Thursday, 8 March 2012

Happy Chotrul Duchen!

Today, March 8, is Chotrul Duchen which in Tibetan means the Festival of Miracles. Today is the final Day of Miracles which marks and celebrates the first 15 days in which Buddha Shakyamuni performed great miracles in order to subdue the heretical teachings of those who opposed him. The tradition of observing these 15 days of miracles are said to increase the merit and devotion to Dharma practice of future disciples. The merit of any activity today is multiplied by 100 million times.

How appropriate then that I quote this teaching from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, taken from The Path to Enlightenment (edited and translated by Glenn H. Mullin, published by Snow Lion Publications). 

What is progress? How do we recognize it? The teachings are like a mirror before which we should hold our activities of body, speech, and mind. Think back to a year ago and compare the stream of activities of your body, speech, and mind at that time with their present condition. If we practice well, then the traces of some improvement should be reflected in the mirror of Dharma.
The problem with having expectations is that we usually do not expect the right things. Not knowing what spiritual progress is, we search for signs of it in the wrong areas of our being. What can we hope for but frustration? It would be far better to examine any practice with full reasoning before adopting it, and then to practice it steadily and consistently while observing the inner changes one undergoes, rather than expecting this or that fantasy to become real.

The mind is an evolving organism, not a machine that goes on and off with the flip of a switch. The forces that bind and limit the mind, hurling it into unsatisfactory states of being, are impermanent and transient agents. When we persistently apply the practices to them, they have no option but to fade away and disappear.

Ignorance and the "I"-grasping syndrome have been with us since beginningless time, and the instincts of attachments, aversion, anger, jealousy and so forth are very deeply rooted in our mindstreams. Eliminating them is not as simple as turning on a light to chase away the darkness of a room. When we practice steadily, the forces of darkness are undermined, and the spiritual qualities that counteract them and illuminate the mind are strengthened and made firm. Therefore, we should strive by means of both contemplative and settled meditation to gain stability in the various Lam Rim topics.
Happy Chotrul Duchen!  And oh yes, today is also International Women's Day. 38 妇女节快乐!! May you be happy always.

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