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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» The Decisive Moment
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The way we respond to the stream of momentary experiences we call “our life” determines our move toward our habitual search for security or toward awakening. The Buddhist tradition has many ways of explaining our tendencies to shrink from experience, but all these explanations have one thing in common: pain and suffering proliferate when we can’t stay present with what we encounter. When we get overwhelmed by the rich energy of experience, we put a lid on it, try to consume it, embellish it, or react to it in one way or another.
The Buddhist tradition uses a poignant image of an old blind woman to illustrate this decisive moment. Her blindness symbolizes that the truth overwhelms her. In fact, this blindness, or ignorance serves as her means of escape from resting naturally in the open fullness of experience. Does this tendency have a beginning? We can’t say. But this example indicates that we can recognize this tendency in each moment of our lives and know that we have a choice.
Unless we engage situations that challenge habitual mind, such as meditation practice and retreats where most of our usual distractions aren’t present, we often don’t experience this choice. My friend Rosemary went into her first retreat many years ago. The minute she entered her cabin, the prospect of facing the rawness of her undistracted mind posed an excruciating threat. She bolted out the door and just started running. As she ran deeper into the woods and farther from her cabin, a question arose: “Where can I possibly go?” Unable to answer, she went back to her cabin. Thus began her venture into the exploration of mind, the unknown, and the rest.
To see that we have a choice either to stay present or to run is a powerful thing. It gives us the option of reclaiming our life, which means responding intelligently to what we encounter. What would happen if we made a conscious choice to rest in open stillness instead of panicking? What would happen if, like Rosemary, we went back to our cabin to sit?
The example of the old blind woman raises an important question: if our struggle finds its genesis in our habit of turning away from the open state, what would happen if we habituated ourselves to staying open?
This excerpt is from The Power of An Open Question, Introduction, pp. 3-4.
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