Clarity After a Morning of Crying

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s female oracle(Khandro Tsering Chödrön) came to give a lesson. She was unbelievable. Her lesson was unbelievably helpful. She brought me so much clarity and I feel like if I can review her recording one last time that I will finally be able to practice Dharma in every moment of my life. She spoke so clearly and she understood Westerners so well. She had a translator because she didn’t speak English, but somehow she brought me more clarity than any of the high Lamas that I have met and many of them had great English.

She spoke about Bodhichitta and emptiness, but really she taught us how to practice Dharma. She said that you know you are practicing Dharma if you are reducing self-cherishing. I can’t remember if she said also reducing delusions or increasing compassion, but I assume these are all signs of practicing Dharma. She said that doing formal practice is not Dharma in itself. It is good merit to practice meditating, or do prostrations; but if the self-cherishing isn’t being reduced, it is not Dharma. I now believe she said your are practicing Dharma if you are reducing self-cherishing and delusions, because she said that you should practice Bodhichitta and emptiness. I believe she said that practicing Bodhichitta is just the willing to reduce self-cherishing. Practicing emptiness is seeing how our perceptions don’t match what is really there. She said that many people who only look at emptiness only fall into nihilism that nothing exists, but you also need to understand dependent arising.

If I understand correctly, emptiness meditation often involves exploring where is your “I.” Is “I” your body, your mind, both, or neither. There is a lot of material to study to understand the logic behind each one, but on examination you realize it can’t be any of these options. Then, you see dependent arising. You realize the “I” you believed to be you was just a delusion and that what is happening is actually an arising of events that are dependent on causes. It is a tough concept and if you truly get it then you are already enlightened. She said that if you can see the dependent arising than you will very naturally become compassionate.

When I was pondering on guru devotion and when am I practicing Dharma before, I came to the conclusion that if you feel happy, peaceful, and compassionate then what is the problem. There is no need to practice Dharma when you are in this state. You can’t practice Dharma when you feel this way though. It appears to me that Dharma practice needs obstacles. So if you feel happy, peaceful, and compassionate go into the world and see how long it lasts, not for the sake of making it last(this is clinging to either the worldly concern of comfort or reputation) but for the sake of gaining an opportunity to practice Dharma. At my level, I can’t be in this state for very long, so I can practice Dharma anywhere constantly. Once you come into contact with an obstacle, then you can use reflection on emptiness and Bodhichitta to correct your self cherishing and delusions. Just the willingness to reduce self-cherishing benefits all others, and just questioning whether something exists truly as you believe it to creates the cause to break free from Samara. It appears to me that the two of these results in a way that brings the greatest benefit to all sentient beings. This benefit must be full enlightenment.

After we received a teaching by her, His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Bodhgaya! We waited for hours to see him on his way to the monastery and while we waited other holy teachers walked to the monastery. I would have easily waited just as long for any single one of them to teach us. It was like a Buddha parade! I feel like I have done several prostrations just seeing them in person. Absolutely amazing!

This was the first moment I have ever seen His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I walked away feeling really strange. As his car approached, I felt sick like I was doing prostrations. I only saw him for a moment, but it was very strange. I can’t quite explain it. He didn’t look real. He looked like a puppet. He looked too perfect. I am not saying I think there was an actual puppet in the car. I am using it as a metaphor for the feeling I experienced. I felt like what I saw wasn’t the real him. It will be interesting to see what I will experience while watching his teachings.

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