Photo by Sravasti Abbey

Venerable Thubten Chodron gives advice on how to practice Dharma, which can be useful for both beginning and experienced practitioners. She focuses very much on the transition from external fixation to changing our attitudes and our understandings.

An excerpt from the article:

How to approach the practice is something really important, and how to manage everything else in our lives is very important. Because sometimes we get the feeling—at least I did at the beginning— “I’ve just got to hear a lot of teachings and do everything that the Tibetans do, and then somehow I get enlightened.” I took me falling flat on my face a few times to realize that’s not what Dharma practice is all about—that practice is all about changing what’s inside here.

It’s much easier to try and do external activities that are deemed “Dharma” and in the process to ignore the internal ones. Sometimes we think that we are getting somewhere in our practice because we can do the external activities well. However, that doesn’t go on for very long, because at some point we can’t sustain it. That’s why it is important to continually come back to focusing on the actual practice of Dharma, which is changing what is inside our own minds and hearts. Learning Tibetan is good and it is a tool. Studying philosophy is good and it is a tool. Getting ordained is excellent, it’s a tool. But the real thing is to use all these tools to change what’s inside ourselves.

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