Dear friends near and far,
As always, I hope this message finds you well, healthy and happy. On today’s Guru Rinpoche day, I would like to share with you a couple of verses of advice from Dza Paltrül Rinpoche:
Train your mind, train your mind, train this mind of yours.
If you train your mind with bodhicitta,
Though you may not accomplish a single virtue in body or speech,
Your own and others’ benefit will effortlessly be accomplished.
We have all learned the many methods for practicing Dharma: meditation, mind training, mantra recitation, the progress of the path from the preliminary practices onwards – all the different methods for gathering the accumulations. However, we need to know that all these methods, all the pith instructions of the buddha, Guru Rinpoche, and the great masters have one and the same aim: to tame our minds.
And the only way to know whether or not you are effectively training your mind is to examine yourself: do you engage in non-virtues of body, speech, or mind? Is your mind afflicted by negative emotions, the five poisons, self-clinging, doubt, wrong view, sectarianism, or judgement? Check for these afflictions, and check how much you are able to transform them. Also, see how far you have developed your compassion. See how much you trust in karmic cause and effect. Always make sure that you are reducing your afflictions. That’s it! As Dza Paltrül Rinpoche says, there is no other point than that to our Dharma practice; so if you are not taming your mind in these ways, then your practice is not following the path.
Dharma that does not benefit your mind
is Dharma only in name, not in substance.
If your mind does not change one bit,
even a hundred years in retreat is only source of hardship.
As stated above, whatever Dharma practice you are doing, it needs to be benefitting your mind. Whether we are speaking of benefitting beings or upholding the Dharma, both come down to transforming your mind. If you are able to bring happiness and ease to your own mind, you will learn how to do so for other beings as well. And if you are able to decrease the afflictions in your mind, you will be upholding the Dharma. Thus, both beings and the Dharma will be served if you transform your mind.
Though you may have completed months and years of retreat,
And finished hundreds of millions of recitations,
If your attachment, aversion, and confusion are not reduced,
Know that your practice is utterly meaningless.
We may be thinking that we have spent a long time in retreat, recited a great number of mantras, meditated for many hours, or studied extensively, and thereby have gathered vast accumulations. However, if our attachment, aversion, and confusion have not decreased, we should understand that all these practices have been pointless, as Dza Paltrül Rinpoche says.
Please take these verses to heart. The words of such great masters as Dza Paltrül Rinpoche carry great blessings and point us in the direction of the true, authentic Dharma. I myself have greatly benefitted from these words of advice, and they have helped me not stray from the path.
Sending all my love and prayers.