Wisdom is Beautiful
Buddha taught that the key to our happiness is in our hands and we can access this happiness by increasing our wisdom.
Enjoy this collection of photos of our sangha meditating. Below each one you can read a thought shared in one of our weekly classes which captures the essence of the wisdom teachings of our founder, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche.
When we focus upon our breathing, which takes a little practice in meditation, gradually our awareness settles into the breath and we naturally stop focusing on all our various concerns and thoughts. Then an experience of peace arises naturally.
This indicates something very profound - that unless our mind is disturbed, it is naturally peaceful. Within that experience of peace we can discover for ourselves Buddha's most important message: the real source of happiness is inner peace.
We can easily understand that in a dream everything is created by our mind - dream people and places are mere appearances to the mind created by the mind. Buddha said that the things of our gross waking world exist in the same way - as mere appearances to the mind, empty of inherent existence.
Meditating on emptiness helps us recognize that we are always free to change how we perceive anything. We might think that the world conditions our experience, that we have no choice but to feel sad, angry or hurt, for example, but once we realize how things exist we will recognize that nothing is fixed and stuck and we always have complete freedom.
According to Buddha worry is meaningless because its based on mental distortions. While we may think it helps solve our problems, it in fact serves no purpose, only giving rise to more worry. Whatever is arising in our life, we can learn to relax and enjoy. Not in a superficial way, but in a way that's meaningful so in the midst of enjoying, we're developing and moving forward.
Meditation teaches us how to do this.
Unhappy minds and feelings such as anger, jealousy and greed on the other hand aren’t natural. They are bad mental habits but they can be broken because they’re all founded in a mental distortion, a misapprehension of how things exist.
Modern life has brought us many great comforts but it’s also instilled in us an unfortunate habit.
We’ve become masters of distraction in our society. Whether it’s working, socializing, watching, or eating. . . we know how to run away from facing ourself.
One meaningful effect of current world circumstances is that many of us feel our escapes have become a little thin. We’re realizing something needs to change.
We can all do something amazing with our life! Training our mind using the meditations taught by Buddha will have a lasting impact on ourself and others and enable us to take the essence of this life.
We can learn to connect more deeply with everyone we meet, even those who have different ideas and beliefs to ours. We simply need to allow ourself to recognize that at heart others are just like us. In just the same way that we long for freedom and happiness, they do too.
Intellectually we can understand this right away but we need to contemplate it in meditation until we feel the truth of it - “others are at heart just like me”.
This recognition will produce a sense of affection and open the door to developing a profound sense of connection and will propel us along the spiritual path.
Using meditation we can learn how to shift our identification. We start this process by recognizing that while we may have a strong tendency right now towards anxiety or anger or fear, for example, we know that our actual nature is peaceful.
Anchoring ourself in our nature in this way enables us to begin to look at our negative states of mind from a peaceful perspective which means we no longer fear what’s arising.
It turns out delusions, distorted negative states of mind such as anger, rage, and jealousy are our real enemies. They are our only enemies because all our suffering actually doesn’t come from external conditions - it comes from these delusions in our mind.
Through meditation we can learn to cultivate wisdom-oriented minds that produce peace, confidence, happiness, joy...and eventually bliss!
For this reason, Buddha said training our mind is the ultimate purpose of our life.
Buddhist meditation teaches us a new way we can respond to fear, anxiety and other distorted states of mind when they arise so that we no longer get caught up in the agitated thoughts and unpleasant feelings that accompany them. Instead, we can learn to generate a very positive motivation and orientation that helps us cultivate the states of mind that produce peace and happiness, confidence and flexibility, love and kindness, compassion and wisdom.
It’s possible to completely remove the negative states of mind that produce unpleasant feelings and unhappiness. Wisdom based meditation is the method to do this.