Today is the 10th day of Tibetan Calendar, which is slated for Guru Rinpoche Puja Day. We did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After the prayer, Acho Rinpoche continued to explain the difference between practice and study. He cited the 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinley, who also stressed on the importance of a balancing act between the practice and study, for Sakyamuni Buddha taught the same. Karmapa said that a Buddhis Academy is a place of learning, whereas a retreat center is a place of practice; a student must learn, contemplate and practise the teachings by according equal weight to all three aspects of training. A student must not just ignore any of the three aspects of training or he is blaspheming the Buddha’s teaching and therefore committing the Five Great Sins. A person who studies in a Buddhist Academy must not just learn and contemplate the teachings without practising them, or he is just pretending to be a Buddhist. “Turning one’s mind towards the teachings and turning the teachings towards the path of enlightenment” means entering the path of practice without being distracted by the worldly pleasures.
Acho Rinpoche also shared with us about a teaching given by Asong Rinpoche of Yaqing Monastery in the Sichuan Province of China that clearly showed how serious they are in doing the practice. Asong Rinpoche led a big group of his ordained students in doing a one month retreat in a mountain, doing solely the unique preliminary practice of the Great Perfection and Superior Wisdom Practice (大圆胜慧正行之不共前行修法). However, there are two very strict admission criteria to be complied fully by a participant, to be qualified for the practice. First, he must have already completed his Five Foundations Practice. Second, he must be an ordained person. So, a layman Buddhist is not qualified to join the retreat. However, there is another retreat being planned in the pipeline by Asong Rinpoche on the practice of “Guidance for Dharmata Bardo” (法性中阴引) which is opened to the layman Buddhists too, which is a one-month retreat of intensive training.
He instructed his students to update him on their spiritual progress but told them that he will not be pleased even if a student had a vision of one hundred deities, for he will be more pleased by an old man who came to seek his teachings. This old man was hit by a road accident earlier and came to seek help from the monastery. When he was introduced to the precious teachings at the monastery, he felt so grateful to the accident which brought him to the monastery and helped him find the most precious purpose in life. Later, when he returned to his hometown to visit to his family and relatives, he felt like a stranger in this once familiar surroundings. At that juncture, he realized that his real home was actually - Yaqing Monastery! Asong Rinpoche was very pleased with the mindset change of this old man because this is the sign of a practitioner who has made a true spiritual progress. A practitioner who has severed his attachment to the secular relationship with his family has truly entered the door of the Buddhadharma; the one who has yet to do so continues to wander outside the door. Acho Rinpoche felt the same too that when a practitioner has finally eradicated his five poisons of lust, hatred, ignorance, arrogance and suspicion, including severing his attachment to the secular relationship with his family and relatives, only then will he be able to attain the state of enlightenment. He commended highly of the serious attitude of the Yaqing practitioners in their spiritual pursuits, under the guidance of Asong Rinpoche.
Next, Acho Rinpoche shared with us a dream that he had last night. It was indeed a very special and auspicious dream that made us feel extremely joyful after hearing it. Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche, and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment one day.
Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 30-9-2017 @Singapore