Sunday, January 27, 2008

Others are many while I am only one

On Friday, Rinpoche gave a fantastic Dharma talk. Even though the essence was not new, it was a much needed reminder for me to always focus on others, for others are many while I am only one. Rinpoche said that everything we do must be motivated by compassion; compassion for others, to take on burdens for others. To be happy to be sick, to shorten our lives, to lose money for others. This is the thunder-like proclamation of the Dharma. And how much we do that is how much success we'll have.

We all have fears and we are often debilitated by them. Don't hide behind your fears, Rinpoche said, focus on what's more important than your fears - think of others. Inspirational people and heroes all have fears. The difference is that they push themselves because it will benefit others.

He also taught us how to cut attachments to material things. Having or not having material things is not the issue - the attitude towards having or not having is the crux. If we lose everything, how do we feel. This is one way of assessing our attachments. How can we cut our attachments? Material items can be used as a powerful practice to exhaust attachment. When we buy things for ourselves, especially things we like, we increase attachment. However, by changing our attitude - that whatever we have, is not for ourselves, then it changes our motivation and thus our attachment.

Rinpoche then taught us some simple but powerful visualisation of having one's yidam on top of one's head and how we can transform everything we have into the eight auspicious signs and by focusing and believing strongly, we offer everything up to our Yidam or any Buddha we choose. And because everything now belongs to the Buddha, we have to take great care of our things. We have to keep them clean and in good condition.

We should do it not just as an exercise but as a daily practice. Even the scented soaps we use can be offered up. Beautiful sights we see. Nice textures we touch. We dress ourselves to look good for the Dharma. Everything we do becomes Dharmic practice.

So Susan and i promptly went to buy some new clothes - after all, Chinese New Year's coming, the shops were on Sale, we need to represent Dharma well and we get to make offerings to the Buddhas.

Isn't that fabulous?

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