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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» Prerequisites for Renunciation, Part 3
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In moving toward some degree of renunciation, our first step is to be open and nonjudgmental about our suffering, not feeling guilty about it. Judgment and guilt will cloud our minds, preventing our intelligence from coming through. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to wisdom. Knowledge is information. It is what you hear from your teachers or read in books. Understanding is what occurs when the knowledge clicks with you. When it clicks, then the truthfulness of this knowledge dawns on you from your own experience. The wisdom comes in when you realize that it is actually simple to go beyond your own limitations to go beyond yourself and no longer remain stuck with your problems, with your suffering. So we need to cultivate knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. In doing that, we can acquire a genuine path of renunciation.
Some people will feel it is mainly important to renounce outwardly their material possessions, their outer trappings and circumstances. Whether we renounce anything outwardly or not, inwardly there can still be a genuine path of renunciation. But no matter how much we have renounced outwardly, if we have not renounced inwardly, then all that has been renounced may still return. So it is useless merely to renounce outwardly. If we have truly renounced inwardly, then we could rule an empire, yet when it was time to leave, there would be no hesitation or pain. There would be no problem in leaving and moving on because renunciation has already been developed inside. Now, in order to develop this inner renunciation, some people find it helpful to renounce externally as well, to help shape the inside. Whatever we try to shape externally can affect us on the inside, and whatever we are internally can actually be reflected on the outside, since there is a correspondence between outside and inside. So for some people it is very helpful to try to arrange things on the outside in a more ascetic or simplified way. This helps their minds to stay simple, clear and free. But for others this may not be so important because they can still accomplish what they want without the outer renunciation. One method is not necessarily better than the other.
Once we think that one method is better than the other, our judgments have entered. Our own views and preferences of what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s good, and what’s bad come into play. Concepts are fine, but no one is happy carrying the heavily loaded emotions that go along with these concepts. One is not better than the other. Whichever method suits you, try to be genuine and authentic so you are not fooling yourself. Don’t say one thing and then be totally different inwardly, because in the end this deception will just deceive you. Deception of others can only last so long. Whether we want to appear as a great practitioner, or a simple and greatly ascetic person, if it is just mere deception then we have only fooled ourselves. Our focus will go toward that image alone, and not toward our own liberation. If there is a sense of some real development of genuine renunciation inside us, it does not matter how people view us, because in the end we hold that confidence in our own hands.
So neither method is “good” or “bad.” We should always try to avoid getting entangled with notions of good and bad. Again, the concepts of good and bad in themselves are not a problem, but the emotions that we engage when we think of good and bad are the biggest bondage of all, and prevent us from feeling free and at peace. We may need to consider what is good and what is bad, but emotionally speaking we should avoid becoming enmeshed with these concepts. In this way, we can gain some perspective and a sense of spacious, lucid, and transcendental mind. However genuine or valid our points may be concerning “good”or “bad” becoming emotionally caught up in this way destroys the prospect for freedom in our hearts. We seek freedom in our hearts, not outside of it. Our hearts seek freedom from this bondage of our dualistic tendencies. So if we immerse ourselves further in dualistic tendencies, then how will we find freedom? In discussions, we may wish to speak of good and bad, right and wrong. By using our analytical minds and our sense of intelligence and wisdom, we can elucidate points and validate what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. But emotionally, we should always attempt to adopt a transcendental perspective and not get caught up in such dualistic concerns. Otherwise we may find that we’ve become engulfed in a kind of egomania.
So, returning now to the original point about renunciation, we need to develop more and more awareness of our own suffering. When we hear teachings on the suffering of samsara, we should be encouraged to develop awareness of our own suffering rather than become judgmental about it, or become pessimistic or down on ourselves. We need to create more awareness where awareness is lacking. Suffering is there, but awareness is lacking, so we need to focus our awareness in order to realize the extent and nature of our own suffering in greater depth. Upon the realization of our suffering, we need to develop a certain confidence. We will always feel renunciation. Not only do human beings have renunciation, but all sentient beings have renunciation. It’s not as if we are some great or exceptional beings in this regard. All sentient beings have renunciation towards suffering.
We can develop a sense of renunciation without dogmatically putting down samsara, or our negativity, or our problems, but remaining incredibly open and adopting an incredibly wide view seeing very clearly. If we work in this way, the effort will not fail us. We are not talking about renouncing everything in one shot. We are talking about a lifelong path of renunciation. And there is another, rather practical concern here as well. Whether we renounce on our own initiative, using our own strength and wisdom or we rely on the necessities of imperm
anence to push us toward renouncing, in the end we will have to renounce. That’s for sure. Sooner or later, we will have to renounce, like it or not. When this realization truly settles deeply into our minds, we recognize that we will be much happier if we let go by ourselves rather than waiting for impermanence to push us into a corner and force us to renounce.
(adapted from Like A Diamond, NSS 2002, Talk 1)
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