Fresh Perspectives on Problems (Part 1)

in What's New

Problems are considered a universal part of life. For most people, we are often captivated by obstacle-oriented mindsets, which can fixate our attention and perpetuate cycles of negativity. However, the mastery of a given subject only happens when one encounters many circumstances that stray from the envisioned ideal.

In his book Crystal Mirror 4: Bringing the Teachings Alive, Tarthang Tulku guides readers on the path to enlightenment through a retelling of the stories surrounding those who laid the foundation of Tibetan Buddhism and the lessons that manifested in the face of adversity. These teachings express universal truths that go beyond mere doctrines and practices, reminding us of the gift that is the heritage of the Buddhist teachings found in Tibet and the Nyingma lineage. A heritage that, if we are open to it, can help us question the problems facing us today.

Buy Crystal Mirror 4 Here

"Studying the Dharma can help us focus our experience, like a magnifying glass which reveals the intricate weave of small dots in a photograph” (Crystal Mirror 4, p. 194).

“Inner clarity develops once we stop trying to cover over, hide from, or escape dealing honestly with daily experiences. We begin to accept things as they are, without trying to reconstruct them to fit some idealized or conceptualized pattern, or force things and people to satisfy our self-image” (Crystal Mirror 4, p. 196).

What Is A Problem?

Before one can overcome an obstacle, they must first identify what they consider is a “problem”. As touched on by Ralph McFall of Dharma Publishing, the history, lineages, and practices of Buddhism in Tibet can inspire us to look within ourselves with honesty and compassion and to cultivate wisdom and enlightenment. Here, Tarthang Tulku offers a take on what it is we are truly battling in our day-to-day lives:

“Why do we have problems? Because we believe there is a ‘no-problem place’. Since we have that kind of a concept, we call the contrast between what is and what we would like to be a ‘problem’. If we did not have that kind of fixed idea, we might never suffer. But we continue to believe that somewhere something is wonderful, something is beautiful, something is ideal and stimulating” (Crystal Mirror 4, p. 322).

To deconstruct this concept, first look at the language you use.

The moment we choose to call something a problem or difficult, what are we really doing? What is the term “difficult”? What are we resisting by labeling something in this manner? Take the time to evaluate the situation at hand and really ask why you have constructed this particular narrative and how it compares to the ideal solution that you have imagined. By breaking apart the story you’ve created through the use of words like “problem” and “difficult”, you may begin to see the issue desaturate. In essence, you may imagine it becoming a solution.



Upcoming Retreats -

Being Fully Present

Join Jack Petranker and Ignacio Ercole at Ratna Ling Retreat Center to learn how to be fully present and let go of stress and other negative emotions. This retreat will help you ground yourself in your body, breathe, and explore your senses to better identify the stories you are telling yourself. You will begin to analyze the thoughts and emotions that build up around these stories, offering you new means to find peace, heal your relationships, and learn more about yourself.

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Join Lama Palzang, Pema Gellek, and assistant faculty in a three-day retreat focused on the profound and accessible practices of visualization, mantra, and prayer, as taught by Padmasambhava and other great Nyingma masters. By opening ourselves to a vast vision of an awakened being and the teachings connected to a profound lineage, we can transform our experience of reality and welcome the blessings of Padmasambhava.

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Upcoming Series - Mind, Death, & Rebirth

Mangalam Research Center is pleased to present a series of free talks on “Mind, Death, & Rebirth” in light of Buddhist culture, thought, and practice; modern biomedical research; and cross-cultural study. Join us in an exploration of phenomena that defy conventional explanation (children who remember previous lives, near-death experiences, and Tibetan masters who appear to remain in meditation after death), with discussions on the philosophical implications of these phenomena, how they challenge a materialist worldview, and how they relate to traditional Buddhist views.

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May 14 - June 12, 2024: “Mind, Death, & Rebirth”
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