Q: What are the most important topics of studies and practices to master before entering a 3-years retreat?
Because many people they assume that they practice many deities, and they practice all of it, even after they finished the 3-years retreat, but in the reality it is not. Of course, you can do it all, it’s good, but at the end, you have to choose only one deity, one practice, that has to be committed and dedicated in that direction as much as possible.
Because if you are practicing, of course in the beginning of the 3-years retreat, your practice has to be strong, and motivated and dedicated, and then slowly and slowly, the very concept of perfection, and the very belief of practice, has to be broke down, and then has to dissolve into the state of clarity, and the state of mind, and meditation state. So, the practice itself has to become much more simple, due to your quality by that time. But in the beginning, you have to do all the preliminary, and all the preparation, all the practices that whatever is instructed within the 3-years retreat.
Then back to the question that, what kind of preparation we have to do，to master before entering a 3-years retreat?
3-years retreat demands a lot of disciplines. So if you cannot follow the disciplines, then the 3-years retreat is not really for you. And age really doesn’t really matter, whether you are 60, whether you are 50, whether you are 18. I went to a 3-years retreat when I was 13- 14. 3 years and nine months I was in the retreat. By the time I came out, I was already 18. The first year for me was a disaster. Because the disciplines, the rules, the applies is extremely difficult.
But then slowly when you discover how to balance, and then you will start to appreciate everything. Because the reality of the retreat becomes smaller. The reality becomes smaller, it depends on how you balance your small reality. You understand what I am trying to say? In our daily life, everyday we get up in the morning, and everyday we see different realities, and that brings a little bit like dreams in our mind. In our evening or in our daytime, it brings a lot of memories, right? So you have these constant reflection in mind that what happened yesterday, what happened today, and things like that.
What happens in the retreat is that you feel like you are in the same dream for at least one year. And then after one year, you know how to make your dream smaller and smaller, smaller and smaller. With that applying discipline in mind, and then slowly by then, only by then, and then you start developing the body and mind, combine together, kind of state of mind quality, let’s say.
So don’t expect to be perfect from the beginning. But that’s how it works. So basically, you have to know how to dedicate yourself to your mind, body, and to the Buddha dharma, of course. So if I put it an non-religious way, that’s how it sounds like.
If I put it in a very religious way, then it sounds like this, that you have to be dedicated with so much devotion, and with the deity practice, with the visualization practice, and so and so forth.
I think I like the topic what I said. I think maybe some other day I will explain little bit more.
With Love and Respect from Kalu Rinpoche
Facebook Live Talk on 4th, Sep. 2018