I am just writing down all the remaining points without any proper sequence. (Check my earlier posts, here and here). It’s more like a collection of quotes :P.
  • A major theme in Jetsunma’s lecture was the importance of difficult people (yes!). She says that by avoiding difficult people, we fool ourselves into thinking that we are nicer than others. In Buddhism, difficult people are considered Gurus because they reveal who we are i.e the way we react to difficult people’s behavior or actions says a lot about our goodness. She says that it is easy to be nice when people around you are nice. What’s challenging is to stay true to your values when you are around difficult people.
  • She said that there is a difference between attachment and love. People normally think that the more tightly you hold onto someone, the more you love that person. But according to her genuine love is saying, “I love you and I want YOU to be happy.”
  • She wants people to pause for a minute before reacting in anger. We should apply the same to anything attractive. If you want something which you think is very attractive, pause for a minute and then take action.
  • Jetsunma wanted us to look at all human beings, insects, animals as our mother. In Buddhism, there is a concept of rebirth so maybe, in some other life, that cockroach that you just killed was your mother.
  • If someone criticizes you, ask two questions: 1. Is the criticism true? If yes, then why are you angry with the person? 2. If no, why bother?
  • If we help somebody and that person is not grateful or doesn’t help us in return, we get angry. Jetsunma says that this a proof that our intentions while helping was selfish (which is not wrong, but why do we think that our act is heroic?).
  • She talked a lot about helping the underprivileged. She said that we cannot change the lives of billions of people but we can change one life. She believes that the emotion and intention behind your help is more important than how much money you are giving to the needy. She gave an example of a Chinese nun who never accepted cheques as donations. She wanted those who wanted to donate to put a small amount of money in a jar everyday. Why? Because doing something everyday, even if it is very small, trains our mind in compassion. Writing a cheque is a one time thing.
  • She once visited a Sufi friend and gave that friend’s child a box of chocolates. That child had never owned a box full of chocolates and hence, was unwilling to share it with others. He said, “I won’t share, because this box is mine.” The parents said, “Exactly. They are yours, that’s why you can share it with others.”
  • In the documentary ‘Cave in the snow’, Jetsunma said that normally in social situations, we wear play different roles. We are forever trying to impress people, maintain a reputation etc. But in solitude, our masks fall off. When this happens, deeper level of consciousness come into light and we discover who we are. That’s why solitude is so powerful. She said that she felt more alone in a community than in the cave where she meditated for 12 years. The reason is that the monastery had no women and people were usually busy competing with each other.
  • She reminded us that death is inevitable. She quoted Dumbledore, ” Death is nothing but the next big adventure” (I forgot the entire quote) and said that she is not afraid of death. She said that average people don’t have to worry about death as their Karma is usually balanced. As long as you do your best, you don’t have to worry about death. She said that people don’t fear death, they fear pain (disease, old age etc). We usually believe that death is something that happens to OTHERS.
  • She doesn’t believe in any God. She only knows that there is a reality that can be seen without our colored glasses. To know this reality, we have to cultivate a silent mind. To get any answers, we have to rise above our conceptual mind. The moment we have silence in our minds, all answers will come. She also added that real answers will only come from within. And answers won’t come in words.
  • We usually try to change others but she says that we cannot do that. We can only change ourselves.
  • People from the West usually appear very confident on the outside but are insecure, inside. People from the east are opposite.
  • Saying “I am worthless” is also ego. The self cherishing mind is the root of most of our problems.
  • The ego is perfectly happy being miserable. It thrives on self-pity. The Ego only lives in the past or in the future.
  • A person with a healthy ego will always think of others. She asked us if we were thinking of our arm during the lecture. We were not thinking of our arms because they were healthy! It’s only when you have pain or injury in your arm do you think about it…right? In the same way, those who always think about themselves are injured.
  • We don’t need external renunciation..we need to renounce things and let go from within.
  • We enjoy a movie when we know that it’s not real…when we don’t hold onto the characters on screen. In the same way, life is like a movie…the more we try to hold onto people, the less we will enjoy.
  • It’s not about what you own, it’s about how much what you own, owns you.
P.S. I forgot to mention that actress Shilpa Shukla (Chak De India, B.A.Pass) was present at the lecture and she was meditating quite seriously during the lunch break.

2 thoughts on “Notes from the Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo lecture: Part II

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