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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If we have learned how to create samsara, why couldn’t we learn these other things as well? We have to be willing to put time into it. What else is there for us to do? Sit around in coffee shops, drinking coffee and chit-chatting all the time? That’s useless.
The essential thing in life is to be able to sit down and think clearly about what’s importantâ€”which is working with your mind, particularly in the areas where it fails again and again, where it brings you so much suffering.
The fourth magnificent consciousness or awareness is confessing wrongdoings and violations of precepts. You must confess wrongdoings or misdeeds because as soon as you confess, you let go. If you let go from deep within, then the misdeed doesn’t belong to you anymore, and your conscience becomes clear and pure. By confessing, whatever was done out of ignorance becomes something separate from your deep level of conscience and wisdom mind. So confess honestly, genuinely, and as often as possible with all the strength necessary to allow this deep release.
You never have to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty, nor feel that you cannot confess to the Three Jewels. So try to embrace the enlightened mind as a witness, then confess what is in your mindâ€”all your wrongdoings and broken precepts. We shouldn’t feel unworthy of confessing, because this unworthiness comes from our habit of holding on to the ego. Doing the practice in this way is incredibly powerful.
It is said that the moon can be eclipsed temporarily, but soon regains its complete brightness. Similarly, noble beings may be under the influence of negativity, but as soon as they confess and purify, they regain all their strength. So we must continually try to confess, especially when negative emotions are attacking us, and we feel weak, vulnerable, threatened, and disoriented, like a bird hit by a stone. Precisely at these times, we must gain strength by sitting still and confessing all that is happening in our mind.
The fifth magnificent consciousness is developing renunciation toward all the negativity you have ever done. Think about this negativity, and how harmful it is to you and others. All ten negative actions and five negative emotions are “negative”Â because of their nature, the sensation they produce, and the outcomes they bring. They are not labeled negative without reason.
In the Buddhist context, an action is negative when it is ignorant by nature, when its sensation is painful, and when its outcome is suffering. In this manner, we can understand that all negative actions are detrimental.
For instance, the nature of anger is ignorance. When we get angry, we lose our clarity and awareness, and have no sense of what is happening to our mind, no perspective of its true nature. The sensation of anger burns us in the core of our heart. It feels like lava flowing, burning inside our heart, almost like we are dying. So in terms of sensation, anger is tremendous pain. Then, if we get angry enough to kill someone, we will have to endure a jail sentence in the short term, and in the long term, suffer in the lower realms for eons of time.
Similarly, attachment and jealousy have ignorance as their nature, produce sensations of discomfort and suffering, and have harmful short and long-term results. So we must realize how the negative actions and negative emotions are dangerous, and restrain or abandon them.
Conversely, we must realize the beneficial effects of positive actions. By nature, they are awake and aware; in sensation, they are pleasant and peaceful; and their fruits, both short and long-term, are abundant benefit. When we feel genuine compassion, the nature of our mind is awake. Â
When we feel compassion, there is a sense of wakefulness, courage, and vivid, translucent mind. Total compassion for another person liberates us from our ego cocoon. The tightening in our heart that we have struggled with in the past melts away, and we feel tremendous joy and pleasure.
When we can do something to help another, the short and long-term fruits are enormously beneficial, both for the other person and for ourselves. The long-term benefit of compassion is great benefit for ourselves and for others. Compassion gathers into us all the noble qualities of the Dharma and the enlightened mind. It’s the ultimate hook that catches all the noble qualities of enlightenment at once.
We should not think of even a small amount of compassion as insignificant. There is a saying, “Don’t think that small negative actions don’t matter. The fire from a single spark can burn the entire forest.”Â Similarly, we shouldn’t think that small positive actions are insignificant, because single drops gathering together can eventually produce a great lake.
With this in mind, we must increase positive actions and decrease negative actions, through having an objective mind, not biased toward particular people or toward ourselves.
The sixth magnificent consciousness is determining our actions by intelligence and not by emotions. When we are critical of ourselves through intelligence, we can distance ourselves from negativity and misdeeds. But when we are critical of ourselves through our emotions, we get confused, and cannot make a positive change. It becomes a case of “bad me”Â and produces a guilt trip. If we use the emotions of our ego, then it is like the traditional image of a crocodile that eats its own tail, and grows bigger and bigger. Ego feeds on itself, which is not helpful.
The seventh is developing fearlessness in this life, and toward the next life. When people are fearful of the next life, they tend to ignore it, pretending it doesn’t exist. They focus totally on this life and become nihilistic. Then they tend to engage in self-indulgent behavior, which brings about many negative results.
We can develop fearlessness toward the next life by mindfully observing our actions and bringing discipline to the three doors of body, speech, and mind. We also nurture fearlessness by increasing our understanding and wisdom, so that we accumulate positive karma to purify this life’s negativity, and bring positive fruit into our next life. When we are diligent in purifying the negativity of our body, speech and mind, we can look forward to the next life. Just as when we plant a seed in the earth, we can expect a fruit to appear, so too can we expect the fruit of positive discipline to manifest. You don’t plant a seed in the ground just for the fun of planting it; you plant it so you can harvest the fruit. Similarly, if your intention and dedication are vast, when you apply positive discipline with body, speech and mind, abundant fruit will manifest in the next life.
Â For this reason, we should not be afraid of the next life. Instead, we should actually look forward to it, turning against any nihilist views and tendencies, such as self-indulgence or denying the existence of the next life.
This perspective is helpful because it provides a vision of how to live in this life, how to become fearless and look ahead confidently. If you expect something wonderful to happen tomorrow, then today will be pleasant as well. If you are engaged in positive actions, you can feel at ease about a good next life. And not only will you be able to reap the fruit in the next life, but this life will also be good. This gives us a lot of confidence to act beneficially and be at ease in this life.
Impermanence Dawning in Our Heart
The eighth is the realization that all compounded things are impermanent and come to an end. There’s the saying: “Anything that goes up must come down. Anything that is built eventually turns to ruin. Anyone who is high, is at some point brought low. Anyone who is born will die. Anything that grows will eventually come to an end.”Â
When we understand that all compounded things are impermanent in this way, then our own suffering, no matter what it’s like, becomes just part of the phenomenal world, so we don’t take it personally. It is all part of the law of how things are in this world. There is no sense in dwelling on your discomfort or suffering as a punishment, curse, or tragedy inflicted upon you. You can develop a sense of detachment, or what I mentioned previously,Â “little desire, great contentment.”Â With this outlook, you can become intrigued by the phenomenal world and how things run their own course; and then you can learn how to live in accord with that course. To have this contentment dawn in your heart is very helpful.
When impermanence first dawns in your heart, it helps motivate you in your Dharma practice. Then it increases your diligence, and finally, it transforms into deathlessness, the dharmakaya state. Therefore it is important to maintain the view that all compounded things are impermanent.
The ninth magnificent consciousness is realizing that the entire phenomenal world, including oneself, has no intrinsic nature or ego; which is to say that everything is illusory, like a dream. Everything is interdependent origination and its appearance. When we have that realization, our heart and mind feel so much lighter and transcendent. Try to meditate on the interdependent origination of all things. Meditate on all things as elusive and illusory, like a dream, a rainbow, an echo, a mirage, or a magician’s display. This is how to keep from being so solidly fixated.
Appreciation of Nirvana
The tenth is feeling inspired to put an end to our own suffering and the sufferings of others, by no other means than the realization of the truth itself. Realization of the truth is nirvana since that truth is the cessation of all suffering. So we must become inspired by the fact of interdependent origination:Â the principle that nothing is independently existing but relies upon causes and conditions to come into existence, abide and cease. Since everything is interdependently originated, everything is likewise empty of intrinsic existence.
There are eight traditional similes of the illusory nature of phenomena: an echo, a dream, a magician’s display, a mirage, a city of gandharvas, a hallucination, a reflection of the moon in water, and an apparition. Sometimes a rainbow is included in this list as well.
There is truth to be realized, and that this truth is the cessation of all suffering and all illusions. This is the tenth magnificent consciousness.
So please work to develop these consciousnesses. When you are aren’t busy, go through them. When you have even more time, try to really contemplate them. Bring all the Dharma knowledge and understanding that you have accrued into developing these ten magnificent awarenesses or consciousnesses.
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