April 16, 2011
In this session, Khensur Rinpoche began by reminding us of content which all Lam Rim texts include:
1) Relying on the Spiritual Teacher
2) After relying, the stages of mental training:
- Instructions on what to do during the actual meditation session
- Preliminaries and preparation before the meditation session/li>
Rinpoche stated that the meditation space should be in an agreeable place. Then set motivation for cleaning the environment. Think “ I am going to invite holy beings here, therefore I must make this place clean.” Clean with motivation in mind, make this a part of your regular practice. Think while using a broom, vacuum or dusting imagine you are cleaning your mind of negative emotions, thoughts and intentions.
Once the room is clean, display holy objects. Buddha statues represent Body. Vajra texts represent Speech. A Stupa or Vajra represent Buddha’s holy mind. Merely looking at these objects will leave positive karmic imprints.
While arranging the offerings there are 2 faults to avoid:
1) origin – should not earn offerings by misdeeds – such as stealing or harming others – make offerings pure – avoid expectations when making offerings such as desire for good health or wealth etc.
2) set the correct clear motivation – for the welfare of all sentient beings – imagine offering to all of the Buddha’s – visualization creates merit.
Rinpoche emphasized motivation will determine if your practice is Dharma practice or not.
Setting up your meditation cushion (this should be done at least for retreats and use a separate cushion different from daily practice and place materials under cushion): draw a swastika, and place durva grass and kusha grass – this is what Buddha would have done so we follow his example.
Sit in the 8 fold meditation posture, or half vajra posture if you aren’t comfortable. Hands in meditation mudra for meditation – touching the tips of 2 thumbs creates a triangle shape symbolizing the 3 doors to liberation – body – speech and mind. Lower your eyes – not closing eyes all the way, look at the tip of the nose, teeth and lips relaxed natural. Body posture – straight upright = do this to avoid negative factors – this will open all the channels in your body and follow the wind smoothly, balanced then your mind will be calm as our mind follows the flow of the wind – our mind rides on the wind – this will allow you to control your mind during meditation.
Scan your body posture. Check your mind. 9 round breathing technique – Inhale 3 times from right nostril, exhale from left: then inhale 3 times from left exhale from right – next 3 times from both. While inhaling imagine inhaling all of the compassion and wisdom of the Buddhas. While exhaling exhale all negativities of your mind. Focus your mind during 9 round breathing to bring mind to a neutral state.
If the mind is still not focused, breathing meditation 21 times to bring the mind to calm. Generate Bodhichitta in your mind – imagine object of refuge 1 body length away – 8 lions on thrones – cushion with lotus and moon = symbolizes 3 principles of the path renunciation, bodhichitta and right view = emptiness. Upon the lotus sits your kind root Lama the right hand touches the earth symbolizing conquering the 4 Maras. Left hand begging bowl filled with nectar = nectar destroys Mara of afflictions, Mara of aggregates and Mara of death. Invite the merit field, they will be pleased that we are taking responsibility for ourselves. Generate faith.
The importance of the practice of taking refuge. Rinpoche emphasized that at the time of death if one can not do intensive practice that for ordinary people like us, very important to practice taking refuge and avoid the 10 non-virtues. Knowledge alone will not protect us from lower rebirths but taking refuge and stopping the 10 non-virtuous actions can!
Two factors in taking Refuge
1) Fear of samsara – generate fear of samsara realizing the 8 types of suffering
2) Faith in the 3 objects of Refuge
“My Lama who is sitting in front of me and the 3 Jewels have the ability to protect me – with faith we turn to them for refuge.”
Refuge establishes the correct mind state. Refuge practice is for the sake of all sentient beings (bodhichitta). Completely rely on these 3 objects of refuge – totally – “trust fully and you will receive all blessings”. To become closer to the 3 objects of refuge – completely rely on these 3 objects. Faith in the 3 Jewels protects us from suffering.
Feel free to share your thoughts about this teaching. What inspires you? What challenges you? Do you have any questions?
Listen to the full recording of this class on the Center website.
~ posted for Rebecca Freeman, Spiritual Program Coordinator, Guhyasamaja Center