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Buddhadharma : Fall 2016
fall 2 0 1 6 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 21 situation. Consider if you are projecting a particular idea of compassion on yourself. tenZin WanGyal rinpoche: Having the sincere desire that oth- ers not suffer and acting for the welfare of others are core to maturing on the spiritual path. With any teaching that you read or hear, you must allow time to personally reflect upon the teaching, take it to heart, meditate, and then allow the results of your practice to find expression in your life. To engage in reflection in an intimate way, I encourage my stu- dents to first enter a proper space. By this I mean to simply allow your moving, restless mind to rest by taking a good posture and focusing on the stillness of the body until you begin to experience a sense of inner stillness. As you feel inner stillness, this supports a connection with being that is not bound by the body but is naturally open. Resting here, continue by listening and hearing inner silence. Our tendency to chatter and comment on our experi- ence can be allowed to rest as we connect with silence and release into it. At some point it will dawn on you that there is a sense of clarity. Simply put, you are aware of being open, and that awareness is not a particular thought but a direct experience of being awake. The mind is experienced as open like the sky, and even as thoughts, sensations, feelings, and recollections may arise, you can remain connected to the openness itself without being pulled into distraction. You begin to experience a sense of yourself that is not bound by any particular personality. You discover a basic sense of well- being and goodness that I refer to as the inner refuge. Even a glimpse of this is nourishing and refreshing. As you rest in inner refuge, allow yourself to reflect upon someone close to you that you know is suffering or is having difficulty. Perhaps you have a friend who has just received a difficult diagnosis or old parents who are losing their ability to care for themselves. Even listening to the news for a minute can provide information about the suffering of others in our world. Sit with an experience that is fresh and host it as you would a guest. Rather than thinking or analyzing, notice what you experience in your body, your breath, and your mind. It is important as you reflect upon the experience of the suffering of others that you recognize any tendency to push your experi- ence away, to magnify or cling to it, or to distance yourself or disconnect from it. Can you release these tendencies and be with your experience in such a way that you embrace it with openness, awareness, and warmth? Can you imagine holding the suffering of another in this way? As you do this, empathy or the ability to experience the suf- fering of another is cultivated. This is a necessary step on the path, and in fully allowing the experience of empathy, com- passion will naturally and effortlessly arise. You will recognize a deep wish to alleviate the suffering of another and begin to spontaneously act for the benefit of others as compassion ripens in your mind stream. Mandalas Thangkas Prayer Wheels Bodhisattva Rupas Singing Bowls Tibetan Rugs