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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» Samsara Junkies: Working with Addiction and Developing Tolerance
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Our whole world and everything in it can be viewed, simply, as an addiction. We were born as a sentient being, addicted to this samsaric world and to its wide range of colorful emotions, dazzling scenery, and tumultuous experiences. As one of my students so aptly put it: “We are all samsara junkies.“Â
So how do you overcome an addictive condition? By cultivating two things: sherab (discrimating wisdom), & tsondru (effort). Tsondru comes from focused, consistent discipline; sherab develops through meditation, mindfulness, and, ultimately, awareness.
Many people think that making a change comes from an emotional state of mind, but it has to do with how we really process our experience, which has nothing to do with being emotional.
Let’s look at guilt for an example. Because guilt is such a strong emotion, it cannot help you change; when you are stuck in an addiction, feeling “guilty”Â about the addiction just makes matters worse. Instead of fostering emotions on top of the addiction, the trick is to simply become aware of what is transpiring in the process of the addiction.
Some measure of regret might be necessary, but only enough to encourage the effort and wisdom that leads to seeing your addiction clearly.
The point is to shine a light on your emotionsâ€“to see how you have been caught up in your emotionsâ€“rather than to get even more emotional about the particular addiction.
Addiction to alcohol or drugs is never a conceptual experience; it is physical & emotional, stemming from lust or desire. For instance, an alcoholic does not intellectually speculate: “It would be nice to have a drink right now. A drink will lead me to a different state of mind.”Â
An alcoholic is drawn to liquor by dense, foggy, claustrophobic emotional symptomsâ€“intense cravings & tension built up over time. Maybe the addictive symptoms manifest as dreadful thoughts, painful headaches, chest tightening, or powerful surges of disturbing emotion.
Next, things happen very fast, (you “act out”Â almost before you can think): you want to have a drink, and, before you know it, you are well into your second or third measure.
There is very little awareness of the process driving the addiction because it all happens so quickly; you are not able tolerate the painful emotions that arise and accompany the addiction, so it spirals out-of-control and repeats itself, over and over again.
What can you do?
Now, use these tools to your advantage. Don’t “do”Â anythingâ€“don’t suppress, don’t indulge. Just let things happen as if you were just sitting there, watching a slow-motion movie.
Finally, don’t participate in this movie; don’t get caught up in the action or try to “fix”Â the plotline. Develop a detachment to the movieâ€“remember: it is only happening in your mind!
If you follow these simple steps, you will become more observant, less reactive, more spacious, more aware, and more tolerant. Tolerance is the keyâ€“the more tolerant you become, the better chance you have to recover from your particular addiction.
When you are trying to overcome an addiction, your insecurities can intensify: you might question your self-worth, your discipline, “who you are,”Â your hopes, your fears.
These rising insecurities can make it very difficult to deal with the issue at hand. So try not to be so reactive, retrace the steps outlined above. Very slowly, over time, your effort & discriminating wisdom will soften the addiction and free you from its unyielding grasp.
Compiled from Like a Diamond: Transformation in the Three Yanas, (pages 207-209)Â
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