From reminding us that human life is precious, to giving advice on overcoming our day to day suffering, to meditation advice for bringing insights off the cushion into our normal life, Rinpoche is able to present these old teachings in a way that’s approachable and down to earth.

 

By Daniel Scharpenburg

The weekend of August 12th-14th 2022 Khentrul Lodro Thaye Rinpoche visited Kansas City.

He led a weekend retreat for the Rime Buddhist Center. It was the first in person weekend retreat the Rime Center had in a long time. I wasn’t able to go. I try not to go to things like that when I have my kids. I was disappointed it wasn’t another weekend because I was interested.

The retreat was based on his forthcoming book The Power of Mind which is about Lojong, or mind training, teachings. That’s a subject I’m interested in, although sometimes teachings from these Tibetan teachers can be hit or miss. I can admit I have trouble with understanding thick accents sometimes and also I have trouble with listening through a translator. But I was disappointed that I couldn’t go.

It was a great surprise when I looked in my mailbox that Saturday and saw the nondescript brown envelope that contained this book.

This book was sent to me to write a review and it arrived at the exact day and time that the author was here in town giving teachings. I didn’t know it was coming, so it felt auspicious. I’m not a superstitious person, but what are the odds that this book would come to me the very day that some of the people in my community are receiving teachings from this person?

I started reading the book that day. The next morning I went to the Rime Center Sunday Service. Rinpoche was giving the talk, as visiting teachers do when they’re here. So, I got the opportunity to hear him teach. I met him and I also met his translator Paloma, who is very good at what she does.

He said something really powerful that I want to share with you.

He said, “If you get angry and you keep getting more and more angry it disempowers you. It results in a lack of power and agency. Then you can become ineffective.”

I had something bothering me that day and this teaching I received was exactly what I needed to hear. It was the right place at the right time.

So, have all of that in mind as you read this review.

In the translator’s introduction the translator, Paloma Lopez Landry, says, “This book is  a practice manual—a handbook of wisdom and practical advice for how to transform our lives, and in particular, how to transform all of the adversity that we encounter. Although mind training is a Buddhist teaching for cultivating mental well-being, it is applicable to everyone, regardless of whether we have a particular system of faith or not. These teachings have the power to bring a deeper sense of value to our lives and to motivate us to make the changes that will bring the happiness for which we yearn.”

The Seven Points of Mind Training is a set of techniques for training our minds. The techniques are designed to open our hearts and transform our suffering and mental unrest. These teachings offer us a lot of help in transcending our egotism and putting down the baggage we’re carrying. These were some of the first teachings I studied when I started really getting serious about exploring Tibetan Buddhism.

These teachings have been used for centuries in order to help Buddhist practitioners focus on what’s important in our efforts to tame our minds.

In the introduction he says, “Peace and happiness can be attained, but not by searching for something in the outside world. They start within us and extend out to the entire globe. Peace and happiness are found within ourselves. If our minds are disturbed, we can never find lasting peace and happiness. This is why the Buddha said, ‘Completely tame your mind.’ Taming the mind is the process of cultivating positive thoughts and emotions while learning to reduce negative thoughts and emotions.”

This text guides us through these teachings one by one.

From reminding us that human life is precious, to giving advice on overcoming our day to day suffering, to meditation advice for bringing insights off the cushion into our normal life, Rinpoche is able to present these old teachings in a way that’s approachable and down to earth.

The Power of the Mind is an important text because it reminds us that mind training is empowering. I think it’s not an accident that this work has a bold title. We can train our minds and learn to control them, or we can just move through life letting things happen.

The choice is ours.

 

Photo: Shambhala Publications

 

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