Lama Shenpen talks to her student about deepening their Dharma practice and experiencing revulsion to a shallow and un-examined life (samsara).
A student writes:
“I’ve been noticing a pattern in my experience: as my capacity to feel the suffering in samsara and grasp the enormity of our predicament expands, I start feeling overwhelmed and depressed – until I remember (sometimes I need reminding) that there is no point in going with that and the only thing to do is practise, practise, practise, which causes me even more revulsion for distractions and entertainment.”
That sounds like how the Dharma process should naturally develop.
Having said that, I notice I find distractions and entertainment interesting phenomena. We can sometimes feel confused as to what is a distraction on the one hand and what is obsessiveness on the other – but this is an important edge for all of us!
We are all seeking the wisdom to be able to get the right touch with this – not too tight and not too loose.
“It’s like every time my understanding of the first Noble Truth (1) deepens a bit, I also need a bit more courage.”
Courage in the sense of confidence in the whole Dharma process? Yes- that is definitely the case.
“I’m guessing that is a common pattern – is it?”
It is definitely the way it has to go. As we realise just how awful and relentless samsara is, we need to develop even deeper conviction in Dharma and a sense of the need for an immediate Dharma response.
Dharma practice can take many forms so we don’t have to obsessively think it must be one particular way – but it must be Dharma all the way from now on. Yes, that is how it
has to develop!!
Lama Shenpen Hookham
(1) Four Noble Truths – the content of the Buddhas first sermon, after his Enlightenment. The four are: 1. The truth of suffering 2. The truth of the origin of suffering 3. The truth of the cessation of suffering 4. The truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering – ed.
Every week Lama Shenpen publishes a question and answer dialogue with a student. The students are studying ‘Living the Awakened Heart’, an experiential training course in Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhist meditation.
You can find more information about Buddhist meditation training in the Awakened Heart Sangha by visiting: www.ahs.org.uk/training