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Have you ever felt like the present moment is passing you by while you’re caught up worrying, analyzing, planning, and trying to protect yourself from pain and loss?
It’s one the pitfalls of the human condition: we often paralyze ourselves in the pursuit of happiness and abundance, and in the process, miss out on the joy right in front of us.
Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche has devoted his life to helping people live joyful, mindful lives, free from the burdens of their minds.
In his new book, Living Fully, Finding Joy in Every Breath, Rinpoche summarizes his teachings in succinct, easily digestible sections. The result is a guide for living in the moment, peacefully, connected to the people and the world around us.
To enter to win 1 of 2 free copies of Living Fully:
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1. You were trained to be a Lama from the age of four. Did you always feel certain you wanted to be a spiritual teacher?
Even though I was trained in the most ancient Tibetan Buddhist spiritual tradition from a very young age, I personally never intended to become a spiritual leader.
While studying, I was more focused on learning the essence of spirituality itself and later, I spent my time applying these profound teachings so that I could live with greater clarity and understanding.
Therefore, I never had a particular interest in being a spiritual teacher, and even today, more than anything else, I see myself as a person who treasures the spiritual qualities of being with complete freedom. To me that is more important than being a teacher of some sort.
However, if some people relate to me by seeing even the tiniest wisdom in me as a teacher, I feel that this is an honor and it is mainly their pure karmic vision. In that sense, I do not object to being viewed as a spiritual teacher either, as some fortunate beings might be the perfect vessel.
2. In your new book, Living Fully, you outline a path we can all follow to find joy in every breath, as the subtitle reads. What do you think is the main reason we struggle to live fully?
The main reason we struggle to live life fully is because we lack genuine trust in our own innate abilities. Insecurity creates a lack of clarity in our way of being. When we are ignorant of our unconditional, true nature, we are unclear about our way of being.
In my book, Living Fully, Finding Joy in Every Breath, I have tried to clarify and explain these subjects in detail. I know you will find more in the book and it will be beneficial to read several times again and again.
3. In Chapter One, you talk about living nakedly. What does that mean exactly?
When we talk about living nakedly, we are not necessarily talking about living without clothes! Living nakedly is to experience the freshness of our original nature. Being totally fresh in the moment without any fabrication is it!!!
4. In Chapter Two, you suggest that one of the fundamentals of happiness is unlocking the chains of self-cherishing. Why is this important, and how can we do it?
It is very important to unlock the chains of self cherishing, as conditioning the self is the cause of true suffering. Everything that is conditional is subject to change and exhaustion. Therefore, it is very important to achieve freedom from conditional notions of self and to actualize the unconditional, true self.
We must try to see that everything that is conditional is transient, like sand castles that are quickly destroyed by wind and waves. Freedom from the self cherishing and not depending on anything that is undependable is the best thing for all.
5. You later talk about the conditional nature of self. Can you expand on this?
The conditional nature of self is created by ignorance. Therefore, it is very important to free oneself from ignorance, so that we do not chase after a mirage in hopes of finding water. In the true essence you will find the nectar.
6. You’ve written, “…we can celebrate the freedom that comes with awareness of the transient nature of things.” How does recognizing impermanence set us free?
It is very important to achieve true freedom so that we can celebrate. True freedom is the result of absolute mindfulness. When we are meditating on impermanence we will feel the urgency to experience freedom from suffering and the causes of suffering.
Hence, I feel that it is important for all of us to realize that change is taking place every moment and to be able to acknowledge that we are bound to experience sickness, old age, and death.
Even the so-called pleasure that we experience is temporary in nature. By meditating on impermanence we will be able to set ourselves free from conditional limitations and achieve true understanding of the indestructible state.
7. In exploring meditation, you’ve written that “everything we do can be practice.” What do you mean by this?
Everything we do can become practice if we are mindful in the truest sense. When we are able to remain in the mindfulness, we will be able to clearly see the totality of everything. To see the whole picture is a very sophisticated way of being and this is the state that we should aspire to achieve and I feel we can.
8. We all know kindness and compassion are two of the fundamentals of Buddhist practice. What are a few simple things we can do every day to feel more love and compassion for others?
Compassion and wisdom are the two main qualities discussed in Buddha’s teachings. If you understand correctly, compassion and wisdom are inseparable. To be compassionate and wise is having our pure heart open and being able to express kindness for all beings.
Fundamentally, being a good person is the key. We should try to be kind and caring to everyone. We must try to express our humility and respect everyone. We must achieve confidence in our true nature and confidence in everyone’s essence. In daily life, we should try to breathe with genuine compassion and carry out our activities with perfect wisdom.
9. Aside from your book, how can readers learn more about your teachings?
In Millerton, New York we have established Buddhafield, The Center for Enlightenment. Every summer in July, Sangha sponsors a retreat and I give teachings. As our facilities at Buddhafield expand, it is my wish that I will be able to spend more time there, and offer in depth teachings and lead retreats.
In addition, there are teachings available online and we plan to make more teachings available soon. Our US website www.buddhafield.info has information about the practice groups and retreats in their own towns. You can learn about events in Asia at www.wenchenggongzhu.org. And for information about my book, Living Fully, please go to www.livingfully.org.
You can purchase Living Fully on Amazon here.
FTC Disclosure: I receive complimentary books for reviews and interviews on tinybuddha.com, but I am not compensated for writing or obligated to write anything specific. I am an Amazon affiliate, meaning I earn a percentage of all books purchased through the links I provide on this site.