Saturday, February 8, 2014

Great Wisdom


Garchen Rinpoche, a revered Tibetan lama, spent twenty years in a Chinese prison. He relates what he learned there, aside from knowing what it is like to be hungry, cold, and tortured. The following is an excerpt from a talk he gave in Los Angeles in 2011. The teacher he mentions in the below text, Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche, was one of his mentors in Tibet who was also rounded up along with thousands of other monks. Fortunately, they were able to benefit from each other in jail.

"In prison Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche taught me that the extent of your realization will be known when you encounter difficult circumstances. You will not know the extent of your realization when things go well. When you find yourself in a troublesome situation, when you are in great pain, when an intense emotion arises, only then will you know where you are at with practice.

Adverse circumstances will reveal your hidden faults. If you are able to hold awareness unwaveringly during such a time, and thus if you are not carried away by the force of the emotion, it is a sign that you have gained experience in practice.

If you were to practice mindful awareness with great diligence for just a month, if you were to recognize even the slightest thought and not allow your mind to wander off into delusion for that time, even in such a short time you would witness great changes. Fierce afflictions would not faze you so much any more, because you would have gained personal experience in observing the illusory play. There is in fact just one remedy necessary--mindful awareness. It is the single sufficient remedy that transforms difficulties inside and out."

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