Choje Lama Rabsang’s Dharma talk on his birthday

Choje Lama Rabsang’s Dharma talk on his birthday

With devotion through the difficulties

Lama Rabsang began his spontaneous Dharma talk by mentioning his deep wish, starting in early childhood, to spend his life in retreat and meditating. He said that due to karma it just didn’t happen. He first had to come out of his personal retreat to become a Discipline Master in Sherabling Monastery. After serving in this position for four years, his guru, His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche then asked him to look after the Palpung Changchub Dargyeling, a new Buddhist Centre in UK. Lama reflected how many times over the years he had thought that it wouldn’t work, pondering why they had sent him here. With great honesty, he expressed the conflict inside; both doubting himself while at the same time thinking that his guru is realised being who knew what they are doing. So Lama decided to trust him. Lama Rabsang said that this trust kept him going, and that, if he hadn’t listened to his guru, he would have just gone. “Now I am here, and I am really grateful” he concluded, reflecting on the present.


The meaning of a Dharma Centre

Looking back it looks like a long journey all this way to here, but then somehow it feels very short time” said Lama. He continued: “It is wonderful to come here to Brynmawr. We have the opportunity to invite lots of Rinpoches and realised beings to come here to bring blessings and Buddha’s teachings here. We need all the causes and conditions for these things to happen, and now we have all those causes and conditions here. You all have helped. In the future we have more opportunities to invite and host the visits of great masters here.”

Lama pointed out that it is due to the ripening of accumulated merit that everything is going very well now. Looking at the next year, Lama said: “This coming year we are waiting to receive Very Venerable Mingyur Rinpoche, and hopefully soon also His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche and His Holiness Karmapa to bless this centre and give teachings. Next year we are starting a big project of building a mezzanine floor above the shrine for a visting Rinpoches’ room”. Lama mentioned a kind friend of his who has promised to lend £30 000, to help to start the project. Lama also shared his wish to make the outside of the Centre look like a traditional monastery. “That’s my wishes” he said and explained that usually monasteries represent a pureland, a mandala.


A one-year retreat

For many years I have tried my best to teach what I know, and this coming year I am going to go on a one-year retreat. I am not going to completely disappear, but I come out once a month: a weekend to teach.” Lama explained his next year’s plans. He indicated that the reason he felt the need for the retreat: “I feel like I need more practice. I feel like not just running around. My responsibility is not easy. And one way when you look, you need experiences, you need Dharma blessings that are coming through the practice. Reading books is not good enough. I feel I need more practice, coming through my heart, that is my desire. The blessings are held through the practice, not just in the mouth, not just in the head. It has to be meaningful. For example, when we are taking Refuge, it is not good enough to just say the words. We really need to mean it, we need to believe it, we need to have devotion and confidence in us. This way the blessings come through. We can see this in good practitioners, they have like a different energy. Something touches your heart; that is called blessing. Myself I am not a good practitioner but I need to do more practice.”

Lama kindly expressed his confidence in our practice saying: “Now the centre is going well, you have all helped, I teach and talk about the same things all the time. Now you know what to do, you just need to practice now. And then also lots of Rinpoches are coming here and you will get teachings, then all you need is just practice.”

Lama explained that he will come out once a month to help keep the centre going and also because people sometimes need it. He said that he tries to think about all sides, and do what is useful and beneficial. He continued: “I myself would be happy to just to disappear on a retreat and if I would just get some food, I would be fine.”

Lama related his experience of a solitary retreat in response to a question about him feeling lonely: “When I am on a solitary retreat, I feel completely free, I don’t need to worry about anything. You have your practices, there is lots to do. It is not just doing nothing. When you for example practice mindful meditation it is like you are doing something – just maintain open awareness and be in a present moment. Then especially helpful is to not to think about time. I don’t think about the days and months. I just sit there, be in the present moment and maintain that. When it comes a dinner time, then eat, when you need to go to toilet you go. No need to think or plan this and that.”


Carried away by distractions

Lama reflected on impermanence saying: “When I look back I can see I am getting older now. My own mother asked me the other day ‘what has happened to you, you look so old!?’ and I thought that it is very true, I am getting old!” Lama then spoke about the helpfulness of the retreat in comparison in practicing in daily life: “If you are running around in samsara, yes sure you can make it meaningful and do good things but there are lots of distractions. If you want to do, for example, cooking meditation, you start with being mindful but then some point you just lose the mindfulness. We think we can stay mindful, but we really are lost. We are running around in samsara and thinking we can be mindful and we can meditate anywhere. Yes, if you can do that it is wonderful! I personally try so much but I can’t.” He also emphasized the importance of formal practice sessions and disciplining our minds: “You can put more effort in to sit down one hour or two hours and meditate. Decide that you just do meditation, be determined. Then you can see how well you can keep it (mindfulness). If I am running around and just thinking I am mindful, days are gone, weeks are gone, months are gone, years are gone! Samsara gives me lots of distractions. Yes, I try to benefit others, I try to be mindful, to be determined, but really when I look back my reactions, my practice level is rubbish!”

Lama urged us to look at the level of our practice: “You can see what is going on. When you are meditating, you are looking around, looking at the time, waiting for it to finish. When you really look at your meditation, are you really satisfied?”. He continued, describing confidence in meditation: “When you meditate, relaxed, in this moment, rest in the present moment completely, and you can see that just there is open awareness – when you have confidence in that then you are ready to do meditation. I see that I still I need to develop that. We don’t have that confidence, isn’t it? I also try hard but we still follow good and bad experiences in meditation: today was good and blissful, yesterday was not so good. We still make it into concepts. Having good experiences, we think our meditation works and when we have too much thoughts, we think that we are not good and blame ourselves. That means we don’t have enough stability. I see that also myself I do this. Sometimes I am happy and joyful and want to do more meditation, sometimes feeling dull and I don’t want to meditate. That’s where we can see that we don’t have enough stability. We should look at our mind this way.

Lama concluded his contemplation by saying: “When I look at my mind, I see I need more practice. Even though I try hard, I still need more practice. I have the time now and I have opportunity now, all causes and conditions are ready now. For example, I have, food, you all help me, I just need to meditate now. That’s all I need. If there is no food, no place, maybe I could not do it. I am not like my guru Mingyur Rinpoche going to the mountains. I don’t have that kind of confidence and determination. I really do think we need more practice. I am not just talking this from my mouth but I really mean it from my heart. Just relax and enjoy your life having the opportunity to do practice. Put more effort in practice. Not so much point in running around in samsara. Every day just same things going on, politics, gossip, struggling. I see it as really meaningless hanging around.”


Good is already now

To end,  Lama Rabsang encouraged us to see the blessing of simplicity and what we already have in this moment: “No need for so much struggling. You sit down to do meditation, decide to do for example half an hour meditation, and whatever is going on in your mind, just be happy with it. Don’t judge or criticise yourself. That is just another samsara in the meditation! Don’t look for the results. It is not like a painkiller. We don’t need to look practice that way. This is again another samsara if we are waiting and looking for that one day when we maybe feel wonderful and hoping that one day the happiness will come. GOOD IS ALREADY NOW! We have it now. Om mani peme hung – there is goodness already there! Meditation one minute, that is already good. You give someone a cup of tea, that is already special. We don’t need to wait something special to happen. Life is perfect already. We have an opportunity to become free from suffering through Buddha’s teachings. You can see it: in meditation whatever crazy thoughts, desire, anger, issues come up, just leave it as it is. That is the most special. If you are struggling with your mind thinking what you are going to do, just leave it. Drop it. That gives you complete freedom, it is open awareness. This way slowly the issues and expectations dissolve. They have less power on you and then you don’t have so much ego. You start to see when the ego comes and you can say to it ‘Thank you very much.’ This is take it easy way, practice like this. This way meditation is really a wonderful way to purify all your negative emotions.”

Lama Rabsang finished by laughing at his Westernised habits: “Now I have shared all my thoughts, wishes and feelings what I have – inside out. Maybe another day I would have different things to say, since every day we are a little bit different. I want to say thank you all of you! I really appreciate you coming here, I really do. It touches my heart. Maybe I have become a Westerner talking like this, but I feel this warmth and kindness from you.”

By | 2016-11-19T19:43:48+00:00 October 13th, 2016|All, Palpung News|Comments Off on Choje Lama Rabsang’s Dharma talk on his birthday