The Essence of Dharma Practice

Some times the question comes up of ‘How can we keep our practice strong, in the face of so many obsticals and doubts in our daily life?’
The bottom line is faith.
We really must have faith in the buddhas teachings.
In Buddhist thought Faith, does not mean blind faith, it is a faith that comes from investigation and practice.
I constantly try to teach and to get my students to understand that the prayers at the beginning of our meditation session should not be some flat words that we are parroting or drudging through till it’s ‘actually time’ to meditate. Our chanted prayers are a meditation unto it’s self.
When we say the words it is the only way to water the seeds that are planted within our mental continuum, in this life or from past lives. And to bless our mind so that the seeds will have a fertile ground to take root.
The internal struggle we sometimes encounter is because it is time for the seeds to sprout and grow, the conditions are ripe, but we are not allowing them to come into the light.
Unknowingly most of us have a fear of success and we constantly sabotage our own happiness mostly by not having faith. In our self and in our path.
When we chant our prayers we must really visualize the Buddhas coming to our heart or our crown and visualize streams of light flowing into us as blessings. And really concentrate and hear the words we are saying.
This may sound silly but that is one place where faith comes in.
Its not going to hurt anything to engage in this practice. We have no problem visualizing all sort of negative things that could happen at any given time, and make our self miserable.
But we don’t want to visualize any white light or blissful nectar because that would be ‘silly’ and heaven for bid that we be silly!
And to be silly in front of who?
Who will know what we are visualizing? Every one in the room is doing the same, and if some one walks in and sees us they just see a group of people sitting cross legged, hands folded, with a peaceful look on their face.
This is how we investigate the teachings; we engage in the practice to see if it works.
we can not spend our life reading about others realizations and think we will some how get it by osmosis. We will never know how the cookie taste until we bite it our self.
It is just like when we sit around and tell our self all those negative things. ‘ I’m so bad, my life sucks, i cant do anything right, oh I did all that so wrong, …over and over we chant to our self until we finally believe that Is who we are.
Virtue is no different. We must chant over and over to our self ‘I must practice virtue’ , ‘ I must remember compassion’ ‘ I must remember to cherish others’ until all of our 21 Lamrim meditations become second nature for us.
The struggle we are going through is because in this day and age we are living in degenerate times and it is getting harder and harder for all of us to practice virtue.
And that is why in these times we need the buddhas blessings so much more and need to develop and hang on so much more to faith.
There is a pay off. Being a good person will get you out of misery. Cherishing others will make the dark clouds go away. There are times when you are happy. Everything is impermanate. There will be times when you will feel misery again. Everything is impermanate.
The lines are blurred because we live in degenerate times. {yes I said it again} it is very important to remember this.
It seems harder than it was 20 yrs ago and it will get harder in the next 10 yrs. Sorry I don’t have any good news on that front.
But the good news that I do have is that. Our practice of lam rim blessed by Je Tsong Kappa, Our Linage Guru, and the prayers and practice that we do are especially and pacifically blessed for us, the fortunate ones, in these degenerate times.
Our sincere faith and practice of the prayers will definitely bless our mind and solve all of our human problems. I say this because I have experience of it not because I read it in a book.
I read it in a book and heard the teachings. Then I tried it out my self by putting it in to practice and doing my own investigation of it and that is why I am where I am today because I allowed the seeds to have all the conditions they needed to ripen properly. With out holding back a single condition- including faith.
Our seeds will ripen into what ever they are supposed to be, we just have to give them time and all the conditions needed.
Whatever it was that got us going to meditation classes or to meditation center in the first place, and what ever keeps us coming back, Whatever it was that made us think ‘there may be some value in this. I will keep going and see where this leads.’ Whatever that little spark was we have to continuously fan that little spark until it becomes a fire and then continue to feed it by practice, on and off the mat, in order to maintain the blaze.
Because in samasara with it’s many lovely distractions and in these {again} degenerative times it is very easy for the flame to go out very, quickly…
See you along the path…