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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The Potential of the Mind
Uneasiness, depression, and anxiety appear to be the common ailments of modern man. People are often easily provoked and become red-faced with agitation. Others become frustrated and storm off the moment they are admonished by their department head. Some, due to inexplicable mood swings or an offhand remark from another, will set in motion some fatal disaster. Often, spouses and family members become estranged over some harsh words exchanged. Actually, if we look carefully, we will realize that all around, people have become increasingly unstable and intolerant to stress. When you see old friends that you have been out of touch with, you find them full of discontent and ceaselessly complaining and even cursing the world. The elegant and gentle manner of days gone by has all but completely disappeared. These people actually deserve our sympathy because they have, to different extents, depressive inclinations. Everyone knows anxiety or depression is a psychological disorder, and it is uncertain when it might flare up. When the illness becomes more serious it can be devastating for everyone around. Statistics show a rising trend in the mortality rate from depression. This is the modern plague, the Black Death of our times and it can't be taken lightly.
The cause of mental exhaustion can be traced back to our attachments and desires. Not only ordinary people relate to this problem, many great spiritual masters and practitioners invest their lives and their time in transforming greed and attachments. The great Vajrayana master Longchenpa spent a great many years in retreat completely exposed to the scorching sun and torrential rains, not even taking shelter in a cave. He practiced in a place where he could not stand up straight and there was barely room for him to turn around. This kind of ascetic practice was done entirely for the purpose of transformation. His only possession was a burlap sack that he wore during the day and, at night, it turned into his bed, and then during meditation practice it was his cushion. The interesting thing about the place where he would practice was the variety of prickly trees and grasses that would prick him all over, making of him a mass of bleeding wounds. At one point he had thought about cutting these down but it occurred to him that, while he hadn’t yet attained enlightenment, did he really have the time to waste on such things? Then he immediately dispelled the thought and persisted in his practice with even greater determination, eventually leading to his enlightenment.
The buddha-nature of practitioners and ordinary people is identical. The only difference is that practitioners are able to face their problems. Observing their afflictions incites their determination in attaining buddhahood, and so this aspiration is not an inborn quality. It only requires that a person to be willing to face their afflictions, manage and let go of them in order to reconnect with their own self-nature. For people nowadays, enlightenment might be a far-fetched notion but they should at least be able to transform their afflictions and frustrations. Please bear in mind that, when afflictions have not yet arisen, worry and fear are useless; and when something bad has actually happened, worry and fear will in no way ease the sorrow. No one can stop the hands of the clock. But if we are willing, we can always buy new and different clocks, wind them up and start afresh - wouldn’t you say?
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche