot of anxiety and more importantly you forget the present. We are talking about enjoying life and happiness in life. Life does not start tomorrow. Right now, right this moment is also life. So at this moment also whatever we have – good health, family and whatever joy, we should be able to draw happiness from these? So when we do the breathing meditation, at that moment when you are doing the focusing meditation, the mind has to automatically come to the present.
When you are doing the breathing meditation, it is not only breathing in and out but your mind has to be focused on it, not like what we usually do. For example, if we ask how many times did you breathe? I think none of us would know because we are totally unaware. So awareness by bringing the mind to the present and concentrating on the breathing brings the mind to the point where it is not about the past and not about future but very much in the present moment.
Then awareness of the present life comes. I am not sure exactly but one of the Masters was asked by somebody – “what do you find most confusing in this world?” He said, “Human beings confuse me most. Human beings sacrifice their health in order to gain wealth and they spend their wealth to regain their health. And they live like they are never going to die and they die having never lived”. So when you say that they lived like they are never going to die, actually what he is saying is that we are so busy imagining about the future that we forget to live the present – to see the joy in our children, family, friends and our health but rather we are busy imagining about the future. So that is I think what he meant.
(ii) Now the second reason of why you feel sense of peace when you do the meditation mainly awareness and concentration meditation, is because when we do the breathing meditation, the mind automatically comes to a neutral point- neutral state of the mind. The neutral state of the mind is the state of mind devoid of emotions and thoughts such as hope and fear which can translate into jealousy, anger.
Usually it is impossible to be happy and angry at the same time, jealous and angry at the same time - so you know these emotions does not go with each other. So this meditation which is part of Buddhist meditation is also about firstly bringing your mind to the neutral state where it is free of such afflictive emotions. This is actually one of the reasons why I, myself is interested in Buddhist articles and that is why I practice it. For myself, even though I am born in a very conservative and Buddhist tradition, the simple reason why I am a Buddhist practitioner is because the entire Buddhist articles – which sometimes looks very complicated is all for taming the mind.
Entire Buddhist practice starting from Srilankan Theravada to Tibetan Vajrayana is to tame the mind, transform the mind and understand the mind. The reason why I found it attractive is because for example, when I feel upset and angry, I always tell myself, “This anger is causing me unhappiness. Then why am I making myself unhappy? I don’t want unhappiness and I don’t want anger.” If somebody is creating a situation like this, you can create a situation to be distant from such situation because sense of anger and hatred does not make any sense and any logic.
So, the entire Buddha dharma is about diminishing or transforming anger, hatred, jealousy and the sense of joy comes automatically. So I am interested in Buddhism because I want to be happy. I can’t be happy and angry at the same time, happy and jealous at the same time.
Dharma teaching is about taming the mind and that gives me sense of happiness. That is the reason why I am a Buddhist practitioner. So when we do the breathing meditation, the mind automatically comes to its neutral state where you are neither angry nor jealous nor are you caught up in hope and fear. We are usually always caught up in hope and fear and that is the reason why our mind never gets rest. For example, when we come back from office, we are lying on the bed. Our physical body is getting rest but our mind is never getting rest.
So many thoughts are going on - will it go like this, will it not happen like this? Even when we go for a holiday – will we reach the airport on time, will I get a good hotel service, will I get the room with the ocean view, and will the weather be nice? So there are lots of hope and fear. Not just little bit but all the time. So, the mind never gets rest.
So when you do the breathing meditation, for the first time and perhaps I think unless we are unconscious, mind comes to a stand point where it is neutral and where it is rested. So this is the reason that when you do the breathing and the stillness meditation, you feel a sense of rest and the sense of de-stressing, mostly a sense of peace.
That is the first meditation which is called the breathing meditation. And the purpose of that is to bring your mind to the present and bring the mind to a neutral state of mind.
Analytical Meditation, Understanding the mind (second part):
For this part of the meditation, first step is to ask ourselves what is happiness, satisfaction and appreciation? Understanding and contemplating on these 3 things. This meditation is not only about stilling your mind but actually reflecting on your own life. You can reflect according to your own experiences in your life. For myself, when I was about 25 years old, I think I was in South America with my teacher, His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa.
So I asked my teacher what is happiness in this world. Please note that I was not talking about happiness in the sense of enlightenment or the great bliss. I was not talking about that. I am just saying generally in this world – what is the greatest happiness in this world? I thought at that time that His Holiness will say that to be in love is to be happy.
The greatest happiness is the feeling of being in love because when I watched movies and saw people in love, everything looked perfect. But His Holiness said that the greatest happiness in the world is satisfaction. When I thought about it, I thought that is very true. Yes, it is true that when you are in love, you are very happy but as long as you are satisfied with the person you are in love with.
It is true that a great job and great success is happiness as long as we are satisfied with that. The moment we are dissatisfied, it does not matter even if the world thinks you have a great life. What a wonderful family you have, what a wonderful job you have, it does not matter – we no longer feel happy. So satisfaction is the key to happiness. Then, it is logical to pursue the satisfaction which is key to happiness.
When we are pursuing happiness, there are two ways: (i) the usual way of how we pursue and (ii) the meditation way. Again I should say that I am not here to say what is right and what is wrong. I am just pointing out the options.
(i) The first option is to pursue it outside - the usual way of how we pursue.
If you pursue it outside, I don’t think it is completely bad but a lot of work is involved. For example, say you get a promotion today. I don’t think you will immediately get another promotion in the next 3 or 4 months right? So in between the first promotion and the next, what are we supposed to do? Do we just suffer? Or after we do get a promotion, you are no longer satisfied with that. You need something else. So again we are supposed to be suffering. Or if we are no longer happy with the relationship, what do we do? Do we change the person? I do not know how it is in the UK but from what I read in papers, in America, to get a divorce is very expensive. If you search too much for happiness in marriage, you may probably land up penniless.
Anyways, this is how we usually do - pursuing outside. We pursue thinking that the next person might make me happy, the next job might make me happy and so on. I am not saying that we should not be progressive especially in relationship, what I am saying is that I do not really think it is a good idea to pursue and change relationships so often. In general, progress is very good for your life and your career, to some extent. But my point is that, if we cannot find the way to enjoy what we have right now – say your first promotion, what is the guarantee that the second promotion will make you happy.
If the first marriage is not working out, what is the guarantee that the second will work out. Unless we do something differently and we create a different condition, there is no guarantee. We have to be able to find a sense of joy in the present with what we have. So the first is what is happiness, satisfaction and how do we pursue satisfaction – outside or inside.
(ii) The second is to pursue happiness inside – the meditation way.
(a) Appreciation Meditation: The meditation to pursue happiness inside is called appreciation meditation. In this meditation, basically we remember all the positive things that we have in our lives, such as good health, family, wealth, success, whatever we have – to remember them and to draw joy from them at this present moment rather than what we have lost in the past or what we might have in the future. That is actually very logical and very smart from my point of view.
Usually, people say that they do not like religion and spirituality because it is very illogical. From my point of view, I think we are very illogical. For example, let’s say, none of us here has a tooth ache. So does any of us feel happy that I don’t have a tooth ache and appreciate the fact that we have great teeth? I don’t think so.
Normally, to feel happy and appreciate, first we have to get a tooth ache, and then we have to go to a dentist and then he will give us a big injection, take out the tooth very painfully and then we have to pay him 100s or 1000s of dollars and then we feel so happy to have relieved the pain. How is that logical? In order to feel happiness that we do not have a tooth ache, we have to get tooth ache, pay the dentist and then feel happy. If there are dentist here, I am just giving an example.
The point of this appreciation meditation is that we should not pursue success but through appreciation meditation, whatever we have and not lost yet; whatever we have in our life, be it family, health, we should draw a sense of joy, sense of satisfaction from them by remembering them and by acknowledging them. That is the first step of meditation that we do in our daily life which is called the appreciation meditation.
(b) Meditation on the changing nature of the life: The second meditation is to remind us that everything in our life is like a river that is constantly flowing. It may look like it is not flowing and is still which is not the case.
If I say that are we getting old every second, we will say oh no not at all. Some kind people might say that you look same or you even look younger today but it is not true. Every second we are changing, we are getting older.
Even this building, I was told that it was built in the 18th century. So from 18th century to now, there may have been a lot of repainting and so on and I am sure many changes must have happened to this building. Every second it is changing.
This second part of meditation is about meditating on the changing nature of everything such as building, power, relationship, etc. For example, in a relationship, usually we see only big changes such as a divorce. They were together for 20 years and now they are divorced so it is a big change.
Actually, if we reflect on the changing nature of everything, even if we are together till death part us, every second the relationship is going through transformation. It is evolving. This is because relationship is emotions between two people and every second we are getting different emotions. In a positive scenario, we can say that relationship is getting deeper and deeper and more meaningful or we can go in the opposite way.
Whatever it is, where it is becoming meaningful or in the opposite way, it is going through a change. This house is going through constant change. If you are going to be the President for 10 years, every second, our term is changing. So what is the ultimate expected result of this meditation? If I go superficially, this meditation helps us to understand that there is no point in holding on to anything. Having a nice car or a house, is subject to change by nature. The point is not about how certain things will last but it is about during that time, how meaningful it is. How much joy and happiness we can give to each other.
The reason why I am saying that releasing the sense of clinginess helps is because when you are clinging onto something or someone a lot, with the sense of permanence that things are not changing, it creates a sense of extreme attachment and fear. That sense of fear makes you jealous, weak, suspicious and insecure. If everything, including oneself or living being is subject to change, then the question is what I can do to maximize what I have now to its fullest.
One more thing that I would like to share from my experience is that quite recently in my life, a daughter came to see me and she said that her mother is in a mental hospital because she lost her daughter two years ago in a very big accident/medical emergency. Even though she has 2 other children, she was very depressed and feels that she cannot do anything. What will you advise as a Buddhist Master?
So, I told her that in our tradition, as a Buddhist practitioner, even before we lose somebody, we always remind ourselves that we are going to lose each other one day. We are going to lose the people we love, our family, and loved ones.
From our point of view, the regret mostly comes not when we lose the people we love but from the realization that we could not love each other enough when we were together and could not give happiness to the people we love. It is when we could not thank them enough or loved them enough when we were together, then we have a sense of regret and pain when our loved ones die.
We understand from the beginning that everything and everybody is impermanent by nature. Every second, we are getting older, every second we are nearing impermanence. Of course we feel pain but it is not something that is shocking and unbearably so. And we also know that this kind of pain is not something that only we are going through but everybody in this world is going through the same even at this very moment. What is important is not how long something last or how long people live in our lives, but when people are in our lives, we should be able to relate to others in a very positive, loving and meaningful way. In another way, this meditation on the changing nature creates a little sense of detachment and reduces the sense of extreme attachment.
When we do this appreciation meditation and the changing nature meditation together, I always give the example of going to a 5 star hotel. When you go to a 5 star hotel, you enjoy the luxurious bed, the nice restaurant but at the back of your mind you know that you are going to check out tomorrow. Nobody cries when they check out of the hotel. It seems like people enjoy more when they are in a hotel. When they are at home, they look at the ceiling, then they think like ‘oh the ceiling needs a bit of repainting, I think I need to arrange the chairs a little bit differently or the gardening needs little bit weeding’.
So, instead of just sitting down and relaxing, and enjoying the things we have, we are constantly worrying because of too much attachment. But when you go to a 5 star hotel, it is the opposite. Similarly, if you have a sense of appreciation, then we will be able to love the people in our life, appreciate them and draw joy from them. Yet, at the same time we should know that every second is changing and it is the nature of life. There is no point in holding on to things fanatically. That is a part of your life and you may need to adapt to it. From this point of view, sometimes, when I see some movies, young girls complain to their husbands after one or two years of marriage. They say that before you used to be very romantic and loving but now you are not. I would say that is because she did not meditate on the impermanence of the relationship which is changing every second. Even if the poor husband puts his effort, and tries to recreate it, it is not the same but it is trying to create similar conditions.
(c) Interaction with the world: Now the third meditation is called interaction with the world - How do we interact with the world? This meditation is quite crucial because in the Buddhist philosophy, it says that whatever is happening in our life is not pre-determined. It is not something like a destiny that you can do nothing about. But everything in our life is created by us.
The various causes and conditions creates our life. Every time when we are talking, when we are thinking, we are affecting our life all the time. So we have the ability to affect our life. If there is nothing we can do to affect our life, then basically doing this and that - nothing makes sense. Then, there is no point in meditating, no point in working if nothing affects our life. In a way, I guess this is in line with the modern thought. Change our future by changing ourselves and changing our present.
This meditation is about reflecting on how we interact with others; when I am interacting with others, what kind of world am I creating for myself and for my future? What kind of life and what kind of environment am I creating? In this meditation, the steps involved are:
First step: Try to remember people who are very important in our life – important in the sense they have an impact on our life. It can be our boss, wife, husband, parents, children, so and so. First we remember them by face. People may say, I don’t want to remember my Boss not until Monday but in this meditation, unfortunately we will have to do that. Remember these people in your life.
Second step: Remove the labelling of these people such as my boss, my wife, my husband, etc. We are always saying that we should be understanding with each other, loving to each other but you know the fact is that labelling automatically prevents us from understanding each other. Label creates a sense of entitlement, projection. In Asia, sometimes I jokingly say to the parents that they should remove the labeling of their children so that they will not always demand obedience and the children should remove the labelling of their parents so that they can stop from always asking for pocket money as if it is their right. Labelling traps you into a certain kind of automatic emotional reaction. In this meditation, firstly you recollect people in your life and then secondly you remove the labels and just simply see them as yourself - how you see yourself. Like I am a person who wants happiness, who doesn’t want suffering and the other person, be it my boss, be it my father, be it my wife, is simply a person who wants happiness the way I want happiness, who does not want suffering the way I do not want suffering. He/she is first that (who also wants happiness and doesn’t want suffering) and then only my wife /husband or boss.
Third step - Understand how I interact with them. For example, I wish for love, forgiveness, and understanding but when I interact with these people in my life, am I forgiving and understanding and am I creating the conditions for myself to receive these things from them. Now how does that affect our life and our future? It is because whenever situations have happened in our life, certain painful situations, usually we know very well what wrong other people have done. We are very crystal clear on that. But we are not that clear or we really don’t want to look into what was my part in creating this condition. I have two hands to clap. I know my left hand but what did my right hand do to create this condition.
If we do not understand how we interact with others, how we behave and how others will perceive, then even if you change the person or change the situation or even change the country which are all external conditions, the same situation might get repeated again and again. I don’t know but some people describe that as always making the same mistake again and again. This is because you might change the outer conditions but the condition from yourself which perpetuated the situation is very much there.
Therefore, if we do not change that there is not much logical reason why the next situation will be very different. So the third meditation is very much about checking ourselves. One more thing that I want to mention is that when you reflect on our interaction with others - how am I behaving with others, do I give love to others, am I understanding, forgiving - if we feel that we have not been so perfect, that is ok. That is why we are not Buddha. If we are perfect, then we are all Buddhas and we will not be in this situation.
This is not about self-judgment but it is about understanding the conditions and headaches which we are creating for our future. If we feel that we have been creating negative conditions, the point is not about guilt, the point is not about regret, but the point is about “What can I do to change my future?” Shantideva very clearly said that, “if there is something that you can do about it, then you should do but if there is nothing you can do about it, then don’t worry about it. There is no point”. So it is about what I can do to change the conditions in my life. It is not about blaming.
(d) Reflection in the mirror: The fourth meditation which is done daily is called reflection in the mirror and not making a big fuss. It is called reflection in the mirror because when you look in the mirror and see your reflection, the reflection is very detailed. You can see the details such as your skin colour, eyes, and smallest bit of changes in yourself like new wrinkles and pimples. Yet, we will never say that reflection is real. We will say that it is the reflection of my body. When we see a pimple, we are worried because that is on our body not in the mirror.
The reflection is not real yet how this reflection is there because of the lighting, the mirror and our body - all these conditions come together. Then something called reflection has come about. We use this example to understand that everything in our life is also like a reflection in the mirror.
For example, when I was in Monaco a few days back, when we were flying, we could see that there is only a few kilometers from France to Italy and Monaco. They are just like 10 to 15 minute drive to each other. So why is it that as soon as you cross from France and enter into Monaco, immediately the land price becomes so expensive, apartments are so expensive, and as soon as you cross back to France, it is cheaper and Italy is even cheaper. Why is it like that? Isn’t that similar to the reflection in the mirror.
For the reflection to appear, there needs to be a lot of conditions. Similarly, in our life, we need a lot of conditions to experience something, to understand something as expensive or cheap but the most important condition is our concept - our conceptual mind. It is our conceptual mind that says that to be in Monaco by condition, it is very expensive. If expensive is not something that is conceptual and conditional but it is real, how is it possible that something that may not have much value may become very expensive next year. What has changed? Has gold and oil been discovered? It is because of the various causes and conditions, most important conceptually, it is called as high end area so it has become expensive.
What is the purpose of advertisements on television channels? It is to change our mind, change our concept. If our concept can be changed to say that such a thing is fashionable, such a thing is expensive, then it is expensive. In the west, when you get engaged, the diamond ring is very valuable. I was told that bigger the diamond means more the love. But from the meditation point of view, the question is who says diamond is expensive. Did the diamond say I am expensive? Or we collectively said that it is expensive and diamond is very valuable. Similarly what is rich and what is poor? About a year ago, I was in a school in Singapore for a talk on different religions and their relationship to wealth. How do Buddhist view wealth? So, I was telling them that from a Buddhist point of view, the most important point is whether you have it or don’t have it, not to take it too seriously. How do you not take it too seriously? Imagine that few hundred years ago, if you were a very rich man, how would you travel in the streets of London? Probably in a carriage and the Arabian horse. And everybody will say wow he must be a very rich man, look at his horse. But in this 21st century, if a successful man goes on the streets on a horse, everybody will laugh at him. What has changed during this time? Concept has changed. So like the reflection in the mirror, the conditions have changed, what was considered nice or wealthy has changed.
Now, forget about the external things, let’s look deeply into ourselves, our own idea of what is happiness and what is pain. Even these ideas of happiness and pain are also very much like a reflection in the mirror. For example, you can reflect on yourself. There are certain times in our lives when we want privacy. May be during teenage time or whatever, at any time in our lives, we want to be alone and at that time, if people are bothering us, we get very upset and we feel very unhappy. Then people stop bothering you. One month is very great and peaceful, two months is ok you know, nothing great. By three or four months, you start to feel lonely. And at that time, if someone calls you to ask how you are, you feel very happy. So, don’t you think the other people will also be very confused? They are also confused about whether you want company or don’t want company. What will make that person happy? So during this time, what has changed? At a certain point in our life, we had a concept that I want peace and sense of happiness is freedom and sense of being unchained. At that time, happiness is no-call, no one bothering us. And then after few months, conditions have changed and especially concepts have changed and you start thinking - do I not matter, am I no body, do people even care whether I am alive or not.
So, when you have that concept to be loved and to be wanted, to be popular is happiness, at that time, if people call you, you feel so happy. The joke I share is that, there is a place called Tiger’s nest in Bhutan which is high in the mountains and a very holy place of Guru Padmasambhava from the Buddhist point of view.
So, usually, when people reach the top at the Tiger’s nest, they feel really happy because they have climbed for two hours and feel sense of joy with beautiful view. But just next to them is a tour guide who has been there like 100 times and feeling bored and thinking when will this foreigner go back. So, how come that two people standing next to each other is entirely having different experiences or idea based on the causes and conditions especially the concept.
Whenever I was in my school in Bhutan, for me it is a school, for Bhutanese it is a pilgrimage place and for foreigners, it is a touristic site - how three different experiences were all going through. In Monaco and Paris, there is a Buddha bar which has a nice two storeyed Buddha Shakyamuni statue and I was saying that is also a reflection in the mirror. For me, the Buddha is a very holy person, full of blessings, when I saw it, it inspired me and reminded me of Buddha’s articles and I felt peaceful because of the conditions. For everyone who go to the Buddha bar, I don’t think everyone would feel that way. So if you look at it like that, everything in our life, say fashion – it changes every year.
So, the idea of this meditation is - since everything is very much conceptual and conditional, there is no point being very fanatic about it. If you want to put it into practice, I usually tell the Buddhist that there is a saying that the truth of reflection like mirror is everyday life that you don’t realize. I usually tell that as a Buddhist, if you are having a discussion with your wife or husband and you know that you are right and you have done your research and you know how right you are. No matter how much logical argument you give, your partner cannot see how right you are.
I tell them that as a Buddhist, the greatest opportunity for you is to understand the mirror like nature of the life. For you because of your conditions and concepts, this is right and it is right for you. But for him/her because of their own conditions, it is not right. So, ultimately who is right? You are both right and you are both wrong. So there is no point in being fanatic about our point. This is the idea of our daily meditation.
If I talk about the book, basically, you will be reading the book. So, the reason why I wanted to share with you is that from my point of view, the book will be with you but I may not be meeting you guys again, my intention is not to sell the books, you can also borrow them. My intention is to share and give a sense of happiness.
Once you know the thinking and the contemplative meditation, the thought process which comes in the book will come naturally. And, next year if all of you are busy writing The Restful Mind, that is my success. It is not the amount of books that are sold. That is why I wanted to share - where did the book spun-off from, what kind of meditation it started from. In the breathing meditation, to be aware of ones breathing and to be present, that is the same in any other tradition.
The difference in the Drukpa tradition is that whenever you breathe out, we visualize or imagine black smoke or energy coming out of our body. That energy is our anger, frustration, sadness. Whenever we breathe in, we breathe in the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the positive things in this world like compassion. This is the skillful method addition of Vajrayana.
For all meditations, the first step is always the concentration meditation. The second is analytical meditation which is the four things that we went through. And the last meditation which is done for little bit advanced meditators is to remain aware in the spaciousness of your mind without labelling. This is the kind of sequence.
Firstly the concentration meditation is like a focus torch light. With that focus light, you turn the light into your mind – how you react, how you think, is it true that life is like a reflection of a mirror or does something external exist as we label it. We label happiness, sadness, big, small, does label really exist? When this meditation is done, it helps us to remain aware and in the spaciousness of our mind without labeling. Be aware of every emotion without labeling them as positive or negative. These three meditations support each other.