Practice in Daily Life: Advice of Atisha in 21 lines

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo at a Two Day Retreat in Bangalore

Prajnadhara, Siddhartha’s Intent and Vana Foundation collaboratively organised a Two Day Retreat at Prajnadhara’s new campus in Nelamangala. We were humbled to host the world renowned teacher Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo on her first visit to Bangalore.  

The Snehadhara Foundation team, Deepika School team and some other students of spiritual practice were lucky to receive the teachings of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo at a two day retreat: ‘Practice in Daily Life – Advice of Atisha in 21 lines’. At the teaching delivered in her gentle style, mixed generously with humour and abundant compassion, Jetsunma started by narrating the story of how Atisha became one of the foremost teachers of Buddhism in Tibet. “Atisha emphasized foundations,” she said. “The motivation of a spiritual life should be for the benefit of others. Just as a doctor does not become a doctor to heal herself, a spiritual seeker and genuine practitioner practices to benefit others over many lifetimes,” she said.

While detailing the tenets he put down for seekers, she pointed out the delusional nature of our perception of reality. “We exist but not how we think we exist.” She also spoke about the “grasping, clinging ignorant mind” that blocks itself from finding wisdom that is waiting to be tapped from the very same space. We need to tame the mind and then train it so we can “witness, rather than be swept along in its flood.” She emphasized the need to befriend rather than force the mind which does not take kindly to force but laps up a nurturing friendship. She addressed questions on finding teachers and meditating on Tara whose 21 forms bring much succour to seekers of health and much more. The first day of the Retreat concluded with a beautiful Mehfil that explored many thoughts and philosophical ideas pointed at earlier in the day.

The second day of the Retreat saw participants inquiring into questions on compassion, mindfulness, intention and even lucid dream practices. “Compassion can be very tough. Being compassionate does not mean that we condone,” said Jetsunma, explaining how difficult relationships are a great practice ground for compassion that can even take wrathful forms. She reminded the participants that “we cannot give to others what we do not have inside ourselves” and that we have to begin our practice of compassion with ourselves. Speaking of intentions, she emphasized their importance in meditation for they give direction and meaning to the practice. Intention is the “why” that sets the stage for the “how” and “what” of meditative practice, she said.

Jetsunma detailed the teachings of Atisha with stories and anecdotes from daily life and contemporary contexts, making them even more relatable. Forebearance in conflicting situations, the importance of letting go, the sheer potential to build a spiritual practice even in the midst of a “normal,” packed life, the benefits of being truly present to the task at hand, being more allowing of thoughts but cultivating a watchfulness that will offer the mind the space to alter itself – these are some of the points that were stressed upon, ever so gently.

The two day Retreat opened up new vistas of hope for those wanting to nurture their spiritual practice or even simply find ways to deal with life’s daily challenges. The participants left with a sense of calm and well-being, carrying new awareness of the possibilities within themselves. 

January 31st – Part 1

January 31st – Part 2

February 1st – Part 1

February 1st – Part 2

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