Khenpo Gyaltsen taught the Seven Points of Mind Training in January 2024 at the Guru Lhakang at the invitation of Samye Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. This important mind training text was written by Geshe Chekawa Yeshe Dorjé (1101–1175). Khenpo began his teaching by giving a short history of the transmission of the mind-training teachings.
Khenpo reminded the listeners to consider the text in terms of both a single session, and in a more general way as how to train. From the point of view of a session, one should begin every session with Guru Yoga. Why is this important? Based upon Guru Yoga, the practitioner and all sentient beings receive blessings. These blessings are what help us give rise to genuine bodhicitta. When you practice Guru Yoga, you visualize whichever deity you wish, always remembering that in essence , the deity is your own root guru. They can appear in any form. We supplicate, asking that all sentient beings be free from suffering and its causes, and they they may be endowed with happiness and its causes. Finally we wish that all sentient beings without exception may give rise to bodhicitta. We then visualize receiving the empowerments and then dissolving into ourselves so that there is no separation.
From a general training point of view, this text is about training or giving rise to bodhicitta. In this text, Geshe Chekawa gives brief pithy instructions on ultimate bodhicitta and then more detailed instructions on relative bodhicitta. Khenpo comments that mind-training texts vary in which of these practices comes first, but here, Geshe Chekawa says first one gives rise to ultimate bodhicitta, meaning the realization of emptiness.
Khenpo Gyaltsen leads the listeners through various examinations of external objects to determine the lack of reality. He reminds us that in order to regard things as dream-like or illusory, as the text says, that means we need certainty. In order to have certainty, we must first study (either listening to teachings or reading books). We then should reflect seriously on the explanations of the lack of existence and the fact of our mistaken perception. It is not enough to repeat the words of the Buddha, our teacher, or great masters. We have to examine ourselves, do the inquiry, test the theory, until we are convinced that it is true. Most of us have not spent the time to do this work, and thus we have many doubts. We are not stable in our certainty. But once we attain certainty, then we can simply let go and rest in that. That is meditation!
And then during our post meditation periods, we should retain the imprint of that certainty. We take the “warmth” of that meditation into our daily lives. We remind ourselves between sessions that things are dream-like. That is how we become a “conjuror of illusions” as the text says.
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