Listening, Contemplation and Practice (06 Dec 2012)

listeningcontemplation-GN-1Gyalwai Nyugu’s teaching during morning practice session on 6th December 2012

Good morning everyone! We watched a very informative video on abortions. To gain a human life is extremely precious as it has the eight freedoms and ten endowments. If we waste this human life, it will truly be a pity.

Courage and perseverance is required when practicing the Dharma, in order to attain liberation. Everyone should make great aspirations to save and liberate sentient beings. Do not abandon sentient beings.

Today, I will teach about listening and contemplation and the importance of actual practice.

Listening, contemplation and actual practice are like oxygen and water in our lives, both of these constituents are essential. Being adept in both listening and contemplation, but lacking in actual practice, will lead to strong attachment to the Dharma, and at the same time we may become more critical toward other schools of thought and traditions.

With a very narrow mind and pronounced jealousy, we are unable to arouse the appropriate respect for the Dharma. If our pride is inflated we will not easily accept other peoples’ criticism, or see the problem from other peoples’ perspective, or accept other peoples’ views. If we are unable to see our own short-comings, we will only see the mistakes and faults of others.

Our minds are unsettled. Even though our organizational skills may be very strong, our experience in training our minds is negligible. Our powers of observation may be very strong but we prefer not to observe ourselves. Instead, we would rather scrutinize other people. When, in fact, our ability to observe ourselves is very limited. We are unable to tame our own hearts. Even though our analytical capability is good, we fail to overcome our own habitual tendencies.

We understand the Dharma theories but our conduct and thinking are frequently in conflict or contradicting. We enjoy debating with others yet do not put the Dharma into practice in our daily lives.

If someone practices the Dharma superficially, yearning for other peoples’ approval and praise, other people’s initial impression of them may be favourable, but in time, peoples’ feelings toward them may become rigid.

As our minds have insufficient stability or ability to maintain focus, accepting or letting go is very difficult, therefore listening and contemplation without actual practice will unlikely to lead us to achieve our goal.

Actual practice without listening and contemplation has the following drawbacks. (1) Their view of practice and thinking may become very rigid, unable to accept many principles and reasoning. (2) They compel others to use their own methods for accepting the Dharma, like doing retreats, they do not like to associate much with other people, desire the highest realms, and generate a strong attachment to meditation.

When such a individual makes contact with others, others may feel at peace initially. But when being asked about their understanding or insights regarding their practice, they will not be able to reply clearly. It will not be possible for these individual’s methods to benefit others.

If the sequences of the step by step practices are unclear, it is very difficult for a practitioner to rise above a certain level. We need to combine listening, contemplation and actual practice. Every day, we should set aside a suitable amount of time for practice, half of the time used for listening and contemplation, and the other half on actual practice.

The insights arising from actual practice should stay abreast with listening and contemplation. Listening and contemplation should keep the insights arising from actual practice moving forward. In this way, the doubts and obstacles of practice will gradually diminish and the Dharma and one’s mind will correspond more and more.

Every day we should practice and live with joy and happiness. Arouse respect and veneration for the Dharma. With a magnanimous and vast mind, when we encounter difficulties or obstacles, we are able to use the Dharma to resolve these problems.

When your concentration and mental stability is strong, there is no fear of afflictions and suffering. When love and compassion is strong, we are always able to generate the motivation to benefit others. When courage is sufficient, our ability to accomplish things is good. When our wisdom is vast, we are able to solve our and other peoples’ problems. Such a person is able to tolerate, respect and appreciate everything, and yet, at all times, be able to let go of everything.

“Listening, contemplation and actual practice” does not entail listening, contemplating and practicing of every single Dharma teachings and methods. It means practicing one’s preferred method step by step in the proper manner, under the Guru’s instruction and abiding by the requirements of the lineage. One should cultivate unwavering faith and courage. In this way, one will be able to attain one’s goal. The benchmark for examining how good one’s own listening, contemplation and practice is, is to appraise whether one is able to transform one’s mental afflictions and habitual tendencies.

listeningcontemplation-2Today is Thursday. In a while we will do a Dakini practice, singing along with recitations of Yeshe Tsogyal’s heart mantra.

Integrate the Dakini’s love, compassion and wisdom and all her enlightened qualities into our lives. Focus your gaze and attention on the image of the Dakini and integrate the Dakini into our original nature.

Having listened to today’s broadcast, you will have received the lineage transmission (of the mantra).

Tomorrow morning, everyone should prepare good wine and incense to make offerings to the Dharma protector(s).

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