83. Paramita of Diligence
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 83
Take refuge and arouse bodhicitta.
Reflect that if you remain sloppy and indolent, you won’t be able take care of yourself, how can you ever conceive of helping others?
Therefore, resolve: In order to benefit all beings, I must exert myself in practice, carrying out the ten dharmic activities —copying texts, making offerings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, performing charity to the needy, studying teachings, reading scriptures, memorizing texts, explaining Dharma to others, reciting scriptures aloud, contemplating the meaning of the Dharma and meditating. In addition, I shall attend to other virtuous actions such as the ten transcendent paramitas, prostration, and circumambulation. Especially I’ll perform the seven branch offerings and recite The Sutra of Three Heaps (The Confession of Downfalls to the Thirty-Five Buddhas)
In all, practitioners must exert extra efforts in practicing virtues and relinquish non-virtues as much as possible.
Some fellow students are particularly inclined to study, which is obvious in many ways. Sure, everyone has different propensities shaped by past and present lives. For some, reading or learning any teaching causes some immediate headache or heart palpitation. This is likely caused by past karmic obscuration that calls for sincere repentance.
To us, the pivotal point is not to regard Dharma study as an obligation that has to be endured; rather, deem it as a privilege. Whatever level of study you are at, keep reading and learning more. Otherwise, the mere mentioning of reading dispirits you, you turn gloomy; conversely, the mere mentioning of seeing a movie invigorates you instantly, you become excited. These are telltale signs as to what kind of “tulku” you were reincarnated from.
You know, studying and hearing the Dharma every day is like “recharging the battery” of our inner self; bit by bit, it boosts our enthusiasm. For myself, listening to the teachings from my root guru H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche or other masters, even just for one class, confers me a kind of blessing that lasts for a long time without dissipating. For example, during our Lama Rinpoche’s teaching of The Great Biography of Buddha Shakyamuni, every depiction of the Buddha’s compassion made an indelible mark in my mind so that my faith in the Buddha has never faltered since. When he explicated on precepts and vows, for an extended time I would be most scrupulous about every conduct of mine. When the lecture on Buddhist Logic began, I would train myself in debating to the point that I lost sleep from pondering in bed: “Should my opponents argue this or that, I shall refute with this or that reasoning. . .” going through mental dry runs over and over again. That’s how a remarkable Dharma lecture has impacted me. Sadly, gone are the opportunities of listening to my Lama Rinpoche’s teaching in person, and I feel my mind has become stagnant; even reading books seems to have lost some of its luster to me.
As to teaching the Dharma, I hope Dharma teachers will not regard it as a duty imposed on you; rather, imbue it with an energy that will stir up your audience’s feelings. Another example is the oral presentation test. Some contenders, without spending enough time contemplating the contents, just read the passages straight from textbooks as their argument, which can’t be a powerful delivery, can it? Other contenders, on the other hand, go astray even if they try hard to beef up their reasoning. For instance, the topic of debate was on “diligence”, yet they put too much emphasis on “indolence”. That won’t work either.
Anyway, the “oral presentation tests” are a form of training. Pay good attention to how others do it, and learn from them. If they gave an excellent performance that excelled over you, emulate them; if they did a less than satisfactory job, make sure you don’t make the same mistakes, and prepare yourself well in various fronts.
Dedicate merit knowing the emptiness of the three spheres.