The Sanskrit word dharma has many different meanings, but the word generally means to change: to change our impure or wild mind that is so involved with defilements toward the right path.

Although of course even just doing practice has some benefit, the point of practice is to change one’s mind. If one’s mind does not change, then it is not very effective.

We must look to see whether the practices we are doing are making a real difference in our mind or not.

If the practice changes our mind, then, if we use it in the right way, we could be the busiest person in the busiest city but still be a very good Dharma practitioner because everything we see and do, everyone we associate with, gives us a chance to practice Dharma.

For example, when traveling in cities and noticing many changes, we witness the truth of impermanence.

When we see so much suffering, we are experiencing the Buddha’s teaching that everything is suffering. The fact that we actually see it with our own naked eyes means we can immediately learn it.

When we associate with the vast numbers of people in cities, we have a chance to help them, to practice compassion.

When people disturb us or are angry with us, it gives us a chance to practice patience.

In this way, if we can apply the teachings to our everyday life, then wherever we are, at work or at home, we can use our experiences and surroundings to practice the Dharma.

These different experiences can help us to understand more deeply how important it is to practice the Dharma.

Higher meditations like concentration and insight are very important, but in order to reach that level, it is necessary to cultivate the basic foundations — such as contemplating the difficulty of obtaining precious human birth, impermanence and death, the cause of karma, and the suffering of saṃsāra, together known as the four common foundations.

These you can learn from a teacher or study in books.

~ The 41st Sakya Trizin, Kyabgon Gongma Trichen Rinpoche

(Reference: padmamalla, Instagram, 26 June 2020)

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