HELD AT KAMALASHILA TIBETAN BUDDHIST CENTRE Second Year, 2024
In the Dharma slipstream and out of the Dharma slipstream
Out of the Dharma slipstream – samsara. Likened to being in a wild stormy sea that has been whipped up by crazy strong winds.
Being in meditation and contemplation for a few years now, is my refuge. A place of peace away from the hardships of life or as the Buddha might have said ‘all the sufferings’. Suffering of suffering, suffering of change and the all-pervasive suffering.
During times of regular meditation and contemplation on the mind and life, I felt like I was in a port safe from the wild seas of life. During times of longer interaction with the public, not regularly practising, contemplating, and meditating, I felt swept away as if my anchor were ripped up and broken away, and my mind was at the mercy of the wild seas far from the safety of the port of refuge.
Swept far out to sea in the mind of samsara I would do and say wrong things, feel completely sick with suffering but not really understanding why. Just suffering like all the people around me. Due to my sensitive mind, I would suffer and suffer, then in turn others would suffer from my wrong ways too it seemed.
So once the pain was too much to bear, I would steer the mind back to my port of refuge. Safe waters of contemplation and meditation. My karma was not ripe enough to have a great teacher to guide and help me. I would minimalise my contact from outside influences. Stabilise the mind/ship in the safer water of meditation and contemplation.
Because I would mostly go with the flow, this would get me into a lot of trouble from my troublemaker afflicted mind. Refuge in the harbour of the Buddhadharma was the only safe place to be.
This pattern has gone on in my life for three decades I know it well. Trying to be in this world but not of this world is tricky. This was still an external viewpoint to an ignorant person like me. Thinking the outside world was part of the problem, although not realising that my mind didn’t have the medicine to deal with these problems. Deep in samsara. In the port of the Buddhadharma, refuge was peace and out of the port was the wild wind and seas of the afflicted mind of suffering.
The Dharma slipstream
In the Dharma/The Triple Gem is like being carried along peacefully and effortlessly through life’s ups and downs. Not getting caught up in them just observing them. Just like watching a cloud or a bird fly across the mind’s sky leaving without a trace.
A dear friend, a Dharma practitioner and now a great Dharma friend, gave me/lent me authentic Mahayana books around seven years ago. Straightaway I could feel the refuge of these books and teachings. My first love of the Mahayana teachings, exchanging oneself for others.
But as before when I distance this mind just a bit, I could feel the anchor lift and out to sea I would go where the afflicted mind’s winds could whip up the ocean of suffering yet again and again.
So, for the last seven years I have been wanting to understand why this mind is so much trouble when too much exposure to outside influences would create big negative effects on this mind.
Attending the Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Course, I found the anchor of the boat/the mind in the safe harbour of the precious Buddhadharma. Peacefully away from the wild seas of emotions and the wild winds of affliction. Yes, the affliction comes up but the Buddhadharma teachings give us prescriptions/medicine/antidotes, the teachings to practise using in the heat of the battle – our afflictions.
After just finishing the end of our 2nd year of the Course, loving the cool calm water of the precious Buddhadharma teachings, I offer massive thanks to the team of this Course and to Khenpo la’s skilful means of teaching the precious Buddhadharma.
I went to an old friend’s party recently, I did not drink, it was good night. I also watched a powerful documentary called ‘Seaspiracy’. Still doing my formal practice yet this little amount of exposure I felt the anchor ever so slightly lifting and the mind/ boat slowly moving out to sea again. To be exposed to the afflicted mind’s torment, the wild winds that whip up the ocean turbulent waves of suffering is ever present, so it is very clear to keep on this precious path of the Buddhadharma.
Shortly after this whilst driving my car to the shop, I was contemplating why could I feel this mind moving off its mooring in the safe harbour of the Mahayana. As I was driving, there it was, the realisation of what Khenpo la’s been saying for as long I have listened to this great master. I was around so much self-clinging, that self-clinging started to rub off a bit, and my own self-clinging mind lifted the anchor up, as my mind started to drift out to the samsaric seas once again. Wow, I see this as clear as day, self-clinging is the poison that takes one’s mind out of the safe harbour of the Triple Gem’s refuge.
This realisation is the insight I have been looking for, for many years. Possibly a lot longer for sure. In the Dharma slipstream is the realisation of exchanging oneself for others – mind is peacefulness, awareness with clarity. This mind is of great benefit to all sentient beings. Out of the Dharma slipstream is self-clinging, the disease – this mind is full of poison, wildness and is dangerous to oneself and to all sentient beings.
One needs to keep turning the mind inwards as much as possible for the service of others. To stay on the path. To stay in the safety of the harbour of the Triple Gem. Exchanging oneself for others is the Triple Gem’s safe harbour the refuge for all sentient beings.
I know this is simple and basic for some, as we have heard this countless times from Khenpo la, but I never realised this tied up with the experience of witnessing these types of events play out, at once to be aware and having clarity to observe this process.
My dearest thanks go to Carole, Robert and all involved in manifesting the Autumn Buddhist Philosophy Course, the mentors and any others I may have missed mentioning.
This of course would not have been possible without our master Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe – for his skilful means of cherry-picking the juice or nectar out of the precious Buddhadharma teachings is amazing to be around, witness and experience!
My wish is that: May all sentient beings meet and study the precious Buddhadharma with such a great master as in Khenpo Ngawang Dhamchoe la.