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Hidden high up in the woods, inside a small log cabin, my father remained seated on a fresh wooden flooring in a cross-legged posture with his head slightly bowed down in respect. His root lama, the great Yogi, had positioned himself in a relaxed posture of royal ease on a gently raised dais. The fragrance of the burning incense stick from inside the house was wafting slowly out into the woods and soothing the olfactics of all mortals and even the unseen forms. The birds had begun chirping in a ubiquitous tone with the breaking of the daylight, and the distant sound of the flowing river could also be heard from below the valley. As I was busy preparing sugar-free morning tea for them, I could not help myself from lending my auditory senses to the words of his root Lama. I would not say I was eavesdropping at that moment, rather, I still feel blessed to have overheard the initial part of Lama's pith instructions being given to my father.
His Lama said in a soft tone "No matter how much learned you become, how much respect you earn in life, how many mantras you recite over time and no matter even if you spend several years in retreat, you would not have achieved anything if you are not able to tame your mind. What matters most at the end is to be able to recognize your mind and see your true nature of mind. The whole of Buddha's profound teaching ultimately converges into mind. While treading the path of a Buddhist practitioner, you must know your purpose. Always remember it."
His Lama further went on by saying "Do not ever let your mind be swayed away by the winds of five poisons (དུག་ལྔ།) i.e attachment, anger, ignorance, pride and jealousy. Be always careful. Constantly examine your thoughts and contemplate on བློ་ལྡོག་རྣམ་བཞི།, the 'Four thoughts that turn the mind to Dharma', no matter how many times you have heard it or how basic it may sound. It has to be a part of you throughout your journey till the end." The four thoughts for contemplation are:
- Precious human birth (དལ་འབྱོར་རྙེད་པར་དཀའ་བ།);
- Impermanence (ཚེ་མི་རྟག་པ།);
- The short comings of Samsara (འཁོར་བའི་ཉེས་དམིགས།);
- Karma and its consequences (ལས་རྒྱུ་འབྲས།)
- Loving-kindness (བྱམས་པ།);
- Compassion (སྙིང་རྗེ།);
- Joyfulness (དགའ་བ།);
- Equanimity (བཏང་སྙོམས།)
Just as I signaled them that the tea was ready, Lama took a break by saying "I am very happy to be here with you today but all I can do is only serve as a guide in your pursuit for self realization. Self realization has to come from within yourself. Do not seek it outwards. It is not something which comes from outside through some external force". He also used a metaphor by saying "A plant cannot be grown faster by someone pulling it from top. It has to grow by itself from within and obviously it is a time taking process. Just like the plant, I can only help you grow (realize) faster by nurturing you properly at the base instead of pulling."
"If you feel that it makes sense, whatever I tell you today, take it as a small advice from a simple Buddhist practitioner like me. Not that I know everything, requirement of a Lama is a must for a serious practitioner as you move further up. Since, you have considered me as your Lama, whether I am capable of it or not, thank you for that and for becoming a Buddhist practitioner." his Lama said.
Finally, I served them the tea with great reverence and I headed back home leaving them undisturbed to continue from where they had stopped.
Such were the sublime and profound words of wisdom from his root lama which would definitely serve as a guide and reminder to everyone who follow the path.