Session 9 – ADVANCED PRACTICES

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ADVANCED PRACTICES

Tibetan Buddhism also involves many advanced rituals only available who have reached a sophisticated understanding of spiritual practice. For example, Tantric monks who have studied for 20 years at a Tantric University.
There are also advanced spiritual techniques such as astounding visualisations and demanding meditations. It’s said that senior Tibetan yoga practitioners can achieve much greater control over the body than other human beings, and are able to control their body temperature, heart rate and other normally automatic functions.

A BUDDHIST TEACHING ON THE THREE PRINCIPLE PATHS TO ENLIGHTENMENT
The three principle paths to enlightenment is written by Jay Tsongkhapa a Tibetan Buddhist master.
First it’s important to know why they are called principle paths, and why it’s necessary to practice them in order to achieve Narvana or full enlightenment. These three principle paths are renunciation, Buddhichitta and wisdom realizing emptiness or selflessness. We all want happiness and no one wants suffering, it doesn’t matter if we are Human, Animal or Insect we all want a happy life. At the same time however, in our day to day life we know we have lots of problems.If we try to analysis or examine where these things (sufferings and problems) come from, it’s clear they don’t come from external objects but from internal negative emotions.
Buddhism talks lot about the treatment of these negative emotions & how to get rid of them. Among these negative emotions, there are 3 very powerful ones which are the root cause of all sufferings and negative karma. We called these the three poisons.
To get rid all sufferings we must clear all negative emotions and to do this, we must find the root cause.
When we analyse the root cause, we find definitely it comes from the three poisons. The first poison It is very clear when we analyse this, that the root cause to all our problems is these three poisons. The first poison is ignorance, meaning we don’t know the reality of our self or the world around us. We don’t know why we suffer and blame things, people or situations externally.
In reality  The problem is we experience come from our own mind. So to get rid of ignorance we must study and practice selflessness and understand the emptiness or the ultimate nature of reality. For example, things don’t always exist in the way that we think.

This topic is very profound and related to dependant origination. Dependant origination shows evidence that all things in the universe are not created by God or a creator, but by root causes and conditions. For example: if you want a flower you need fertilizer, earth, pot, seed and water etc. If there are causes and conditions, then even if you don’t want a flower to grow it will. On the other hand, if the causes and conditions aren’t right, even if you pray to Buddha or God it won’t flourish. We all want happiness, but to create this, we have to produce it’s causes and conditions. Therefore, the only way to stop the problems in our lives & the lives of others is to get rid of the causes and conditions.  This is a Buddhist view, and in order to get rid of ignorance, Buddha taught the solution is dependent origination or emptiness. We must generate wisdom to realize selflessness, the ultimate nature of reality and also emptiness.
That’s the first principle path – based on the perspective that ignorance is the root cause of all negative emotions and problems.

Next Buddha told us of Buddhichitta, the mind of enlightenment. The reason that we have problems is not from external things, but from our own mind. When we look at people or sentient beings, we experience many different kind of emotions.  If they are relatives, family members or someone close, we may feel deep loving compassion.  When they are happy we are happy and vice versa. This is because those closest to us, help us develop attachments. If people harm those we love, we want them to suffer also. Sometimes we even pray they get more suffering. If they’re not punished, we feel our anger and hatred getting stronger. Then there are others not in our immediate circle. For these people it doesn’t matter if they are happy or not – we don’t care too much.

In our own mind we have  lots of negative emotions. Sometimes we are happy and sometimes not, so in order to make our mind calm down and develop loving compassion for all living beings – it’s necessary to practice Buddhichitta.  As humans, most of us have a very low level of Buddhichitta which means we have loving compassion for those who are close to us but not so much for those who are not. This is why we should practice expanding this love and compassion to every sentient being. We can do this through meditation where we visualise ourselves distributing this loving compassion even to those we don’t even know – and finally our enemy.

This is called Buddhichitta and it’s the only sure way to get rid of hatred and anger – this is the only true antidote. The third is renunciation. Renunciation is important because attachment is one of the root causes of all problems and sufferings. For example; if I have attachment for my car, if someone steals it or damages it,  mentally I’m not happy. This creates lots of problems between myself and the person who did it. There is only one reason why I feel this way – attachment. But it’s strange you see – I don’t have attachment for my pen, so if someone steals it or loses it – there’s no problem because it won’t create any bad feeling between me and the person who did It. The only answer is, my attachment for the pen is low.

But what about attachment to a person? Does this create a lot of problems? Of course it does, but this raises an important question ….. How can we love each other without having attachment to each other? Buddhism talks about two kinds of love, pure love & love mixed with desire & attachment. We must try to generate pure love without these negative things. The way we expand pure love is to cultivate pure loving compassion.  Firstly however, we need to know why attachment is not always beneficial. We also need to know how to practice the opposite of attachment-renunciation. When we practice in the study renunciation, we can see the benefits clearly, but we must have patience because developing this practice takes time. We must analyse what we are doing to make sure it’s right and we must meditate. This is how we can generate renunciation and can get rid of negative attachment. 

 

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