Showing posts from July 26, 2009

A Single Grain of Rice

Around 1945, I was a young rinpoche in a monastery in Tibet in my just previous life. I lived with about 18 other boys in a house on the grounds of Sera Je Monastery in Lhasa called a kangsen. I suppose it is a kind of fraternity house. One day we received a teaching that stayed with me even past the end of that life! A single grain of rice was held up by our teacher; “This is something which appears to be insignificant. And yet, at great personal expense, a farmer had to bend over and stand in water with leaches and other terrible things, pushing the rice plant in the wetness. He had to bend over again and again weeding and caring for the rice. If the harvest was not damaged and survived to be harvested, this grain and others were dried and beaten to take off the chaff. Later, this very grain of rice was loaded and carried by horseback for long distances to arrive here at our kangsen.”
Our teacher told us that we harbored an enemy inside our minds so bad that it prevented us from…

Pursuit of Happiness and All That!

There are things that you wanted to do with your life. Many of you are still young and there are important things that you want to do with your life. Things that you want to accomplish, places that you want to go, experiences to gather and integrate. Yet, often, as you move toward your objective you cannot obtain it. Something prevents you from getting the very things that you want to have and feel that you deserve! Isn’t that so? As Americans we say, “It is not fair”. Therefore, there must be some discrimination against the individual that you do not get what you want. In your constitution, it affirms the right to pursue happiness. However, they never told you that you were going to catch it!

So, the pursuit of happiness and keeping away difficulties has been a full time occupation up to this point in your life, isn’t that so? There might be some special problems that are not be apparent on the surface preventing you from getting what you want. In that way, there must be somet…

Suffering of a Teacher

We need to instill a desire to spring back to a stable identity, a stable interior referent. For example, a schoolteacher, over the summer, might have a chance to spend a lot of time alone, just reading, walking through the woods, enjoying their own company, perhaps even painting a picture. Simply enjoying them self, they feel real and comfortable inside and out.

Then they need to go back to teaching school in the fall. Over a course of the next year, by the time the next May or June comes along they hardly recognize them self anymore (again). The real work that they did on them self in the summer, returning to their internal referent to heal is gone. They feel as if they had their feet to the fire for nine months of the school year and again they can hardly wait to have time to be by them self and to get to know them self again. watch this about teacher stress

However, each time they get t…

Little Old Ladies and Tibetan Butter Sculptures

One of my students told me a story about a group of Tibetan monks who came to New York City to make a big butter sculpture. Day after day, the monks shaped and assembled a quite impressive display of flowers, different animals, and deities out of colored butters all fastened onto large boards, which then were going to be brought in a tall assembly. It is quite complicated and requires a great deal of experience in order to make a butter sculpture. watch here

Every day, many people came to watch the monks making butter sculpture, a very interesting process. Some of the monks had their hands immersed in water with ice cubes for long periods making this sculpture underwater. In addition, they had to keep the room at a very cold temperature, and it was wintertime, otherwise, the butter would melt. People would come to watch them mold and create the designs and ask questions, "Are your hands cold?" This was the important question …

When a Healer Burns Out

I empathize for those who suffer problems with co-workers, who feeling trapped in a work environment where they experience anger from co-workers, clients or patients.  Built up minor stress causes annoyance but long-term problems affect health, well being and can end careers if we can't change the way we interact with others. 
For those in the helping professions, healer burnout isn't easy to identify and resolve. Many valuable and fine people have already burned out and given up trying to find a cure. You might even be someone that is experiencing early signs of burnout yourself, or see it happening to a friend or a dear one.
What is the average career of a healer? I heard it was 3 years. This isn't very long by comparison to the amount of preparation and study that goes into that career.  
Many nurses are disappointed in their expectations of how their career as a caregiver was going to be. I gave a teaching called Utilizing Compassion in the Face of Anger discussing s…

Your Diamond Day

Let us suppose that on the day you were born, you were presented with a bucket of perfect and rare diamonds. Even on that first day of your life, you extracted one of these perfect diamonds, but you did not know what it was. Not only did you not know its purpose, you were completely uninterested. All you wanted was mommy, milk, comfort, and care, and with no idea what this diamond meant, you forgot quickly where it went.

The next day, you extracted another perfect diamond, and again, you did not know what it was for; perhaps it fell through your fingers. Each day, you were compelled to extract another diamond from your bucket of diamonds. In your youth, you extracted a diamond, and looking at it, you thought, 'this is boring and ordinary, and does not matter. There is an endless supply of diamonds,' and so you did not give it much importance because there were so many left in your bucket, and so you dropped it in the dust.

Like this, your life went on. One day, you reach…

Qualities of a Healer

At some point in spiritual practice, there is a gripping, heartfelt pain associated with seeing how much suffering there is. Many practitioners who are healers cannot endure that feeling; it is so powerful that it seems to be deeply rooted in perhaps a past life. This needing to be a healer, to acknowledge that suffering t is far-reaching. It is like having a bad toothache that you cannot stop touching. Every time you touch it, it causes the pain to intensify, but you cannot stop touching it.

There are many different kinds of healers but there is a kind of healer that I love so much. A highly motivated healer who is trained and capable is someone who is also spiritually alert. Those who are called to being a healer have idealism to doing good in this world. It is an emotional response to one’s own spiritual development because it is possible to end suffering.

The awakening of altruistic motivation needs to be cultivated so that we do not ride an emotional crest that can be disablin…