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.
You may browse directly to any of the calendars to find out more about the teaching schedules of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dungse Jampal Namgyel, or Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel. In addition, you can 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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» Healing One’s Mind Part 1- The Virus of Collective Consensus
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We need our brains. It’s amazing that something like a small seed and an egg can develop to become the magnificent and complex biological makeup of our body, along with the profound, precise functioning of the brain.
But, there has to be some additional element beyond mere biology and besides the brain itself, that makes us function as we do. This additional element we could actually refer to as a virus, since a virus is a foreign element that comes from outside. A virus can affect a basic system. Some viruses cause fevers, and fevers can purify a system to restore its health.
This virus, or extra foreign thing that affects our brain, is the knowledge that we receive from our parents, from our society, and from our educational system. So these two aspects: the knowledge we collectively gain from our surroundings, and our own natural intelligence are what makes the entire world function for us as human beings.
A hundred years ago, we did not have many of the medical discoveries that we’ve developed through science and technology. So the way people related to physical health was very different from how we relate to our health now.
Similarly, a thousand years ago there was no monetary currency used in the world. But now we have paper money, and the world operates based on this paper money. We get our food and everything else without really doing anything outside of our mind in exchange for the substantial things we need.
In Tibet, even in recent times, people buy meat by exchanging grain. Grain is the actual currency there. When monasteries need to buy meat or butter, they exchange grain. Here we don’t have anything like that, we only use paper, and when we use paper, we are literally using our brain.
We are all functioning based on some version of the same virus or knowledge, such as knowledge of what each of the paper bills is worth. When we hand these paper bills to others we can actually obtain things to organize and provide for our life in accordance with our needs.
In this way the massive force of the collective consensus is very powerful. If only one person believed in it and no one else did, it wouldn’t be so effective. Because so many people collectively believe in it, and are operating with the same virus or knowledge, it becomes very powerful. This virus of the collective consensus is extremely powerful.
Knowledge, both wholesome and unwholesome, is what makes this world run. Knowledge cannot function alone, because there would be no intelligence involved. Greed, passion, and jealousy are all usually included in there. So the effects of those elements are experienced based on their cause. The effects of our actions are always traceable to the cause.
People eat chocolate because it tastes good. If you examine what chocolate does to you, it actually destroys the body. Food is meant to sustain the body, but so much of what we eat destroys the body.
There are plenty of causes and conditions for us to live well in this world, then move to the next life, and the next, until we attain enlightenment, This body arises not as our own creation, but as a byproduct of our parents’ seed and egg. This body is therefore foreign, not a true aspect of oneself. It’s the mind that is really the “you”. It was here before the body and speech. Mind needed a home, and found a home in this body with all its aspects.
The mind’s continuum does not cease, whereas the body’s continuum will cease. Although momentarily blocked out at the point of death, our mind doesn’t cease. So the focus of our well-being should be the mind. Not our body, and not our verbal communication.
Our minds need the most care. Despite how well we may care for our body and speech, they only continue for a certain time before they will cease. So mind needs to be our main concern. If the mind doesn’t receive the care it needs, it becomes dysfunctional and will no longer serve us well either now or in the future.
Would you rather have a healthy body but a dysfunctional mind? Look at all the problems of the world. There are a great number of healthy people but their minds are dysfunctional. A room full of crazy people is a dangerous place. So the mind’s health is more important than one’s physical health.
As your mind becomes more healthy, your environment changes, and your relationship to others improves as a result. So physical health and spiritual health change as a natural byproduct of your mind’s health. We see then how one stone hits two or even three targets.
This is why the mind’s health must be the primary focus of this life–particularly for the sake of our future lives. With this focus on future lives, this life will naturally improve by itself.
The mental health of the next life is what spiritual practitioners should care about the most. All spiritual traditions have the next life as a focus. The key to success in this life comes through thinking of the next life.
To proceed on a spiritual path one’s concerns for the next life should include consideration of these five things:
If we can remain focused in that way, our life becomes a big opportunity to change the habits of many, many lifetimes. So we can see from this viewpoint that meditation is not just about spacing out on the cushion.
The benefit to oneself and others of simply meditating on a cushion and perhaps reciting mantras, is actually a bigger benefit to the world than being king or president. This is why Siddhartha renounced his kingdom.
Everyone needs to be involved in something significant. And there is nothing more significant and glorious than to be a meditator, sitting on a cushion.
Excerpted and edited from Personal Link #199 – 6/6/2004
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