Starting Our Practices from Small Details (15 July 2009)

staritngpractice-1Once I was sitting outdoors listening to Lama Rinpoche’s teaching, in front of us was a little black frog, it had hopped a long way from the river, looking for food in the grass. As it hopped next to His Holiness’s throne, it caught a worm, while it was eating the worm, half of the worm was hanging outside of its mouth. A person walked past and did not see it. That person stepped on it, killing the frog. Half the worm in and the other half the worm hanging outside its mouth, both were killed. What is the karma for this? How sad!

Think about this, the sentient beings in front of us have so much pain and suffering! How sad! We should not just speak of the words Bodhicitta, loving kindness and compassion without doing anything. Now you possesses eight freedoms and ten endowments of a precious human life. You possesses the ability to help sentient beings and you are able to do it, you can liberate them. We need not say, “One of these days, I will liberate so and so”. The suffering beings are right in front of us, we have the wisdom and ability to think of ways to help them. We can rescue them but we just are not doing it.

startingpractice-2For example, in the summer, Chinese people have a habit where they do not pour away the water in their washing bowl but leave it outside their house. Do you know how many worms die in these washing bowls in a day? You should not leave oily woks and bowls outside the house. Also, do not pour the oily liquid onto the grass, otherwise, the worms in the grass will die; it is like opening an abattoir. A worm should not come into contact with oil, once it touches oil, it will die. You should pay more attention to the minor details and effects of karma. For example, you could dig a small hole in the backyard, pour the discarded water into the hole and cover it, and prevent worms falling into it. Remember to cover the hole when it is not in use. With more loving kindness and compassion, we should not let the already short lived worms die because of our carelessness. These are the things that we can do and should do. If there are things that we are unable to do now, we should make aspirations to do them in the future, and gradually, we will have the ability to help more sentient beings.

Some little things that we are able to help with, but we did not. Big things we might not yet be able to do, then how do we practice Buddha Dharma? Practicing Buddha Dharma is not about locking yourself in a room, sleep when it is bed-time, eat when it is meal-time, then sitting there in dullness. This is not practice, do you know that?

startingpractice-3Practice should come from the mind! The manifestation of practice is shown in our body, speech and mind. You are liberating sentient beings when your three doors are pure. At that time, whatever good deeds that you do will be to help others and liberate them. When you leave a pail of water outside, or pour hot water or oily liquid on to the grass, many worms are killed in the process. These worms are killed because you did not observe your three doors properly. Ordained people should treasure lives. When we practice, we should watch our every thought and behaviour, we must guide our three doors properly.

You did not have this knowledge in the past, now you know. Use your every effort to actualize this gradually and with determination. In this way, your mind will gradually purify, and you will be able to attain realization one day?

— Compiled from Gyalwai Nyugu’s teaching on 15 July 2009, at Yachen Gar —

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