Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 29th July

Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 29th July

In Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic this week, Geshe Tashi Tsering continues his commentary on verse 19 of Maitreya’s Prayer of Love, and the Perfection of Patience.  Quoting from Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Geshe Tashi addresses that underlying reluctance we might have to train our minds through meditation or study.  At some level we may be thinking ‘Not now’; ‘I’m too busy’; or even, ‘Why bother?’  Bizarrely we tend to consider it easier to try and control the uncertain conditions around us, or to manage those people that cause us difficulties.  Geshe la reminds us that this is impossible, like trying to cover the world with leather.  Just as a good pair of shoes delivers the same result, we can have the same protection by training our minds.

 

Once again Geshe Tashi kindly sends us in the direction of Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lam Rim Chenmo volume 2, p.152 – p.179 for further reading.  Here we can find the great Tsongkhapa’s top picks from Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.  Why does Geshe la encourage us to read further afield?  Cultivating patience requires a deeper analysis and a broader perspective on what patience actually is.  It is much more than just an acceptance of suffering.  It is also determined by the scope of our practice.  Seeking various therapies is fine, but it is better to have a long-term solution. 

 

Commenting on Verse 20, Geshe Tashi highlights the importance of joy in the Perfection of Joyous Effort.  When it comes to sports or hobbies, we can find joy in hardship and adversity, even when flirting with death.  We can bring this enthusiasm into our practice and intentionally cultivate a sense of joy around our dharma studies, practices, and meditations.

 

Geshe la goes on to discuss the three types of laziness, noting that for the westerners among us, the laziness of busy-ness around sense pleasures and superficial concerns is probably the one to watch.  When it comes to the laziness around low self-esteem, Geshe la reminds us that whoever we are, we all have the potential to experience love, compassion, and all those other wonderful qualities.  These days we can draw inspiration from the many doctors and nurses around the world who are voluntarily working without a break, out of care and concern for their patients.  Instead of dwelling on the negative stories in the media, perhaps we can focus more on the good news. 

 

Finally, after the 21 Tara and dedication verses, Geshe la answers a question put to him in the comments section of this blog.  Thank you for your question, Brian, and thank you all for being active members of our community.

 

With best wishes,

 

The Admin Team

 

Maitreya’s Prayer of Love (Verses 19 & 20)

Jampai Monlam

  

**Patience must be as steady as earth or water,

Not changeable like the wind.

Knowing that both patience and anger do not exist,

I wish to accomplish the perfection of patience.

 

It is by effort that I must practice the perfection of effort

**Without enjoying laziness.

By the power of mind and body

I wish to accomplish the perfection of effort.

 

FPMT, translator unknown

 

** Please check Geshe Tashi’s translation before relying on the one printed here.

 

https://geshetashi.org/

https://foundationsofbuddhistthought.org/

 

Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. julie

    Dearest Geshe la, Listening to you at dusk thinking how lucky to have you in our lives offering these precious teachings with humour honesty & patience (over so many years!) moved me to floods of tears. Heartfelt thanks. Thank you to all the dharma community sharing on here from around this planet, from old West Wales to New South Wales and beyond all tuning in with Geshe Tashi in south India. Thank you again Peter & Tri keeping all the wires in place and us all connected. With love : ) julie

    1. admin

      It’s a pleasure Julie, we are delighted by our growing online community and will keep trying to keep the wires in place!

  2. Jane

    Dear Geshe la
    Many thanks for inspiring words to help recharge the battery. Sending warmest good wishes to Alice and those suffering so much in recent months – the images of people and wildlife down under were very hard to watch. Hoping that the situation at least with you eases soon although I know suffering is part and parcel of the sentient deal. Hoping the monastery and villages stay safe and the exams go well! Love to all Jane

  3. Brian

    Dear Geshela, Thank you so much for replying to my question. I have been reviewing (after some years) my copy of Shantideva’ s Englush translation to BWOL. It is very beneficial and at times confronting when I realise my reflex mental attitudes have wandered off course. In your answer you mention not to be a door-mat, I will confess that is an approach I have sometimes opted for as the counter measures sometimes cause me to lose compassion ….more practise required of course. Thanks again for providing these teachings- your English phrases are delightful such as couch potato and thrill seeker that seem to help make the teachings so relevant to Western cultures.

  4. Grace

    Thank you so much Geshe-la, these teachings today were meant for me!
    Our community in remote, rural Victoria continues to struggle with the aftermath of 2019/20 horrendous bushfires; rebuilding houses and the environment and cannot gather for mutual support because of Covid. Many people here use alcohol to numb the pain and to stop themselves looking inside. A lot of alcohol and daily. There is also a big drinking culture in rural Australia. I am so fortunate to have had parents who never used alcohol and neither do I so I’m not caught up in that.
    There is a lot of trauma, both inner and outer trauma which we all see and experience on a daily basis. Some of the people that use alcohol the most are health professionals who, I know, have heavy,traumatic workloads as well as this extra load.
    I am just so fortunate to have found the teachings and such precious teachers like yourself over the many years since coming to Jamyang but there are times that I’m overwhelmed. What can I do when I feel the depth of this pain and sorrow coming from others? It’s like watching a fly struggling in a spider web. And there’s my own isolation from family here in Australia. Such deep sadness and sorrow. It’s not always like this but it’s very strong at the moment. I have used the practice of Tong-len at times to experience and use these feelings to develop more compassion and understanding but can Geshe-la offer any help or insight?
    I am volunteering in the community and really enjoy this aspect of helping where I can in many ways but of course this trauma is everywhere!
    Thank you again Geshe-la and of course Peter and Tri. 🙏🙏🙏
    I’m just so fortunate to have Dharma teachings at this time to help me through.

    1. Volker Hessel

      Dear Grace,
      even if there haven’t been any natural disasters so far in my home-country than those in Australia I am aware of the fact that these things happen on our planet almost on a daily basis, seeming becoming more and more over the years and involving lots of suffering and difficulties for so many people and animals. That touches me deeply and having experienced alcohol problems within my closest surroundings I can feel with you to a certain extend.
      So even living on the other side of the planet I feel close to you and I hope the situation in down under will change for the better!
      Love,
      Volker

    2. Brian

      Dear Grace, I was touched by your situation in Country Victoria, and equally by Volker’s reply. Whilst I can’t offer any solution maybe I can offer my experiences which may not be totally unrelated.

      My wife & I migrated to Australia in the mid 70’s we came by luxurious 1st gen 747 Jumbo much easier than the early settlers eh? We were going overland but a war in Afghanistan made us reconsider.

      I finished up working (several years) next to the Simpson Desert (S.Aust) which was quite a change from Central London. At that time there was no internet, no personal phones, letters took 6 weeks either way, no TV, a single AM ABC radio station for news, and you nearly always had to queue up at a public phone kiosk to make an overseas call. We were in our 20’s, we saw this as an adventure, I can’t remember ever being agitated by this (maybe my memory has become distorted by time!).

      Clearly there was no pandemic then, but physical isolation (both our families were in the UK) was apparent. We were 300 miles from Adelaide. I can relate to your drinking culture experience, but as my parents introduced me to alcohol at 13yrs!! it’s usage never bothered me,,,,,I eventually cottoned-on that it was adversely affecting my body and gave it away in my 40’s. ie my parents both lived through the London blitz , I realised much later this was their means of escape from what we call samsara.

      Eventually we moved to Sydney and the dharma was spreading, so we were was fortunate to meet those teachers from Tibet and elsewhere. That you met the dharma beforehand in London is incredible, how beneficial it is for you! With Geshe Tashi’s guidance I am sure you can overcome current emotional obstacles down-under in Oz. ps we are still in Blue Mtns NSW….pps hope the latest lockdown gets the Covid spread under control in your state….Love & Best Wishes Brian

  5. Stefania

    Thank you Geshe Tashi !

  6. Alison W

    Thank you Geshe-la for these teachings. As ever much helpful advice and receiving your teachings during this pandemic means, for me at least, having more time and space than usual and hopefully fewer opportunities for procrastination!
    The crows outside seemed rather quiet this week so I hope they were listening to your words.
    Stay well

  7. Genevieve

    Thank you, thank you, too! Procrastination has been creeping slowly into my everyday live with lots of good arguments why this is inevitableand to my best… So, my procrastination is not too happy that I have listened to this episode because it will have to deal with being sent to holidays for the next time. Thank you for teaching us wisdom. And stay well too.

  8. Shirley

    Hello Geshe Tashi
    Thank you for such an enthusiastic and rousing teaching. With regard to procrastination in respect of “putting off until tomorrow, that which should be done today” – we should be ever mindful that we might not be around tomorrow, or even in a few hours time, so perhaps it is needful to do the required work today. If those are the crows in the background, they are extremely melodious, compared to those in the UK.
    Shirley

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