This is the eleventh entry from my fieldwork diary. The original date is 11.07.2010.
Due to Drupon Sangyas' absence, Khenpo Tamphel gave us a lecture.
"Gampopa said, "If we do not practice the dharma correctly we are imprionsed."
We need to take refuge in order to practice the dharma. It protects us from taking the wrong path. We can generate bodhicitta for all sentient beings. When we take refuge under Buddha we should remember that Buddha is already in our minds. Buddha was not just a person, he was an enlightened being. We all have this potential. We all have Buddha-nature.
We need to understand that compassion is the living dharma, a teaching that already exists within ourselves. Compassion is the highest dharma. However, taking refuge is only a temporary reminder that we have this within us.
The 1st stage is Visualization.
The 2nd stage is Meditation (Mahamudra).
The 3rd stage is Guru Yoga.
1. Visualize yourself as Chenrezig, meditate and pray to Milarepa. We should do everything mindfully - not just here at the center but also everywhere else. We all have Buddha-nature and therefore we have the right to think of ourselves as Chenrezig. When we do so we feel more love and compassion for other sentient beings."
So we all meditated and tried to visualize ourselves as Chenrezig.
Khenpo Tamphel then continued:
"The mind is like a monkey, it doesn't stay in one place. But reciting this mantra will help us focus and not become distracted.
HRIH - visualize a light spinning in your heart, spreading everywhere. Then this light is received by other sentient beings in the universe.
2. You can even use a small object and just observe it in front of you. Don't study it. Just be conscious of it.
You can reach a state of deeper wisdom by realizing the fact that your mind is always with you.
3. Before Guru Yoga we should pray to Milarepa.
Focus on your breath. There shouldn't be an aim to achieve something during meditation. Let go of any such thoughts. Ambition is only an obstacle in meditation. It keeps coming in the way if you hope to achieve something. So do not hope for anything and don't have any fears of not achieving anything either. Just focus on your breath.
The more you try to concentrate the more you think and your mind beings to wander everywhere. The mind is then like a monkey. But if you know how to just observe your own thoughts you are doing well. The Buddha also used that method.
It's beneficial to have a balanced mind in meditation. You should also practice this at home. In this way the mind will become naturally gentle and calm.
It isn't good to meditate for too long the first time. You should start slowly and take this step by step. If you become tired then just take a pause. You do not need to accomplish anything, such kind of thinking is an obstacle.
It's easy to become distracted so you should practice often. You can meditate anywhere, even while walking. A lot of joy can come from just walking mindfully. The same goes for eating or any other activity. Let us not act like robots. We should be mindful of everything.
Don't become discouraged by distractions. With effort you become better and after some time you will feel some power within you. Stay continuously in the present and don't dwell on the past or think too much of the future. When your mind is as clear as the sky you can attain enlightenment without selflessness."
*Important side note: These diary entries do not reflect every word the teacher said, and there may be some mistakes or misunderstandings, for which I am sorry and accept responsibility. In a few instances, I have interjected my own interpretation or explanation.