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Lions Roar : March 2006
Free Your Daily-Grind Mind SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE asks, With twenty-four hours each day to cultivate your buddhahood, why waste the hours from nine to five V) z o ,......, ONE 0 F T I BET) S great female yogis, Machig Labdrön, was renowned for crying one minute and laughing the next. When someone asked her why she acted that way, she replied, "I laugh with delight because enlightenment always lies right below the surface of life, right in front of our noses. This is truly a joy- ous and wondrous discovery. I cry because beings are anxious, in pain, stressed, and depressed. Our enlightened qualities are so nearby, covered by a constant stream of discursive thoughts, one h " upon anot ere Formal meditation can offer us a glimpse of the inherent joy and liberation that lie at our fingertips. What about the rest of the day? Our nine- to- five job is rising from the cushion and using our activity to build confidence in our discovery. This is the motiva- tion of the Buddha. After he attained enlightenment, the Buddha didn't just keep sitting there under the bodhi tree. He rose from his seat and took his enlightened qualities out into the world. To practice is to decide continually, wholeheartedly, that we are going to bring the wisdom of the Buddha into our lives on the spot. We use our morning meditation to connect with our inherently open mind. Then we rise with curiosity about how we can use that mind to massage our workday, to knead it with practice. When a colleague interrupts us, can we employ patience instead of anger? When a presentation doesn't go the way we'd hoped, can we entertain equanimity instead of giving in to dis- appointment watered by self-pity? Instead of spending our time manipulating a situation so that it will work out well for "me," can we be generous, drop our scheme, and see the bigger picture? Can we let our strength, beauty, compassion, and inconceivable sharpness of mind rise to the top of our day? Sometimes we regard our workday as a large block of hours spent putting necessary time into unnecessary activity. We don't regard life off the cushion as an economic basis for practice. For- getting enlightened qualities such as wisdom and compassion, we stumble from anxiety to hassle to impatience. At the end of the day we feel exhausted. We're spending a good portion of our time disconnected from who we really are, living our lives while failing to recognize our own buddhanature. Work is a golden op- portunity to practice when we're most clear-minded and awake. But while the sun is shining, we are crying. Our tears are a product of doubt in the inherent goodness and wisdom of ourselves and others. When we are crying all day, we develop a bitter taste in our mouth, which comes from feeling that our life holds no inherent richness. It's as if everything is slightly contaminated. We focus on faults. We feel pressure. We fuel our day with jealousy and irritation. We forget the space we felt in meditation. And we lose one opportunity after another to reconnect with our own enlightenment. We are leaning against the very gold that we seek. ...j >-< ÇQ V) o E--< o ::r: p., Since my mother moved from India to the West, people often ask her for advice. She always reminds them of the difference between big mind-sem chenpo--and small mind-sem chung- chung. Big mind is a mind that knows its own enlightenment. It's a mind that has broken through the barrier of self-absorption. This mind knows that not getting our eggs cooked the way we want is not a giant boulder sitting on the road of life. In an open, clutter- free mind, what rises to the top is buddha, our inherent joy, wisdom, and compassion. To have confidence in these quali- ties is to hold the highest view. When we engage our day without confidence in this view, we apply anger and aggression. Because we doubt ourselves, our mind becomes very small. Lacking trust in our own nobility, we can't see it in others, and we're always on pins and needles, which makes our mind smaller. The constant agitation of not trusting our buddhanature keeps us from developing further confidence in it. Our vision is obscured. Our day job has changed from prac- ticing our enlightened qualities to covering them up. >