by Taylor Kilgore
Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche, professor of Buddhist philosophy in Nepal, visited the
University of West Georgia to present a talk on ways students and the community can
better cope with the stressors of life. At a young age, Rinpoche received the classical
Tibetan Buddhist education reserved for incarnate lamas, comprising both intensive
apprenticeship and formal academic study. As a spiritual leader, he is a throne-holder
of the Taklung Kagyu lineage and heads several monasteries and centers in Asia and
North America. Rinpoche travels to spread his teachings around the world on “The Rhythm
Buddhist Lama Teaches Students to Reduce Stress“Some people find it very difficult to meditate, and they always tell me it is impossible for them to meditate,” said Rinpoche. “My idea is that you do not need to sit down in the beginning. You do not need to sit to create space and feel the spaciousness and breathe. You create a rhythm, the rhythm of happiness.”
Rinpoche gave the audience ways to create distance between problems that may arise and his or her personal well being. Initially, one should try to focus on their breath and create space. This can be done in any environment when the person feels overwhelmed about an arising problem. Rinpoche believes after one creates space, he or she can then work on improving oneself through thoughts on anger, pride, jealousy, attachment, and a blind spot.
“When you constantly think about the problem you are having, you get overwhelmed and lose the quality of life,” said Rinpoche. “When you have problems, do not get sucked into the problem, but think bigger than that. You can project your mind much wider because you learn to create space.”
Rinpoche urges everyone not to simply sit down and think how you love yourself, but to think on what you do not like about yourself and how to change those things. Making simple changes in the areas discussed can make the person feel more sincere and not as susceptible to anger, pride, jealousy, attachment to materialistic items, and the blind spot of a reaction one did not know he or she had.
“Going backwards and creating space for yourself and willing to transform yourself will make you a more sincere person,” he advised. “Give some time to yourself, maybe ten or fifteen minutes. You always need to feel very positive about it, and you need to learn to be genuine and sincere to yourself and your feelings.”