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.

2015年11月12日 星期四

Calisthenics for the Mind

Nowadays, hordes of white collar workers go to the gym, do yoga, engage in weight training, or even undertake triathlons - any method at all to let off steam and relax after work. Some people are able to find temporary focus in exercise. It takes their mind off their worries, and they feel better after a sweat. This is because when you reach a certain level of energy output, your body releases endorphins which, for a short while, can ease your emotions and reduce your troubles. However, when you return to work or get back to reality, all of the discomfort again rears its ugly head — muscle stiffness, tight shoulders, throbbing head and body aches — possibly even accompanied by heart palpitations or tightness in the chest. Your physical symptoms attest to the negative mental energy and emotions which haven’t actually been released because their root causes haven’t been addressed.

There is a saying: “Where you find yourself squeezed is where you set yourself free; where you’ve fallen is where you pick yourself up.” It may seem to many that they’ve taken care of a problem or that a situation has passed, but they still feel fearful and overwhelmed. Whether it’s the environmental crisis, with many doomsday sayers spouting negative beliefs about the earth entering a new Ice Age, or other modern sources of stress like the intense interpersonal competition, suffocating pressure from debt interests, complicated but unavoidable interpersonal relationships, or physical and mental instability. For most people these things will negatively impact their quality of life. Our lives — flooded with news of terrorists, economic crimes, and other negative information — have been so thrown off track that it is now difficult to navigate. Most young people don’t know how to experience positivity or happiness. Tranquility has become an impossible dream. What can we do?

Training in awareness and shutting down the mind’s ego-driven navigation system are the only solutions. Most people lack awareness to the point of not knowing how to deal with what’s happening right in front of them. When difficulties arise, they panic, lose their wits and look for a way to escape. This is not healthy. Some vent to get rid of stress, but this is only a makeshift solution. Therefore, I often suggest that rather than wandering the streets like a blind dog, ownerless and vagrant, it is wiser to aspire to activate your inner potential in the face of hardship. That potential is awareness.
What is awareness? When calamity strikes, imagine yourself as a highly proficient receptionist. Warmly greet it as you would a VIP guest and welcome it into your mind to chat amiably to its heart’s content. When your interaction comes to an end, you can leisurely send it on its way, naturally observe it growing more distant until it disappears, and then be done with it. When the next mental visitor arrives, act in the same unattached manner, greeting it and then seeing it off. No matter how many visitors come in the course of a day, if you can receive them all with a natural, cordial and unassuming attitude, the feeling you’ll get — of being completely free and uninhibited — is beyond words.

I often advise my fellow students to elevate their quality of life to the highest level by adhering to these maxims: “Deal with it when it comes; once it leaves, let it go,” and “merge with the situation, with your mind completely undisturbed.” Apply this in a natural and unrestrained way in every aspect of your life until it becomes your anchor, and your mind will be healthy, strong, and beautiful. Please also remember that, in the face of a radical and unexpected change unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before, there is no need to be afraid. It is as if, while driving, the car in front of you stops abruptly: you get a scare and slam on the brakes. At such a critical moment, your heart will be pounding, but in a matter of minutes it’s as if nothing has happened. Therefore, don’t fret. The Buddha in your life will never give up on you, will not let you fall, and is forever guiding you down the bright and proper path. The key point is to regard all of your difficulties as a sort of training, as if you were going to the gym for regular exercise, which will improve your mental and physical health and fill you with energy.

2015年11月6日 星期五

Highs and Lows

Have you ever been on a rollercoaster or a ferris wheel? You find yourself quickly moving from peaks to dips. On a roller coaster, the experience is so abrupt you get the sensation of your heart jumping out of your chest. The same feeling comes with riding a ferris wheel: you find yourself making a complete circle from the highest to lowest point. I often suggest to students who have lost confidence and find themselves in difficult times to try one of these rides.
Life is actually quite similar to riding a roller coaster or a ferris wheel: the ride is brief and filled with highs and lows. This comparison may be difficult to grasp right now because we are so attached to the eight winds (eight worldly concerns). We still have expectations, hopes, goals and dear ones who influence our decisions, for better or for worse. At times it may seem to you that life is quite long, that it drags on. But as soon as your understanding of this comparison deepens, you will see that life has two main characteristics: it is cyclical and has its highs and lows.
Only a lion can be the king of the forest. Apart from their powerful and ferocious appearance, they only attack after careful and serious deliberation. Ordinary people are pulled along by their karma, but for those with a high level of practice and self-cultivation, any temperament can be overcome. You must have a courageous spirit and the absolute resolution of a soldier in battle; only then, regardless of worldly or spiritual matters, will you not be restrained by your destiny. Your mind is the master of your destiny: it is the ruler. When the mind is settled there is peace in the kingdom, peace in society, peace in the family.
Victory is only decided in the last moment. If Shakyamuni had relented to the demon Mara in those final moments under the bodhi tree, there could have been no attaining of Buddhahood. Success and failure are common things in this world. Just like the path of the ferris wheel, if you never reach the lowest point, how can you attain the highest?

Purity: Mind in the Here and Now

Many people recite the Buddha’s name, keep a strict vegetarian diet, and practice in pursuit of purity. They call out, “Give me a little bit of purity, won’t you?” In truth, everyone who holds this wish knows that they have as of yet been unable to obtain such a state. Purity, after all, is neither in the beads of your mala; nor is it found on the meditation cushion; nor in your prostrations and yoga. In their search for purity, most people just end up falling deeper into the mud, unable to take a hard look at what it is.

People who can really enjoy a state of purity are those who live always in the moment. What is this ‘moment?’ It is none other than the most pressing life matter upon your hands; none other than the thing you most fervently would like to do right now; none other than that which you are obligated to do right now. It is the time you are currently enjoying. The time when both your body and mind are being tormented. The moment is that which shackles and chains us to our life; the moment we come screaming and crying into this world; the moment we begin our formal education; the moment we start our first job; the moment we bind ourselves in marriage; the moment our first child is born; the moment we become ill. We follow these to the end of our days.
If you can be completely clear in each and every moment, from one day to the next, you can directly obtain the dharmakaya body without passing through the bardo. If you can successfully observe all the thoughts in your mind from one moment to the next, every moment will be your golden opportunity.

Life can be long or short. Who can be absolutely sure if tomorrow we will live to get out of bed and put on our shoes? A person who understands how to live in the moment will never make excuses for themselves. On the contrary, it is exactly by facing the moment that they will be able to find better ways to deal with what it brings. True purity is maintaining absolute clarity about what is happening, whether it is wonderful or disastrous.

The only real failure in life is when you are lost in ignorance. When you let go in the moment, that’s precisely when success comes. In the hand of the successful person, there is always a golden key; and this is especially the case with a person who persists in carefully observing every moment as an opportunity for accomplishment.