May bodhicitta, precious and sublime, arise where it has not yet come to be. Where it has arisen may it never fail, but grow and flourish more and more.
Unbroken lineages of wisdom traditions are rare in these times, and Kongtrul Rinpoche descends from a pure lineage of the Dzogpa Chenpo Longchen Nyingtik tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
We have two main study and practice centers in America: Phuntsok Choling in Colorado and Pema Osel in Vermont. Rinpoche teaches the core MSB programs at these two centers. In addition, MSB has several city centers or groups around the world where people gather for group meditation and study, and to listen to the LINK teachings together.
Browse to any of the calendars to find out more about the teaching schedules of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dungse Jampal Norbu, or Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel. View the upcoming events at Phuntsok Choling, Pema Osel, or find out who is giving the next LINK talk.
MSB is a part of the Longchen Nyingtik and Khyen-Kong-Chok-Sum lineages. (Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, and Terton Chokgyur Lingpa, collectively known as Khyen-Kong-Chok-Sum, were the heart of the Rimé, or nonsectarian, movement, which did so much to preserve and harmonize all schools of Tibetan Buddhism in the nineteenth century.)
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Wherever we go, we carry this “bigness” of ourselves, this huge persona and all that comes along with it. We are not ready to give up anything, or let go of anything – whether it is our aggression, our pride, our critical mind, or any of the things that make up our persona and our bigness. So what does “All I want to do is practice” really mean? When we recognize our need to always carry around this huge persona and all that comes with it, we realize we could only fit comfortably in a totally empty universe. Anything else in our space threatens us, harms us, and makes us feel unwelcome or challenged. Problems arise continually. We actually have to think about how to shrink our persona.
We need to lose all the heavy pounds we carry, and simply become an ordinary person, a very common person, whose presence in a room is hardly noticed. When a great practitioner enters a room, or is in a crowd, or in the presence of the teacher, there is hardly any sense that someone is there. When certain other people come into a room, even in the presence of the teacher, their huge personas fill up the entire space. They may think they are being quite natural, but they aren’t. So much pain and mental unrest is associated with doing that.
When we first enter the Dharma, we may claim to be serious practitioners who wants to just practice. But we have to reflect on this assertion to see ourselves more clearly, and determine whether our interest is really in gaining the attention of others. Some people come to Dharma practice with a sense of simple mind. They take up very little space. Others manifest in such grandiose ways. Generally, when people who manifest with such extravagance enter a room, people are attracted to them. But those who behave in that way suffer a lot of pain.
Ask yourself whether you would rather be peaceful, or attractive to other people. If you want to be a practitioner, it’s all about not being attractive to others. It’s about being peaceful with yourself. If you are into show business, then your concern is being attractive. There is a lot of confusion in people’s minds about this. People often think that the whole point of doing anything or becoming anything in life, is to be noticed by others.
When we look at our minds, a lot of the time we are just trying to make impressions on others, rather than simply trying to be at peace, or trying to tend to our own mind and heart. So we have to decide what is important, and then learn from our experience. We have to observe people who exemplify each aspect, and conclude what we would like to be. Particularly in the case of committing to be a greater practitioner, there is no room to have such a big persona, because all students have to be under the guidance of a teacher. Have you ever heard of anybody becoming realized without a lineage and a teacher? No one in the entire Buddhadharma has ever become realized without their benefit. You must have a spiritual friend. When training under your spiritual friend, you cannot dominate the whole space with your bigness. No matter how modest, kind, or indulgent the teacher may be, you must work with your bigness, because it won’t serve you well in the end.
The teacher will not be able to guide you properly and bestow the blessings because there is no space for blessings to enter your mind. Many teachers are so tolerant that they hardly say anything, but when students don’t figure things out on their own, nothing changes for the better. Other, less tolerant teachers point things out. But still, if students don’t realize it for themselves with genuine intelligence and wisdom, then the same thing happens – nothing changes and there is just a struggle. There is a connection between your initial intention and the commitment you have made to becoming a practitioner. If you don’t reflect on this connection, then both your initial intention and your commitment will become questionable. Your endeavor will probably be more about being excited, or wanting to be self-confirmed.
We have such constant longing to be self-confirmed because we suffer so much pain from not being validated. We don’t even see that we could let go of this grasping. Instead, the grasping itself becomes something that we cater to and try to serve. So whenever we think about making a commitment – every morning, every month, or every year – we could do it in one of two ways: in an abstract, excited way, or in a down-to-earth, clear, and practical way. It’s always easier to do it in an abstract, excited, colorful way, because that’s what our tendency has always been. We get excited when things seem colorful, and get very motivated when things seem to confirm us, so this way seems more joyful. This is what our pursuit has always been, so we already have this habit.
So when we are practicing the noble Dharma, following the path of enlightenment – the path to egolessness – we can think about things in a very abstract way, even though the teachings themselves are not abstract. But then we will resist engaging at the practical level. Contacting, listening to, absorbing, and digesting these teachings – as it is suggested – will not be attractive to us. We will just be wandering around at the high end of the spectrum of the Hinayana, Mahayana, and particularly Vajrayana view, with this great passion and excitement to grasp everything at once. This is very abstract and conceptual, since the view is so broad, but your enthusiasm is just to grasp the highest and most profound view all at once, without really integrating your mind with the Dharma. You not have done much study or contemplation, nor trained in the philosophy of the higher views. So it’s basically nothing but terminology. Anyone can use terminology, particularly that of the Vajrayana, but there is no sense of what it really means. You just have a gross or excited idea about Dharma.
From: Like a Diamond p.186
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