Many people try to practice Dharma while living lives filled with commitments to work and family. Venerable Thubten Chodron gives advice on how to work in stressful situations by shifting one’s perspective.
Venerable Thubten Chodron teaches Verse 5 of “The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas,” which covers “bad friends.” People are not viewed as bad from their own side, but are viewed as bad in that when someone is around them, one’s confusion (ignoranace), anger, and attachment increases. Essentially, when we’re around them, they don’t increase the virtuous sides of ourselves.
The talk goes over the qualities of people we should try to be around, and the disadvantages of not being aware of which conditions can hinder spiritual practice.
Advice from Dilgo Kheyntse Rinpoche
One quote of interest that relates to this topic is one provided by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He states:
Mind, like a crystal, is colored by its surroundings. You are bound to reflect the qualities and shortcomings of the good or bad friends whose company you keep. If you associate with the malevolent, the selfish, the rancorous, the intolerant, and the arrogant, their faults will affect you. You would do better to keep your distance.
Once someone has examined someone and decided to rely on a person as a spiritual mentor, one should be able to see them in a positive light and appreciate their good qualities.
In this talk, Venerable Chodron explains how to do this, and the reasons that its important to do this: it leads to taking the teachings more seriously and being able to put them into practice.
Studying the Middle Way is an essential practice for many Buddhists, and gaining realizations of this is the only way to gain the result of liberation or full enlightenment.
Going Deeper in Understanding
It’s often stated that for some practitioners, they need to be convinced about the doctrine of emptiness before fully engaging in deep practice for others. His Holiness the Dalai Lama recommends the study of Nagarjuna’s The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way in order to understand emptiness, and often cites Aryadeva’s Four Hundred Stanzas On The Middle Way in order to further elaborate on it.
Below are some video playlists that hopefully will be of use to someone who is interested in studying the Middle Way.
The Dalai Lama gives a commentary on Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Treatise of the Middle Way:
WIth the current situation with the U.S. congress, there is a general trend to find out who is at fault, who is to blame. In this talk by Ven. Thubten Chodron, she explains how to view the situation, without getting involved in the tendency to fault find. She makes a clear distinction between fault and blame, and holding people responsible.
After one has taken the refuge vows, someone can proceed to take the bodhisattva vows. The bodhisattva vows differ accordingly to traditions, so I’ll explain what I know and my experience from within the Tibetan buddhist tradition. Continue reading
People often find tantric practice to be very exotic with the elaborate visualizations and different mantras, but eventually get confused and bored when they don’t understand the symbolism behind them. Continue reading