About Shang Rinpoche

Rinpoche’s spiritual pursuit began at a very young age and has spanned many years, in which he received lineages of all four major Vajrayana Buddhist schools—Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug—from numerous lineage holders and great yogis of our time in India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Rinpoche has acquired all the necessary empowerments, transmissions, and teachings to become a fully qualified Vajrayana master. Furthermore, Rinpoche is a recognized tulku (reincarnate lama), authenticated by eminent lineage holders and distinguished masters of our time.
More Info Please click Here.

2014年12月17日 星期三

You Are Your Own Best Contemporary Philosopher

Both Eastern and Western philosophers, along with the thought that would shape their eras, have reverberated through society and provided immense inspiration. The sensitivity, sharp insight and inquiring minds of philosophers are the spark that ignites a new era, making them both social observers and the voices of a generation. However, philosophers are simply expressing their own ideas, ideas different from most. As to whether these thoughts create a storm or end up falling on deaf ears really depends on the ideologies and mental currents and tides of the century.

In the West, particularly after WWII, varying schools of thought emerged and spread throughout Europe and other western countries. These contemporary philosophers can be seen as the trailblazers of the shift in modern western thought. Many of the books of thinkers who died without recognition are now back on the bookshelves, including those by Max Weber,Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Christoph Martin Wieland. In addition, there has been much hype about the score of contemporary theories, among them post-structuralism and surrealism. It seems like as long as you have an unique view and endorse some of the views of your predecessors, you can well be a master of some sort. Most people blindly believe in labels such as ‘master’, ‘celebrity’, ‘successful individual’ or ‘one of academic standing.’ Consequently, the words and writings of those who fall under these categories become the mainstream thought of an era. How this comes to be is part of the unpredictable undercurrent hidden in every stratum of our society. 

I have read extensively on both contemporary thinkers and so-called philosophers from the 19th century onwards. Among them, Freud can be seen as one of the greatest influences on successive generations of western philosophers. Jacques-Marie-Émile Lacan, one of his distinguished students, was not inferior to his teacher in any respect. Lacan’s theory, to put it simply, is built on the concept of the mirror stage. He was also greatly influenced by Darwin and W.T. Preyer, who both studied their own children and later formed their theoretical frameworks. If you study Freud, you will come to understand that the Oedipus complex constitutes an important link throughout all his theories. I searched extensively through all of his writings to find out his explanation for how different complexes come into play during each stage of life, but to no avail. He even maintained that “an individual’s thought patterns, even their entire life, are spent in making sure their Oedipus complex is under control.” Later on, his student C.G. Jung parted ways with Freud precisely because of their differing views on this concept. Judging from his keen intellect, if Freud were still alive, perhaps he would have created theories to guide the human race in a more positive direction.

One can say that most Chinese scholars were broad in their thinking. In a few brief and precise words, they were able to illuminate human nature and thought. For instance, the simple yet profound concept of the Four Virtues was coined by Mencius to encapsulate human nature’s innate tendency towards goodness. This tenet would later have a deep impact on Confucian thought in both Japan and Korea. Even Xunzi’s consequentialism, which maintains that human nature is inherently evil, is still rooted in the concept of the “mind.” If an ideology is ultimately rooted in the mind, everything will naturally be insightful and crystal clear. 

No one can compete with Buddha Shakyamuni, the wisest philosopher in the world. All of his thought can be found in the tripitaka. For example, he says in the Samantabhadra Meditation Sutra, “When observing the mind, one comes to realize that the notion of mind derives from delusive thoughts; therefore, ultimately there is no mind. Even such contemplation, however, stems from delusive thought.” The Sutra of Unprecedented Causes and Conditions also indicates that, “Prior unwholesome thought is like clouds covering the moon; when that thought changes to a wholesome one, it is similar to ridding the darkness with a torch.” We can’t rely on a few schools of philosophy or the thought of different eras alone to truly resolve social problems and thought itself. Everything derives from the mind and all phenomena are manifested by consciousness. In other words, everything from the six realms to the six dusts (six senses), is nothing but the creation of the human mind. This also includes the relationship between parents and children, family and society, and individuals and groups. As long as you keep observing your mind, always reflect on your self-nature and practice the six paramitas and the four immeasurable minds, you can rest assured that peace and harmony will surely arrive!

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

2014年11月19日 星期三

Rinpoche's dharma trip to Australia - Nov 15th Talk

State Library of Victoria

If you want listen to the talk. 
Here is the radio live recording !

In This Weeks Episode Of Soul 2 Soul...
We Attend A Talk Given By Shang Rinpoche, 
Held Last Saturday At The State Library Of Victoria...

We also feature segments from Viviana, Julie, PS and Much More...
Please Join Us Monday at 11am (Australian AEDT Time)...
Streaming Worldwide From,http://rppfm.com.au/stream
Repeated Thursdays At Midday AEDT and Sundays At 9pm AEDT...
For More About The Rinpoche...


Rinpoche's dharma trip to Australia - Nov 14th Quang Minh Temple

Rinpoche was invited to host a dharma ceremony and a talk in Australia. Both were full-house events and the attendees thoroughly enjoyed Rinpoche’s teachings that are wise and witty. Rinpoche would like to express his heartfelt thanks to his host and his Australian students for their cordial hospitality.


2014年10月29日 星期三

Soul 2 Soul station : Melbourne Dharma Talks On Air with David Archdall

On Air Today At 12 Noon (Australian Time)...
In This Weeks Episode Of Soul 2 Soul...
We feature an interview with David Archdall in Taiwan
in the lead up to a visit and interview in Melbourne with
Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche...
From The Melb Dharama Talks FB Page...
"We On Air Tomorrow At 12 Noon (Australian Time)...
In This Weeks Episode Of Soul 2 Soul...
We feature an interview with David Achdall in Taiwan
in the lead up to a visit and interview in Melbourne with
Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche...
From The Melb Dharama Talks FB Page...
"We just did an interview on Soul to Soul here which will air at 11am Monday Melbourne time, then be replayed Thurs noon and Sunday night at 9pm. Tune in!"
Melbourne Dharma Talks
Hosting the Ven. Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche in Nov for talks on Dharma and life. Authentic and unique perspectives from a Chan and Tibetan master. did an interview on Soul to Soul here which will air at 11am Monday Melbourne time, then be replayed Thurs noon and Sunday night at 9pm. Tune in!"

More Detail : Soul to Soul

2014年10月26日 星期日

Seeing Impermanence in Our Daily Lives

All things, tangible, intangible, with form or formless, in the observable universe are no different from our internal thoughts--they are all in the process of appearing and disappearing. As new thoughts arise they quickly replace the old ones. As all the great buildings and skyscrapers of the city go up, small houses of days past are falling apart. Birth might signify the start of a life, but from the perspective of impermanence, it is also approaching death. If you have any doubts then take a look at the candles on the altar, they only grow smaller and smaller, it is not the case that they grow bigger as they burn. The wick will only get shorter as time passes. You could take some time to research and explore the area we are living in now, it was originally a boundless ocean. What we see as boundless ocean now may have been towering mountains surrounded by clouds in the past. The bustling city that we live in today may have been an area of barren mountains and violent rivers. Even the language that we speak has been constantly evolving beyond our control. At the time of the Tang Dynasty, because the city center was in Luoyang (Henan Province), the capital city was Changan so, at that time, the main language spoken was called "yayin" (the official language among scholars and dignitaries). At the time of the Yuan Dynasty, because the capital was what is currently called Beijing, the language was a more standard form. At the time of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the accepted language was what was spoken in Nanjing at the time.

Obviously, language is also a kind of impermanence, just as the international language of the past was English but with the changing times and the prosperity of China, Mandarin will certainly become the mainstream in the future. Likewise, the clothes we wear are impermanent. Looking from the middle of the nineteenth century, the British designer Charles Frederick Worth started making hand-tailored clothing for the upper crust of society on rue de la Paix in Paris. He opened the first boutique and this paved the way for all kinds of designers to follow in his footsteps. These days, if you want to make a name for yourself in fashion you have to ceaselessly come up with new ideas. Just like YSL, in order to please his many clients he had to become very versatile and so his products have become quite popular. Chanel's unique style is due to pattern cutting and the high skills of the designers behind their production, Christian Dior worked towards constantly pushing to create the next new style, leading the trend. If we look a little further in this direction we can see that the watch on your wrist, as well as the rings on your fingers are also impermanent. The style of the cars that we drive will change with the years and be slowly eliminated as well.

From this we can see that impermanence is greatly related to the mind. Of course, throughout the course of our lives there is no definitive whole to be observed, our lives are separated into sections; birth, childhood, youth, young adulthood, maturity, old age and death. Even days are not a complete whole. If you don't believe then you should look back and reflect on your own. Yesterday, from the moment you opened your eyes, which moment actually belonged to you? Nearly every moment was pre-arranged, you could only helplessly drag on and begrudgingly face it. In other words, unless you have been able, for a very long time, to intermingle wisdom and meditative stillness then you won't be able to maintain a level of control over it. Our lives are like sand slipping through our fingers, or like a glass funnel continuously leaking water. Even if you call out in a loud voice nobody will respond to you. If you look back over the original style and features of your life, it can be a very dangerous way of living, because it means that any moment could be your last.

If you observe the trees on the street, you will see how, though they appear tall, strong, exuberant and full of life, you can’t see for sure whether its insides are dying. What sets humanity apart from the beings of other realms is our ability to think and the wisdom we develop over time, which are the most awesome gifts of being born in the human realm. The two deciding factors changing one’s destiny are cause and effect and karma. If one can strive to get a good grip of the concept of impermanence and from there further advance to develop a mind of renunciation, possessing the correct views of the Buddhadharma and practicing diligently, you will definitely reap the benefits of your hard work and be fearless toward death. Never create bad karma, understand cause and effect, accumulate merits and purify your karma, receiving oral instructions directly from a remarkable teacher and the unceasing blessings from the lineage. In the end, your mind will not be moved by life or death, pureland or hell, since all these would be just a process and phenomena. 

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

2014年10月10日 星期五

Amitabha Dharma Transmission

Shang Rinpoche will transmit a short Amitabha prayer, taken from the Tibetan lineage of the great Terton Dorje Lingpa. Rinpoche will also give a short talk on this Dharma, its benefits, its history and how to practice it. To our knowledge, this is the first time this Amitabha prayer will have been transmitted in Australia.

The transmission will be preceded by a qigong session led by senior students, followed by a Q&A open to anybody with questions about Qigong, the Amitabha prayer, or anything else.

Time : Friday 14 November 6pm,
Location : Quang Minh Temple
                    18 Burke Street, Braybrook.

About Shang Rinpoche

Shang Rinpoche is a highly esteemed Buddhist master from Taiwan. In teaching, he not only draws on his Buddhist wisdom, but also his extensive knowledge of Taoism, eastern history and philosophy. Rinpoche’s mix of humour, kindness, and compassion has given strength and inspiration to thousands of people from all walks of life. 

Rinpoche is the current incarnation of Shang Rinpoche, who founded the Tsalpa Kagyu school in Tibet in the 13th Century. His root master is the current incarnation of the Great Terton Dorje Lingpa. In addition, Rinpoche has received pith instructions as well as lineages from some of the greatest masters of all four Vajrayana schools including Dilgo Kysentse, Chatral Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche and the 16th Karmapa. Rinpoche has also received the lineage of great Chan (Chinese Zen) Master Empty Cloud (虛雲老和尚) as well as teachings & lineages from Master Huisan (慧三老和尚) and Master Jiede (戒德老和尚).

2014年10月9日 星期四

The Modern Path of Liberation

The difference between a normal person and a sage lies in that the latter is able to foresee the development of an outcome from small clues at the outset, making it unnecessary to bind them with elaborate formalities and rules. A normal person, on the other hand, is similar to a cat or dog that, without having undergone proper training, is likely to urinate and excrete everywhere or disobey their owners, much to their own demise. They act this way because the karma with which they born and habits developed throughout their life, and they have no idea as to why that behavior is wrong. Although normal people are human, eons of reinforced habitual patterns have piled up and smothered their ability to tell right from wrong. Throwing on top of that the hot coals of greedy desires, anger and ignorance, the whole mess bursts and sparks uncontrollably into flame, making it impossible to contain and purify the karma created through body, speech and mind.

Through his wisdom, Buddha Shakyamuni observed that all sentient beings are conditioned by their habitual patterns, and that the biggest problems these habits bring are endless afflictions and suffering. As (he also observed that) all human afflictions and suffering stem from greedy desires, anger and ignorance, the Buddha started to teach from the Noble Eightfold Path, which helps purify the body and mind. In order to make it easy for people to understand the point of what he taught, he summarized the principal teachings of the entire Buddhadharma in one stanza: “Avoid all unwholesome deeds and carry out all wholesome ones. By so doing, the mind is purified. This is Buddhism.” This stanza is quite easy to understand. The first phrase, “avoid all unwholesome deeds,” means that we should refrain from impure acts of body, speech and mind, either done by ourselves or directed at another. How do we prevent these things from happening? The answer lies in practicing both the right Dharma and following the right path.

Practicing the right Dharma starts from upholding precepts. Generally speaking, one should never be parted from the practices of the eight guiding principles of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration (the Noble Eightfold Path). These eight methods can purify all karma and suffering caused by physical attachments and put an end to all samsaric suffering as well as eliminate the eight worldly sufferings, which is extremely important.

As for the second phrase “perform all wholesome deeds,” it points to the basic tenets of restraint from hurting any living thing, stealing or taking without permission, even if only in your mind, and ignoring morals and virtue to engage in sexual misconduct out of selfish desires. One should always refrain from deceiving others with words for your own gain or letting your mouth run loose, even if you are just by yourself. Refrain from consuming alcohol and other intoxicants that will numb your body and mind, so as not to make big mistakes that you’ll later regret. In addition to upholding these five basic rules, which are the prerequisites of gaining rebirth as a human, you should also try your best to perform the Ten Good Deeds in word, act and thought. Performing these ten good deeds are what constitutes a decent and kind-hearted person. Furthermore, always clearly observe the mind, reflecting inwardly on your self-nature at every moment and not allowing the mind to float outward and search in the external environment or get snared by the temptations of the physical senses. Master to, in every instant, “turn inwards, reflect and illuminate the original mind, remaining completely clear and without wandering.” These methods are the principal teachings given by Buddha Shakyamuni and his successors, including all Bodhisattva and sages, to all Buddhists and practitioners who wish to deepen their spiritual cultivation. All Buddhist vehicles — whether Hinayana, Mahayana, or Vajrayana — root their teachings on the mind, seeing everything as the manifestation of the mind. Yet the basic teachings lie in the intention to benefit both self and others. 

If everyone can honor the precepts, you should not intentionally harm others for a gag, because once you cause pain in someone, you are bound to be plagued by your own guilty conscience for the rest of your life. Therefore, we can say that by hurting others, you hurt yourself at the same time, just like a hunter who kills animals on a daily basis will eventually be harmed by animals. Those who perpetrate unwholesome deeds will not only suffer from the catastrophic consequences while they are still alive, but again in the lower realms after they die. On the other hand, those who perform good deeds will not only enjoy the sense of satisfaction, but also the merits of being reborn in the upper realms. You don’t need to go to the bardo to find the pain and suffering of hell; it can be experienced here through anger and desire. Once they take hold, it is as if you are being burned, physically and mentally, in the fire of hell. This is a kind of torture and punishment.

The key to success on the path of liberation, which begins with practicing the Buddhadharma and ends in eliminating all worldly suffering, lies in upholding the authentic teachings. This is in effect upholding the precepts. If you can also observe the Noble Eightfold Path, then you will be the kindest and happiest person in this age of the Dharma Decadence. 

From  Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

2014年10月5日 星期日

The Unimpeded Path for the Mind From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

From the age of 18 onwards, I have been engaged in the field of spiritual guidance, and I have born witness to a wide variety of individuals. The situation which left me feeling least able to offer assistance was seeing so many people whose bodies, minds, and spirits were actually developing in diverging directions. People neglect their physical health, utilizing all methods possible to run their body into the ground until it just can’t bear the burden any longer. They end up so that, even during sleep, their body by habit continues its toil. Too many people spend their entire lives in a bustling state, and yet their problems are never solved. This is because it has already taken on inertia, like a human robot which operates involuntarily and without end until it’s lifespan runs out. It is a rare sight indeed that anyone takes a pause to ask him or herself what direction it is that their soul is traveling, to ask how a clear-headed life ought to be lived, or even to seek out a method which could allow them to achieve awakening and to see the face of their true nature. This is the creation of the karmic causes of the human realm which we are helpless to change. That is, unless we are willing and eager to walk the correct path. For example, at the end of a busy day, we can find ourselves a quiet space where we will not be distracted and which allows us to achieve a minimal practice of meditation. Or we might use the weekend to give ourselves a day or two to attempt to do some pure, tranquil meditation practice, using some practice methods to cut off temporarily all external connections, giving oneself a real opportunity to connect with one’s soul and mind. This will simultaneously provide you with the opportunity to see clearly your inner world, and all that is actually going on in there. When we are truly able to awaken the pure essence of our innate wisdom, we might just realize how much time we had previously wasted, fixated upon the television set as the numbers of the stock market pulse before our eyes as we are bombarded by incessant external stimuli and consequently neglect the importance of the inner cosmos.

It is of extreme importance that we observe the entire array of activity happening in the world within our mind. It is exactly because humanity cannot find a single way either to transform their anxiety and apprehension, their numerous painful afflictions, or to reduce the habitual creation of unbearable mental distress. And then, with the passage of time, the body, the mind, and the soul form a negative connection and create an endless state of mutual disturbance. As such, to practice concentration and constantly apply the teachings is the only way to allow the mind to remain in a state of clarity and calm. In addition, actual practice is required in order to be able to truly recover one’s long-lost path. Many people have memorised the entire Diamond Sutra or Medicine Buddha Sutra, and yet they are unable to calm down when anger or greedy desires arise in their minds. Many people hold their prayer beads in their hand all day long, continuously reciting mantra, and yet they are unable to withstand the disturbing circumstances which abruptly arise. The main reason for this is that they lack an adequate understanding of the practice of the mind, and on account of a lack of firm faith. With the added tension of a busy daily routine, when the time comes that you really want to settle your mind, the body is unable to accommodate the wishes of your mind and soul. While this cycle continues day and night, it is no wonder that you are unable to master the tranquil inner world of the mind. It is for this reason that I always offer guidance on how to observe the “from whence it comes”, the “duration of abiding”, and “leaving to where” of the inner mind. Its importance lies in the fact that if you are able to keep an eye on these three directions at all times, then over time, the impurities within your mind can be cleared out, and along with it all your mental concerns can wash away all of your meaningless delusive thoughts. You won’t be able to conjure them even if you want to. Thus, even if you only give yourself ten peaceful minutes for practice every day counts as diligence for modern people.

Often some Christian, Catholic, or Muslim friends ask me if there is a specific aim to teaching Dharma. Actually, I have been observing the changes in society and across the globe over the last few years, and I have come to the conclusion that lofty teachings, complex rituals, and an array of mantras are all unable to rescue the helpless souls of the people. I have made contact with so very many connected individuals over the years and I have realized how to help people to be liberated from their suffering, how to transform their afflictions, and to constantly offer positive energy to others, to instill in others the ability to give rise to pure love and devotion, creating an environment of constant joy and peace. It is my opinion that in this day and age, so long as someone is able to imbue others with these things, then this person is a bodhisattva, and the teachings that they impart to others are the miraculous practice methods of the Dharma Decadence Age.

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

2014年9月28日 星期日

Unshakeable in the Midst of Adversity From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

We need to understand that the essence of compassion - benefitting self and others, attaining liberation for self and others - is one and the same. A person unable to cherish and care for themselves doesn’t realize the precious opportunity of a human life, and because of this they constantly harm themselves, either consciously or unconsciously. Examples are smoking, boozing, eating irregular meals, leading a haphazard lifestyle, taking on more than one can handle physically or mentally, doing work beyond one’s capacity, engaging out of desperation in acts that fill themselves and their families with worry and fear. Still others back themselves into a tight corner, able neither to advance nor retreat, making others extremely uncomfortable and only in the very end feeling a sense of having wronged someone. Life in hindsight is passed in days imbued with a perpetual sense of remorse. Some obsessively chase perfection, actually quite a bizarre attachment because it is in itself flawed. Yet so many people demand from themselves and others such unequivocal perfection in their pursuit of self-satisfaction that it verges on perversion. Still others believe themselves to be so inadequate that they are terrified of being around or interacting with others. When you make eye contact with such people, you can feel their insecurity and uncertainty as their eyes dart back and forth. It is nearly impossible to get this kind of person to commit to or promise something. Some people let misguided kindness trap them in relationships that should have ended long ago, but instead they stay, applying incredibly confused and tenuous methods to a situation with no future and ending up buried under a mountain of pressure.

In reality, the majority of people cannot courageously face the suffering that afflicts them. Some hide behind religion to evade their pain and difficulties, hoping to find consolation and serenity. Little do they realize that their shelter does nothing to address the root cause. Even if they bury themselves in the folds of the Buddha’s robes, in the end they will still have to walk cowering into the shadows of their mind.

Whatever you do, don’t go diving into religion spurred by your frailty and fear, because without faith coming from the right motives, you will only suffer all the more. The worse of all human habits are a lack of confidence and perseverance. Human beings are classified as primates and humans as such came into existence about 3.5 billion years ago, based on the earliest physical records. In the struggle for survival against the odds of natural forces, about 3 million years ago humans naturally developed weapons like axes, ground to sharp points and edges with stone tools. These were used for hunting animals and cutting tasks in daily life. These were also the earliest tools used in Africa, about 500,000 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans were already forming groups and honing their skills in social. They started to understand the importance of an organized society. As mentioned above, humans are classified as primates, who are the most advanced animals and all have social instincts. The most unique trait is their physiological wiring for social classes/ranks, which shows that humans have the capacity to strengthen their self-will. No one needs to worry, then, that they would not be able to handle great pressure. Modern people are easily thwarted because their ability to resist pressure from adversity and their surroundings is far too low and they don’t give themselves more chances or room to maneuver. Only one or two failures is enough for them to lose heart. But out of people’s innate instincts, the greatest is the ability to integrate and become interdependent. It is therefore impossible for us to leave behind societal constructs. This being the case, next time you encounter frustration, why not temporarily put down your self-clinging and meaningless attachments and listen to the voice and intuition from the depths of your being?

In my experience, because most people are used to running away from their problems and, combined with their existing delusions and attachments, their only choice is to pile more fears upon more anxieties upon more troubles. The greatest tragedy in all this is what I mentioned in the beginning: not knowing how to put a stop to the harm we do to ourselves and so constantly letting negative afflictions and emotions occupy our minds. We squeeze our clarity into a blurred mess; this is the tragedy of humankind. Nature is not capable of hurting us, unless the heavens and the earth suddenly collapsed in on each other or our own karma from previous lives ripened to bring us disaster. Beyond that, no external forces can harm us; the only culprit left is ourselves. Let us learn from the author Wilson and his indomitable spirit. He completely forgot about physical pain for his life’s ideals. He even ruptured an artery from exhaustion and would often vomit blood. He didn’t tell anyone and instead kept dedicating himself to the education of others. He once said something that deeply moved me, “If one morning you discover me dead, don’t panic, because someone who doesn’t fear death lives all the more freely and beautifully.” Although he is not known everywhere, his life story has become a spiritual model for people today. So I want to tell all those who keep hurting themselves: the time has come to bravely pull yourself up by the bootstraps.

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

The Noble Path Starts from the Trailhead

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

Shakyamuni Buddha compassionately accepted an offering of milk curds from a shepherd girl in order to help her gather merit. As well, he did not forego his bodhicitta when his followers left him during his ascetic practice in the woods, but made sharing the fruits of his attainment with the five of them his first priority after reaching Buddhahood. This imparting of wisdom was the first he would give as Buddha, known as the First Sermon in the Time of the Arhat, or as the First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. The teaching was given for voice-hearers (shravakas) and solitary-realizers (pratyekabuddhas) on how to attain arhatship, specifically delving into the Five Aggregates, Twelve Sense Bases, Eighteen Compositional Elements of Cognition, Four Noble Truths, Noble Eightfold Path, Twelve Links of Dependent Origination and 37 Factors of Enlightenment. These would later be compiled into the Four Āgama Sutras.

Our modern pace of life is so rapid and technology changes so fast that our minds are unable to follow a practical, step-by-step approach. In mundane affairs, most people strive for speed and efficiency, which has led many to mistakenly believe that in seeking the Buddhadharma, there must also be a supreme practice for instantaneous enlightenment. In light of this, I often advise today’s students that they should not adhere to this belief in what is frankly impossible. If there were such a thing as instantaneous enlightenment, the historical Buddha Shakyamuni would have never needed to leave his palace in the middle of the night, visit all the greatest teachers of his time, and then still go through long years of toil. He could have simply sent a decree far and wide, offering a mountain of gold pieces and a personal invitation to anyone who could expediently bring him to enlightenment. Why, then, did he need to practice and realize the truth for himself? This is factual proof that correct practice must follow a prescribed sequence and be done according to the path laid out in the Buddhadharma.

I often get asked how newcomers to Buddhism should observe their thoughts throughout daily life. I usually give them some suggestions, among which are four methods taught by the historical Buddha. I find these approaches useful for today’s practitioners. The four methods refer to the Four Right Exertions (on the Noble Eightfold Path), describing how to illuminate and catch our thoughts before they start veering in harmful or unwholesome directions. This is encapsulated in the first tenet, “(a renunciate generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent) for the sake of the non-rising of unwholesome, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.”

If you are not able to control your mind and let some unwholesome thoughts come in, you have to prevent yourself from following them. This is the second tenet, “...for the sake of the relinquishment of unwholesome, unskillful qualities that have arisen.” It is natural for both unwholesome and wholesome, good and bad to exist and be on two extremes of the spectrum. Before we've honed the skill using what we have learned in Buddhism to guide these thoughts through a transformation, it is only normal that they come to us in both wholesome and unwholesome forms. 

Once we can clearly distinguish wholesome thoughts from unwholesome ones, we should endeavour to give rise to the positive thoughts, as illustrated in the third tenet, "...for the sake of the arising of wholesome, skillful qualities that have not yet arisen." Having developed skill in cultivating wholesome thoughts, we have to build this momentum until the occasional good thought becomes a torrent of unceasing good thoughts that follow without our need to direct the mind towards such effort. By so doing, we would have demonstrated a firm grasp of the Buddha's teachings on the 4 Right Exertions. Continuous diligence in perfecting the 4 Right Exertions will ensure that our efforts become second-nature. At such time we would naturally demand and urge ourselves to allow wholesome thoughts already there to keep going, whilst always digging to release more that haven’t arisen yet. In the same way, someone who had already attained the first level of bodhisattvahood would be continually striving and preparing to jump to the second level. This is the same exertion a Chan (Zen) practitioner would make in progressing in their meditative stillness from the kāma-dhātu-samādhi to rūpa-dhātu-samādhi. We have to constantly push ourselves to keep ascending higher from whatever wisdom we have already attained, no different from the Arhat starting as a stream-enterer would reach Nirvana and eventually Buddhahood. 

Both Hinayana and Mahayana bodhisattvas follow the teachings of the Buddha and practice uninterruptedly and persistently, shaking off torpor and restlessness. In order to reach full attainment, one of Buddha's famous disciples, the Venerable Shouluona, remained in sitting meditation at night throughout Vassa (3-month annual retreat during the summer rains), during which he did not give rise to a single delusive thought. The Venerable Foshatian persisted unceasingly in his practice for 25 years before he attained full enlightenment. From these two examples, we can infer that, just as Rome is not built in a day, spiritual cultivation cannot be accomplished overnight. If I may offer a bit of advice to those who are new to Buddhism — spiritual practice is different from developing a worldly skill. It is determined by the combination of one’s capacity for practice, level of wisdom and merit accumulated in the past.

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

2014年9月18日 星期四

The One Thing Not to Forget While Panicking

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

The most important Dharma center for a practitioner is their external situation. All appearances are merely superb opportunities to practice. Whether the circumstances are static or dynamic, in rapid change or as stable as the unmoving earth, everything is just circumstances outside the mind, which should never influence us. We should face the six dusts with all of our senses while not allowing the mind to be disturbed. Through practice you can reach a state of no distinction between body, mind, the internal, and the external. All great achievers of the past took full advantage of every chance to practice. The year that Master Xuan Zang went to Nalanda University in India to study Dharma he ran into many difficulties. When he was in Sakala he encountered fifty or sixty robbers who stole everything from him and his traveling companions. Even though these robbers were extremely fierce and frightening, Master Xuan Zang was tranquil and unperturbed, and calmly converted them to Buddhism. Not only did the bandits spare their lives and return all their belongings, they even took refuge in the Three Jewels and took the five precepts.

From this story I can’t help but remember how Master Empty Cloud, when he was just over sixty, made a pilgrimage to the temple on Mount Wutai. When coming off the mountain, he ran into some soldiers from the Eight-Nation Alliance in the turmoil of war, one of which was a foreigner who rudely raised his gun to Master Empty Cloud. Upon seeing Empty Cloud totally unperturbed in the face of death, the soldier’s curiosity was peaked and he asked, “Could it be that you’re not afraid of death?!” The old monk replied, “If I’m meant to die at your hands then this is my karmic destiny, so go ahead.” Upon seeing the old monk so calm and unafraid, this foreign soldier was shocked, and let him go. When the Second Buddha, the Lotus Born, was building the Samye Temple, many supernatural beings manifested to disrupt the process. Anything that was constructed during the day would be destroyed at night. However, the Lotus Born was not intimidated at all, and instead used compassion and meditative stillness to subdue these supernatural beings. In the end these beings pledged to forever follow the Lotus Born and henceforth to act as Dharma Protectors of the Vajrayana, helping all practitioners to eliminate their obstacles until reaching liberation.

Usually our internal states are all-too-easily influenced by external circumstances, like ripples in a pool of water. Unable to put this ebb and flow in check and lacking in meditative stillness, people immediately get swept away by external situations. Those with a little bit more stillness also need to utilize mantras, shamatha and vipassana (pacification and insight meditation respectively), and oral tips to keep the mind in check. Very few people have strong enough meditative stillness to be able to deal with things as they come and allow them to leave no traces behind when they go. There are many ways to train the mind but beginning students can practice the skill of “controlling the situation, and not letting the situation control you” or “let the person control the situation, don’t let the situation control you”. Practice these until very familiar, when you're proficient you will find a gradual reduction in your mental afflictions and delusive thoughts. You will be in possession of a broader, clearer, and more relaxed mind. You may even be able to calmly transform any mental confusion. So we need to take full advantage of everything that happens in our daily lives. This way we can practice taking care of our minds as well as our meditative stillness. In the end the mind will meld with the external situations.

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

Newsletter Issue 003

2014年9月7日 星期日

New October Workshop !!

Yoga Cirq- Qigong, meditation and the art of tea
In this workshop we will practice, Arm Swinging, Meditation and give an introduction to the Chinese art of tea.
Time: October 16 18:30-20:30
Address:  1/19 Meyers Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Cost: $15
Williamston Yoga and Meditation- Qigong and meditation
In this workshop we will practice The Great Breath Regulator, Crystal Ball Visualisation Relaxation Meditation and give an introduction to the Chinese art of tea.
Time:  October 17 18:30-20:30
Address: 109 Douglas Parade, Williamstown
Cost: $15
October 18 10:30-11:45
Edinburgh Gardens (meet at the Balls club at 10:15) – Qigong in the park
In this workshop we will practice Arm Swinging and the Eight Meridians Practice

The workshop will be followed by lunch at a veggie friendly restaurant. If you would like to join us please RSVP, so we can reserve seats.
Workshop cost: contributions welcome
October 19
Stay updated via FB for further info on our Sunday morning workshop soon. We are still finalizing the details.
To register Link coming soon !

2014年9月3日 星期三

Self-reflection is the Source of Liberation

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

When disaster strikes, the immediate reaction of most people is to find something or someone to blame or even go so far as to demand an answer from the buddhas and bodhisattvas as to why they are so unfortunate. Why me and not others? In such circumstances, I bet anyone would experience these same negative emotions. Negative karma can be traced back to the most remote corners of our thoughts. It turns into a dark force that incites constant anxiety and emotional turmoil, bringing about all kinds of unintended consequences contrary to our wishes. Anyone familiar with the law of cause and effect knows that once our karmic fruits have ripened, there is no escape from the consequent adversities and hardships. You could very well be endowed with supernatural powers, or could run deep into the mountains and ancient forests, or hide in secret caves and corners, but to no avail; once your accrued negative karma unfolds, there is no safe house to be found however much you try to escape or resist.

Even the buddhas and bodhisattvas themselves are unable to circumvent the law of cause and effect. Our mind is the only force which might bring about positive transformation. We must never allow ourselves to harm any life with our body or behavior, for the sake of such things as having an abortion or directly taking lives to appease our appetite. When it is necessary to speak, we must take care to prevent any chance for coarse or vulgar language spoken by ourselves or others; do not propagate rumours, and never engage in untrue or meaningless speech. Try our best to avoid people or situations that will agitate us. Never use substances such as alcohol to numb ourselves to the anxious mess that is our mind. In our daily life, we must use positive thinking to transform our own mind, resume the virtuous endeavors of generosity, incurring positive karma and practice Dharma according to the Buddha’s words. Moreover, we should treat everyone around us, colleagues and family, with the same respect and love we have for our parents. Never find faults in external circumstances or others, but rather reflect on our state of mind. We must not advertise the misconduct of others; instead, we must expose our own flaws and errors in broad daylight. We should always be examining ourselves, like looking into a mirror without concealing ourselves.

Diligence is a virtue that is conducive to attaining liberation. On the other hand, an indolent mind is like a corpse exposed under the sun for all to see. A wise person is in a state of constant self-reflection for diligence is the key in practicing meditative absorption, just as the opportunity for liberation can only be found through endurance. Endless desires and interminable hatred are truly damaging to the mind, and over a prolonged period, will fill it with a murky gloom. Joy is derived from making others happy; upkeeping correct mindfulness at all times is the best self-protection. Humility ensures our life is never tainted by shame. Never slander or harm others in any way. If only we could control our mind like a driver at the steering wheel, then it would be nearly impossible to incur negative karma. There are countless methods in practicing and observing the mind, but they all fall under the categories of body, speech and mind. If anyone can take great care in looking after their body, speech and mind like their beloved only son, liberation is not unattainable after all. 

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche