Things I Learned from a Lama, Part One

Happy Thursday my loves! I hope everyone has had a great week! 

In 2011 when I did my 200 hour Prada Vayu (from David Magone) Yoga Teacher Training with Kevan Gale of Stil Studio in Dedham, MA, I was given what the Buddhists call, an “Auspicious Opportunity”. My classmates and I were given the chance to study with a living, breathing guru. His name is Khenpo Lama Migmar Tseten Rinpoche, and he is a Tibetan Lama, and Buddhist Chaplain of Harvard University. I wanted to share some of the jewels of what I learned from him, with you. You can be of any faith or religious affiliation to appreciate these teachings.

On Compassion and Giving

The mind and the body are interdependent. You can make your physical body happy, but mentally you can still be restless. Eventually, the perfection of giving can transform your emotions. There is a thin line between love and hate until love becomes unconditional. Give without expecting anything in return- give without expecting even a thank you!

True happiness comes from sharing- from giving. True happiness is a feeling of well being, calm, contentment, bliss, freedom and faith. It does not depend on outside factors or the Ego. It is lasting, abiding happiness. Generosity actually makes you less needy- it’s the antidote to selfishness. All suffering comes from attachment and compassion is the antidote to attachment.

 In giving, there are three elements- 1. The Giver 2. The Gift 3. The Recipient Your intentions are important.

Our True Nature

Our true nature is Bodhisattva. Our true nature is peaceful. Our true nature is pure and good. Our true nature is Buddha nature. That is who we are. Everything else is an obscuration. This part of us is like the sun. If there are clouds, it’s not the sun’s problem! The sun is always shining!

Nature is nature, whether you get angry about it or not. Wrinkles, gray hair- these are the natural process of nature-aging is part of life.

Avoiding Harm Through Right Action

Feel how your body reacts to your behavior. Promote positive and good feelings by avoiding these 10 Harmful Actions:

  1. Killing
  2. Stealing
  3. Sexual Abuse
  4. Lying
  5. Divisive Speech (manipulation to create a rift between others or to undermine them)
  6. Harsh Speech (purposefully harming someone’s heart with your words)
  7. Idle Gossip- This is motivated by anger and jealousy
  8. Covetness- desiring something that isn’t appropriate for you.
  9. Ill Will (wishing harm upon another)
  10. Ignorance

On Suffering and the Cessation of Suffering

Suffering creates suffering. Negative emotion breeds negative emotion. You can stop the cycle with your behavior, and cultivate self awareness through meditation. (More on how to meditate in a later post!)

The antidote to Anger is Love. The antidote to Ignorance is Wisdom. Plant a good seed and pull out the root of negativity.

Your life is precious. It is as rare for a human being to be conceived and born as it is for a turtle to stick his head through a ring in the middle of the ocean. The moment for Enlightenment is now.

 

Lama Migmar has been serving Harvard-wide student, faculties, and staff as a Buddhist Chaplain since 1997. He received both a traditional and a contemporary education in India. He graduated with an Acharya degree in 1979 from Tibetan Institute of Sanskrit University, Varanasi, India, and with first position every nine years among four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He was awarded a medal for academic excellence by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. He was also recognized as Khenpo for his scholarship and service to the Dharma by His Holiness the Sakya Trizin. Lama Migmar served as the head of Sakya Center in Rajpur, India, and the Sakya Monastery in Puruwalla, India, from 1981 to 1989, taking care of the well being of several hundred monastic residents. 

 

Lama Migmar has supervised the editing and publication of over 50 rare volumes of Sakya literature including the 31 volumes of Sakya Lamdre and the rare Golden Manuscripts of the Five Founding Masters of Sakya. He founded Sakya Institute for Buddhist Studies in Cambridge, MA in 1990. Lama Migmar has also authored and published many books covering various subjects from Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions, including, “Awakening to the Noble Truth”, “Awakening to the Noble Truth Curriculum”, “Wisdom Gone Beyond”, “Wisdom Gone Beyond Curriculum”, “The Play of Mahamudra”, “The Tibetan Book of Awakening”, “Treasures of the Sakya Lineage”, “Visions”, “Arya Tara Practice Manual”, and “Yoga, Mindfulness & Mantra for Peaceful Living and Dying”. More information about Lama Migmar’s publications can be found at Mangalamkosha Publications. Lama Migmar has also established Mangalam Studio in 2013 to share spiritual arts, teachings, and practices via podcasts, videos, practice texts, and other types media to the public for free. In 2017, Lama Migmar established Mangalam Online Course to provide systematic Dharma studies and practices available around the globe. He has been leading many retreats at Buddhist centers throughout North America and Europe. He is one of the lead faculties at Kripaluin Berkshire, MA. Lama Migmar is also a visiting teacher at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas and The Art of Living Retreat Center.

 

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