First of all, our internet went down last Wednesday to Friday, so we weren’t able to film our usual episode. Many apologies to you all!
We are sad to say this will be our last Corvid 6 update for our CNN spot, the Crow’s Nest News. We’ve been following two of these six crows in particular, and Geshe Tashi Tsering talks us through recent events as they happened.
In Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic this week, Geshe Tashi responds to requests he’s received from you to expand on the patience teachings he gave in the 22nd July and 29th July blogs. Your requests have centred around dealing with the irritation, agitation and anxiety of the Coronavirus measures. Turning to a selection of verses from Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lam Rim Chenmo volume 2, Geshe Tashi helps us deal with our feelings of unease, irritation and agitation in the face of things that are slowly getting to us.
Continuing his commentary on Maitreya’s Prayer of Love, Geshe la talks us through verse 21 and the Perfection of Concentration. Here he looks at the three highest levels of concentration for those on the bodhisattva path: illusion like concentration; the concentration of heroes; and vajra like or indestructible concentration. The translation of hero here (Tib: pawo) is from the sattva in bodhisattva, or the pa as in jang chub sem pa. Illusion like concentration allows bodhisattvas to focus on the disparity between appearance and reality. We recommend developing this before tackling the Two Truths module of FBT Course. (Don’t worry, we’re only joking!) Geshe Tashi explains that those with a hero’s concentration are those who are extremely able and capable at overcoming their own self-interest, and therefore can provide others with whatever they need, mentally or physically, without being distracted. Vajra like concentration is the concentration that destroys the final, most deeply rooted obscurations, moments before enlightenment.
Geshe la ends by putting these kinds of concentration in the context of our mindfulness and calm abiding practices. Speaking as the Admin Team, our take-away message from this is to work on the Three Trainings and, of course, to sign up to the September intake of The Foundation of Buddhist Thought Course, featuring your favourite Hlarampa Geshe on video every week. We’ve done a complete makeover, it’s a whole new course, why not join us?
As a final admin note, there will be three more Practising in a Pandemic blog updates before a late summer break. We will be in retreat in the last week of August, so these are planned for Wednesday 19th August, Wednesday 2nd and 9th of September. The FBT Course starts on the 7th September. Our weekly programme of classes will continue late September, with exciting new projects in the pipeline!
With best wishes to you all,
Your Admin Team
Maitreya’s Prayer of Love (Verse 21)
Like the concentration called Magic [Illusion like concentration]
And the concentration of Going Heroically [a Hero’s concentration]
And the concentration Like a Thunderbolt [Vajra like concentration],
May I accomplish the perfection of concentration.
FPMT, translator unknown
Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.