Q: How do we recognize and overcome our inner obstacles?
A: It’s a very big topic because obstacle is a definition comes in different level. In person who’s having an issue with the neighbor, the obstacle is very much external, property, borderline, disturbance. And then if there is a management of the organization, the internal disturbance and obstacles is people criticizing you, or can be seen as obstacle or can be seen as motivation. And then there’s advanced practitioner, their obstacle is recognizing the subtle distraction from the solid distraction and distinguishing and then also to overcome and making a gradual improvement. So I think there are many different things when we talk about internal obstacle. So I think, I would assume, since you asked this question, I would assume that you simply want to be in peace.
Therefore, in order to be in peace with your mind, you have to do meditation. Not a meditation that assumption of everything is empty and should be emptiness and meditate emptiness. There is a clear distinction and misunderstanding. Because people they think that in order to meditate, you should meditate emptiness. Emptiness itself, it’s not a meditation. It’s like an argument about the number zero. People when they talk about zero, they think that is not a number, But it is still a number right? So, that is the same, almost similar argument. So, basically people talk about emptiness and they think that emptiness is almost like meditating nothing and recognizing nothing, is like a numb emptiness. In fact, in the reality it is not.
So, the meditation, first it has to start with the solid object. Then it can go in a little bit more visualization, appearance, through your mindset. And then ultimately, visualization can go a little bit more subtle. And then after that you recognize the nature of the mind with the sense of clarity. So you start with the sense of meditation.
The typical adviser would be like, ‘Oh, you should do Ngondro and preliminary.’ Of course, you should go ahead and do it. And then the second option is that you do Chenrezig practice, because any deity, whether it is a short practice of the deity, whether there’s a long practice of the deity, every single deity has a preliminary category that comes within the practice. It’s not something separate. It’s just always comes along, it’s just longer or shorter.
So, if you focus on Chenrezig practice, and then I think it can give you the benefit of doing meditation, and also a very simple visualization, and also reflecting the meaning of compassion and wisdom. And like I said, we talk about compassion a lot. And we have lots of misunderstanding about compassion. Because first, you must develop compassion and generate compassion and then giving an impact with your compassion should be your natural act. Not a practice anymore. And having this clear understanding is quite important.
With love and respect from Kalu Rinpoche
10th Nov. 2019