A Contemplation from Alan Muller

“With shamata practice, we learn to detect impulses in their early stages. We can check an impulse toward anger before exploding like a volcano. If we do not recognize that impulse, then the repetition of angry outbursts strengthens the tendency toward anger and creates its own karmic energy, it’s own propensity for reoccurrence. Recognition allows us to disrupt the habitual identification that we have with the impulse, and therefore to separate from it. We can also learn to cultivate our impulse for kindness so that it permeates our entire being for our own benefit and that of others. Our humanness provides us with the choice between positive and negative. Our karma may shift the balance one way or the other. But the choices that we make are our responsibility, and they condition our future.”   

Mingyur Rinpoche,  Turning Confusion Into Clarity



Reflecting on this paragraph, what is being pointed out to us? Here are some of my thoughts:

1) The importance of meditation (shamata practice) to help us overcome our mind poisons.

Do you know how to meditate?

2)  To cultivate kindness, which will be for our benefit and the benefit of others.

How do we cultivate kindness?

Looking back over the last few days, have I acted with kindness to others and to myself?

3) The sentence “Our humanness provides…”

This is pointing out Precious Human Life. Do I have a precious human life right now? I have a human life but is it precious, what makes it precious?

4) The sentence “But the choices…”

Right now your actions are shaping your future. Are you planting seeds that will ripen into positive situations or negative ones?

If you have any insights that arose from this contemplation, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Alan took refuge in 1997 with Akong Rinpoche. In 2003, he completed a one-year closed retreat under the guidance of Lama Yeshe Rinpoche at Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland. During this period, he took novice monk’s vows. Alan remained a novice monk for six years and now presents courses and retreats as a layperson.