By Allison C Zangmo & Anyen Rinpoche //
Cultivating the expansive nature of love is the essence of the dharma. What does that actually mean? As human beings, we are limited in so many ways. Our physical nature is limited; when we feel physical pain or illness or the suffering of aging, our ability to love ourselves and others is also limited. Our emotional nature is limited; when we feel personal pain and suffering, when our minds are focused on our own experience and cannot relate to the experience of others, or when we think the intensity of our suffering is unique, our ability to love ourselves and others is limited. The nature of our breath is limited; when our breathing takes on the characteristics of our emotions, when it becomes hot, heavy, or fast-paced, our ability to love ourselves and others is limited. The nature of the everyday mind is limited; when we are too focused on the things that we think we want and need to feel comfortable and safe, our ability to love ourselves and others is limited.
How does it feel to be a human being who has the potential to love and connect with everyone, but instead, because of our own personal suffering, we spend most of the time being wrapped up in ourselves and our own small corner of the world? My own experience is that it feels pretty terrible. I actually don’t like my little corner of the world. It’s dark and cramped, and I see far too many of my own unhealthy ideas and beliefs in here. But whenever I put more effort into my spiritual life and the practice of the Buddhadharma, I am empowered to transform this personal suffering and use it to open myself up and connect with others. Also, whenever I get too focused on “me and how I feel,” I know that I’m just prolonging my own painful feelings. One the other hand, whenever I’m willing to expand my focus beyond my own personal problems, peace of mind awaits me.
I love teaching on how to expand the limitations we experience of body, emotion, mind and breath because the dharma can help us all to cut through our personal limitations and blockages so that we can connect with love’s expansive nature. We can probably all think of times that our minds have been filled with love. It is so easy to find other positive qualities when we are starting with the ground of love. When we are loving towards ourselves and others, we open ourselves up to many other positive thoughts, emotions and experiences—compassion, rejoicing, contentment, a quality of wellbeing and the wish to share what we have with others.
We hope you will join us in our upcoming retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center to discuss and practice the essence of the dharma. We plan to work with all of the aspects of the body, breath, emotions and mind in order to gain some experience, or further experience, in opening up the places we are stuck.
About the Authors
Anyen Rinpoche was born in Amdo,Tibet. His lineage can be traced back directly to the renowned Dzogchen master Patrul Rinpoche. Anyen Rinpoche is a heart son of Tsara Dharmakirti Rinpoche. After remaining with his Root Lama for 18 years, Anyen Rinpoche came to America, where he established the Orgyen Khamdroling Dharma Center in Denver. Rinpoche’s dharma activity focuses on helping Buddhist practitioners prepare for the moment of death through the Dying with Confidence Program and the Phowa Foundation. He also teaches a traditional “shedra,” or intensive Vajrayana study, for westerners at Orgyen Khamdroling. Read more about Anyen Rinpoche on his expanded bio HERE.
Allison Choying Zangmo is a student of Anyen Rinpoche and his root master, Tsara Dharmakirti Rinpoche. She has been studying the Tibetan language and Buddhism under Anyen Rinpoche’s personal guidance for the past sixteen years, and acts as his personal translator. She lives in Denver.