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.
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2014年2月11日 星期二

Awareness and Thoughts

A student asked, “What is true awareness?” I replied, “When you are going to the bathroom, and you know you need to go; when having a meal and you know that you are eating; when driving and you are clear about when to go and stop; when you are angry and know immediately what has triggered you; when you are happy, you are very clear about why you are happy; when lose something or someone that you love, you know precisely why the loss is causing such pain; when others praise you, you are equally clear about why you are so excited.” In truth, we naturally reflect and meditate except we do not understand the link between awareness and the mind. Modern people should not limit awareness to the meditation cushion, or counting breaths while bringing the focus to the tip of the nose; these are only short intervals of awareness.

Every moment brings different external conditions into the river of life. Perhaps you are not a good scavenger fish but, at the very least, you should be clear about what these new conditions are. When you look above, sometimes you will see azure blue sky, sometimes it will be overcast, sometimes there are white clouds of different shapes, sometimes millions of stars glistening in the clear night sky. If we use the sky above as a metaphor for our mind, you should be able to see clearly but most people are limited by what they can see, unable to fathom the expanse of the sky. It is the same with people’s mind. For instance, we go through daily life presuming a fair understanding of the familiar people, places, situations, etc. However, we find it hard to swallow sudden changes or new situation arising e.g. loss of loved one, bad news, job loss, and mishaps on the road. Even though life goes on and time has not stopped, people have a hard time accepting sudden changes that occur without warning. In moments like these, most people lose their grip on awareness and become lost in confusion. This is, in fact, a failing of the conscious mind.

Bewilderment stems from four kinds of fault: not knowing where our mind is; not understanding our mind; not recognizing the mind’s coming, staying, and going; and lastly, not being able to settle the mind in every single moment. As mentioned in the Sutras, anyone who can resolve these four shortcomings of the mind is already on the road to liberation. Habits are the basis of mankind’s ignorance: people are inclined to think for self-benefits; people habitually head towards safety; people also often revert to their preferred modes of interactions with others. Very rarely do people reflect and inspect their mind, “Why did I do this in this way? While I am doing this? Where is this moment?” This is also an error of the mind. Similarly, people are not inclined to repeat the same tasks; people are not used to being constantly criticized or poor; people find it hard to live without romantic love; people are unaccustomed to having all their possessions suddenly vanish; people are also unaccustomed to having their beliefs and expectations clash. But people are definitely inclined to repeatedly rationalize their errors. Just as Shakyamuni Buddha alluded in a metaphor in the Sutras, this is the same mindset as those who have received the death sentence or criminals convicted repeatedly of the same crime.

Simply put, life hinges on the breath. By extension, awareness training can start with the breath and gradually we will be able to know where the mind is, its colour, size, shape, pliancy, and even the plethora of conscious thoughts therein. So, inspect and take good care of your breath. Paying attention to your breathing is of utmost importance. Let us not forget that our mind is not just hanging at the tip of our nose but it is also in our every breath.

From Shang Longrik Gyatso, would like to offer this piece of advice to fellow practitioners and students.