Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters,
I hope you are all well and peacefully wandering through saṁsāra. As I write this monthly message to you all, I have all these thoughts going through my mind. Oh oh..it’s almost nearing midnight…but then in Asia it’s already the 11th…are people actually reading these messages?…or even opening them?…hmmm…and if they do actually read it, does it make any sense to them?…is this helping them in anyway possible?…alright concentrate, you only have half an hour left before it turns midnight! But if I look at the bigger picture, if i can impact one friend to remember the practice and remember the Dharma on this GRD, I am one step closer.
So, please remember your practice and remember the Dharma. Right now I, the wandering, crazy, half-cooked Yogi, am thinking of my teacher and remembering his teachings like an old widow who lost her husband. Today is the first day of the Nine Yanas retreat of the Bodhisattva Level, here at Gomde Cooperstown. Today is a joyous day for double celebration as today marks the miraculous birth of Guru Rinpoche in a lotus bed on Lake Danakosha and also the birthday of my father, Tsikey Chokling. We sealed the day with bountiful Tsok offering and aspirations for the happiness and wellbeing of all sentient beings.
My teachings today will be the heartfelt teachings from my loving Guru, secret Yogi, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. He said, remembering our motivation is most important. He said, our motivation can be represented by the five fingers of the hand.
First we start with the little finger, the pinky. This is the smallest finger and in Tibetan culture considered the most offensive. The pinky has two meanings, the first is the motivation of being free from fear in this life. The second is for worldly success and pleasure.
The ring finger is neutral. Not virtuous nor non-virtuous. For example, being motivated by others or social influence. Like when being invited to a retreat by a friend and going, “just to check it out.”
The middle finger represents the motivation of wanting to be free from the three lower realms. Another way to say this is avoiding the ten non-virtuous acts.
The index finger represents the motivation of wanting freedom from saṁsāra. The individual liberation path.
Finally, we arrive at the thumb. The thumb represents the most supreme motivation, Bodhicitta. This is practicing for the benefit of all sentient beings so they too may be free from saṁsāra and suffering.
Please be mindful in your practice, don’t forget compassion and the view of emptiness. And most important, check your motivation as I mentioned above.
I send you love and my prayers. May your virtue increase. May your Dharma dignity become firmly established. May your understanding of emptiness become luminous.