What to Do with Negative Emotions

Last night after the talk one person asked Ringu Rinpoche what to do if negative emotions arise. He said even though negative emotions are natural things that happen just like waves in the sea or shadows which can’t be separated from ourselves, they do indeed bring suffering. Hence, there is a need to deal with them, not to let them become our master. The best thing to do is not to think about what has happened. In general, people have a tendency to be indulged in the emotions, no matter whether it is sadness or anger and thus hurt themselves. We keep thinking why things happen the way they do, why this and that person says something negative about us. We have to understand that it’s not useful to keep thinking about what happened. When sadness or anger comes, just observe it and understand that it will naturally go away, in the same manner as when it comes.

There are many ways for us to train our mind so that we know how to deal with negative emotions. One of the ways is to meditate. But meditation doesn’t mean simply to sit cross-legged in a prayer room. Meditation is to make our mind flexible so that it becomes the way we want it to be, as the following saying. “Let your body be on your seat, let your mind be in your body and let there be ease”. Meditation is a way to bring the mind home. The mind is here and now, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Timing is not important. It can be 5 or 10 minutes each time. We need to be relaxed and focus our mind on something positive, which can be as simple as our breath. We can do this anywhere. Meditating often and learning to understand the nature of all things will help calm our mind and bring more long-lasting happiness.

Rinpoche said many people complain that they can’t be relaxed because they are too busy and they have no time for meditation. He said that’s a wrong attitude because the busier we are, the more relaxed we need to be. This is because being busy can bring stress and anxiety which will do harm to ourselves. If we are relaxed, we can work more efficiently.

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White Tara Empowerment

Receiving the empowerment together in the Mantra Stupa

Our White Tara mandala. Thanks to Yonten, Ganda and Lassy for the beautiful work.

There are 3 categories of empowerments: Seed empowerment, path empowerment and fruit empowerment. When we receive an empowerment, we get permission to visualize the deity, recite the heart mantra and meditate. After the empowerment, we practice on the path. With diligence, joy and proper motivation, we gradually make progress until we reach the final result – the accomplishment or siddhi. That is when we can say that we have actually received the empowerment.

Shower of Blessing

This evening Ringu Tulku Rinpoche finished his final public Dharma talk in Thailand. It’s the fourth one since Monday. On Monday he led a meditation session emphasizing the importance of understanding our own mind. Tuesday was an academic day with a keynote address on the Buddhist understanding of happiness. This was followed by a workshop on cultural integrity at the Gross National Happiness Conference. The day was concluded by a talk for the Foundation on meditation as an antidote to depression. Then Wednesday Rinpoche visited Tara Khadiravana and performed White Tara Empowerment there. He said he didn’t like rituals but his empowerment turned out to be elaborate and perfect. The best part is that he explained every single step of the ceremony. So we exactly know the true meaning of empowerment. Tonight Rinpoche talked on mind training. Some said it’s the climax of all of his talks since Monday. The teaching he gave, which he emphasized is not the monk’s one, but Buddha’s is like a nectar enriching our soul. We feel grateful to his compassion towards us and other sentient beings. May his activities increase and virtue grow in all directions!

Like Water without Dirt

Although our mind is like “monkey mind,” one good thing about it is that through practice we can gradually tame it and come to experience its luminous and calm nature. Ringu Tulku Rinpoche narrated an anecdote during Buddha Shakya Muni’s time. Buddha asked his students to go and fetch water from the Ganges. After they returned, he asked whether the water was clean. The students said it was not. Then he asked them to wait for a couple of hours. Then he asked them again whether the water was now clean. They said yes. Buddha explained that when water is not agitated, it is calm and clean from the beginning. Our mind, when void of emotions and kleshas, is also like that.