Dreamlike Fabrication

From Turning The Mind Into An Ally

By Sakyong Mipham

In gathering our scattered mind we begin to discover who we really are right now, just by seeing that the web of thoughts we solidified as “me” is actually a series of vibrations. If we don’t learn to see through this web, however, our continual dreamlike fabrication of “me” will continue to be our meditation. We could be enveloped in it for our whole life . Believing that thought patterns are a solid self is the source of our bewilderment and suffering. Seeing through this simple misunderstanding is the beginning of enlightenment.

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The Unchanging Truth Of Change

From Turning The Mind Into An Ally

By Sakyong Mipham

The face of impermanence is constantly showing itself. Why do we struggle to hide it? Why do we feed the circle of suffering by perpetuating the myth of permanence? Experiences, friends, relationships, possessions, knowledge-we work so hard to convince ourselves that they will last. When a cup breaks or we forget something or somebody dies or the seasons change, we’re surprised. We can’t quite believe it’s over.

Most summers I conduct a program at our retreat center in the Rocky Mountains. We create a world of tents in a huge meadow-dining tent, meditation tent, sleeping tents. It’s refreshing to live like this, since most of us live in buildings all year round. At the beginning of the summer we put the tents up, and at the end we take them down. After the tents come down and we look into the meadow, we’re always surprised. We feel happy and sad. We’re happy in reflecting back on what occurred during the summer; we’re sad that all the tents are gone. It seemed so real. No matter how many times we’ve done it, at the end of each summer we have the same feeling.

This bittersweet taste marks our lives. The movie ends, our relationship’s over, children grow up. Impermanence is always pounding at the door. Of course, acknowledging impermanence doesn’t mean we get permanence. It means we’re more in tune with reality; we can relax. As we relinquish our attachment to permanence, pain begins to diminish because we’re no longer fooled. Accepting impermanence means that we spend less energy resisting reality. Our suffering has a more direct quality. We’re no longer trying to avoid it. We see that impermanence is a river that runs through life, not a rock that stands in the way. We see that because we resist impermanence, pain and suffering are constants. We realize that pain comes from our desire for permanence.

Contemplation helps us understand profound truths that we rarely consider, even though our life is contained by them. We contemplate these truths to bring about a shift in our understanding of reality, our perception of our life. When, during a meditation session, we hold our mind to the words “Everything is impermanent,” the meaning begins to come through. When we have a glimpse of impermanence, we hold our mind to that realization. In this way we become familiar with a simple truth that we may have overlooked. We begin to live our lives with a deeper understanding.

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Cultivating Courage

From Turning The Mind Into An Ally

By Sakyong Mipham

When I’m teaching, people often ask me questions in hopes of hearing some esoteric truth. They seem to want me to tell them a secret. But the most fundamental secret I know is rooted in something that we already possess, basic goodness. In spite of the extreme hardship and cruelty we see happening throughout the world, the basis of everything is completely pure and good. Our heart and mind are inherently awake. This basic goodness is a quality of complete wholesomeness. It includes everything.

But before we can begin the adventure of transforming ourselves into awakened people-much less the adventure of living our lives with true joy and happiness, we need to discover this secret for ourselves. Then we have the real possibility of cultivating courage, from which we can radiate love and compassion to others.

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