Talk Categories Practical Buddhism | Talk Locations Community Church of New York

What Makes You So Busy?

In this talk, Khenpo Sodargye Rinpoche shared his ideas on what makes us so busy and how we can become relaxed and find peace through meditation. He also gave practical guidance on meditation, from the simplest method of cultivating love and concentration to the highest one of realizing the nature of mind.

Speech by Khenpo Sodargye

What Makes Us So Busy?

The Chain of Desire

Nowadays, people never seem to be satisfied and always want more, which is probably the reason why we are so busy as we’re slaving away to achieve our goal.

Once upon a time, there was a country where there was a wealthy man who possessed ninety-nine sheep, and his neighbor, a poor man who only had one sheep. One day, the wealthy man said to his neighbor “It seems unnecessary for you to keep that sheep, why don’t you give it to me, then I will have a flock of one hundred sheep, which will be so perfect a number!” Much of what is happening now in the world is quite similar to this story.

What Makes Us So Busy?

Sometimes, we need to reflect on our life and ask ourselves “Why are we so busy every day?”

Whether it’s those with religious belief or those without, people often say that they are very busy every day. Although we’re bustling around all day long, there will come a day [―the day that we die―] when we have nothing to be busy with. Many of you may be afraid of that day and that’s probably why you would rather be busy than take a rest.

What is it that makes us so busy? You should think about that.

Meditation on Love

One of the subjects in meditation is meditation on love, or more specifically, meditation on compassion, loving-kindness, and bodhichitta. It’s a very simple method of meditation where you cultivate love towards others. You just generate a loving mind towards your object and meditate repeatedly that “I love you.”

When you do this meditation, you can start with loving small groups of people around you such as your family members, like your father, your mother, your children or other senior members in your family, or your friends. Then expand your love to all the people in the world. Gradually, you will be able to extend your love to each and every sentient being.

Love is a very positive mental state. Mahayana Buddhism speaks highly of the mind of loving every being because when one’s mind is filled with love, there will be no room for hatred.

However, after becoming a Buddhist some people seem to be indifferent and have no concern for others. That’s not good, as when we have love towards others it carries a powerful energy which can bring about a lot of merit. We should also love in the proper way when loving others and not go to extremes, otherwise love can become an affliction and may bring about suffering to ourself and others.

Sometimes, we need to reflect on our life and ask ourselves “Why are we so busy every day?” Whether it’s those with religious belief or those without, people often say that they are very busy every day. Although we’re bustling around all day long, there will come a day [―the day that we die―] when we have nothing to be busy with. Many of you may be afraid of that day and that’s probably why you would rather be busy than take a rest. What is it that makes us so busy? You should think about that.

Finding Enlightenment in Life

Meditation for Cultivating Concentration

As for the meditation on wisdom, there are basic methods and also advanced ones. The basic ones, which are mainly practices of concentration, are simple.

When doing this type of meditation, relax your body and mind, then you can focus your attention either on your body or on your mind. When focusing on your body, you can focus on your body as a whole, or on a part of it such as your head, your left hand, right hand, etc. So just focus one-pointedly, with the awareness of knowing the object of your concentration. Meditate attentively in this way without getting distracted.

If your mind gets distracted, for example, by the wall, the cup of coffee in front of you, or by thinking of someone, be aware of it instead of letting your mind chase after the distraction. It means you can observe your current mental state (the observed) with your own conceptual mind (the observer). Actually, both the observed and the observer are nothing but different aspects of your very own mind, and they can function separately in your concentration meditation.

What Should We Be Busy For

It is inevitable to have afflictions and suffering when living in such a complicated world, although luckily, since it’s so rare an opportunity, we have encountered what we really need―an authentic wisdom education on spirituality. Therefore, while we are slaving away over affairs of this life, it is also worthwhile for us to stop sometimes and occupy ourselves with something spiritual.

Finding Enlightenment in Life

According to the teachings of the Secret Mantra or Vajrayana, one can enjoy a happy life without having to renounce covetousness or observe many rules. There is an important notion in Vajrayana that lay practitioners can attain liberation without the need to relinquish their covetousness or to cast away the relationship with their family and worldly affairs, as long as they realize the nature of mind and the nature of afflictive emotions.

Once, King Indrabhuti told Buddha Shakyamuni, “I long for liberation, but I cannot become a monk as I would never be able to forsake my beautiful palace nor my entourage.” Then the Buddha gave him a pith instruction on how to realize the nature of the mind, through which he achieved liberation without having to be ordained.

 

According to the teachings of the Secret Mantra or Vajrayana, one can enjoy a happy life without having to renounce covetousness or observe many rules. There is an important notion in Vajrayana that lay practitioners can attain liberation without the need to relinquish their covetousness or to cast away the relationship with their family and worldly affairs, as long as they realize the nature of mind and the nature of afflictive emotions.

However busy we are, we should try to meditate regularly, as by doing so, our tired body and mind will find total relaxation.