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Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
buddhadharma| 15 |spring 2007 For a dharma practitioner, your desire to attain enlightenment is at the center of the mandala. So your family life becomes the path to enlighten- ment, your career becomes the path to enlighten- ment, your schooling becomes the path to attaining enlightenment. If what’s at the center is your desire to learn Tibetan or be a teacher or be socially engaged as a hospice monk or nun, etc., it’s not going to work. But if what is at the center of the mandala is the desire to attain enlightenment, to wake up fully from the samsaric mind-set, then everything is a support for that. These things are not in contradiction because we get up in the morning, we live our day, and go to sleep at night. The question is, is that day a path to enlightenment or is it just a regular sam- saric day? Wearing robes and living in a monastery does not turn it into a path to enlightenment, even though it is meant to support it in every way. Although I want to emphasize the commitment to attaining enlightenment, I wish to include the mundane aspects of our lives. I thought of put- ting at the center of my mandala a pithy phrase, “Going beyond bias.” (Yours could be different.) If you said that phrase every day, you will have renewed your commitment to spending that day going beyond bias. Even as you fall asleep, if pos- sible, you say, “I will remember going beyond bias in my dreams.” Then twenty-four hours a day are covered. You wake up in the morning and recommit. Sometimes this is talked about as intention. It has so much power if you are clear about what your intention is. It really ripens. If you are clear about what your intention or commitment is, it’s like watering positive karmic seeds. froM The Lion’S RoAR (fall 2006), The NewSleTTer of gaMpo aBBey. STEVEHEYNEN nothing left to hold Tsoknyi Rinpoche examines the subtle clinging of conceptual awareness and how to let it go. What is the difference between the real state of rigpa [nondual awareness] and the imitation? Check whether or not there is any clinging, any sense of keeping hold of something. With concep- tual rigpa you notice a sense of trying to keep a state, maintain a state, nurture a state. There is a sense of hope or fear and also a sense of being occupied. Understand? The keeping means there’s a sense of protecting, of not wanting to lose it, in the back of the mind. This is not bad, it’s good, and for some people there’s no way around train- ing like that in the beginning. Through training in this way, that conceptual aspect becomes increas- ingly refined and clarified. So you practice more, more, more. You have more of a sense of openness, but still you’re hold- ing this openness. All right, then, let the openness go. Now let’s say that after two months you let it go. But still you’re staying within the openness, so then you practice letting go of the staying. And somehow there is still a remnant of wanting to achieve it again. So you let that go as well, and slowly, again, let it go, let it go, until you become very much just there, and finally very free and easy. froM The weBSiTe of The puNdariKa fouNdaTioN (puNdariKa. org), aN orgaNiZaTioN ThaT SupporTS The worK of TSoKNyi riNpoChe. what’S at the center of your mandala? How you answer that question will shape your spiritual path, says Pema Chödrön. A very long time ago, I heard a teaching by a Tibetan teacher. He asked, “What is at the cen- ter of your mandala, the center of your personal mandala?” This was a Vajrayana teaching being given about our personal environment, the outer environment being a mandala. As Vajrayana students, at a cer- tain point when we start sadhana practice there is a deity at the center of the mandala. This teacher used this mandala image for everyday life, saying that whatever is at the center of your life mandala will decide how your whole life goes: “If career is at the center of your mandala, then everything you do is going to be influenced by your wanting to get ahead with your career. If family life is at the center of your mandala, then everything you do is going to revolve around that – the way you spend your energy, your actions, and your words, everything. Somehow that will be the focus of your life, or the most important thing.”