rinpoche_aThe shrine room was filled to capacity for the first of the Winter Teachings in October. Over 30 people attended and the accommodation in Tara House was again full to capacity. This winter Rinpoche is giving the Lojong “Mind Training” teachings, using the book “Mind Training like the Rays of the Sun” by Nam-Kha-Pel and “Eight Verses for Transforming the Mind” by Geshe Langri Tangpa (1054-1123). These teachings are basic to Buddhism and also very profound. What struck me when Rinpoche was teaching, was the timelessness of these teachings. They were compiled thousands of years ago but are as relevant today as ever, Rinpoche was able to explain the basics of Mind Training in terms easily understood by westerners. Our mind and the mistaken way we perceive is the root cause of all our troubles. The way we respond to life is often a habit we have had for a long time, and is often the reason we have a hard time! He explained that there were certain “tools” for looking into one’s mind and seeing clearly what was there! These tools were listed one after the other and I eagerly wrote them down. The meditations given after each teaching were exercises in looking into the mind. As always at a teaching, the meditations were formulated by Rinpoche as complementing what had been taught in the preceding session. They are contemplations that can be done over and over, getting different insights each time. We are blessed that Rinpoche is truly one of those teachers who can reach out to all different levels of students. For some people it was their first experience of being at a Buddhist teaching, some had a bit more familiarity with Buddhism and some were students going back years. Each one would have found the teachings spoke to them about their problems or situations at a level they could relate to. Rinpoche’s kindness shone out as well. We must remember that our teacher is in his 70’s and frequently gets tired. Yet he keeps on going, in order to help us with our minds. It is said that the best gift you can give your teacher is your own practice. If I can apply even a tiny bit of what I have learned from the teachings to my own life, and benefit both myself and the people around me, it is a tiny way to say “thank you, Rinpoche.”
–By Anne Boland