Training the Mind – Thoughts on the Lama Gursam Retreat


I was fortunate enough to attend part of the Meditation Retreat with Lama Gursam this weekend (November 5, 2016).

The Audio of the dharma talk is now available below

Lama Gursam November 5th     
Lama Gursam November 4th     

As part of the morning retreat, Lama Gursam gave a Dharma talked based on some of his teachings, some of the most salient points of which I tried to capture below:

1. Meditation is about bringing the mind back inside” rather than the “outside”. This is where the analogy of the mind as a clear blue sky and thoughts as clouds comes into play. One point he made that really resonated with me was the idea that if there is simply one or two clouds in the sky, once they disappear, it is easier to get to a clear sky. However, if there are many clouds, it will take longer. As such, we must be patient in our practice. In other words, some days – your meditation may lead to a clearer mind faster than others where it may take longer.

2. On the issue of our happiness really only being influenced by our own thoughts – even Lama Gursam admitted that this may be a difficult concept to absorb. Still, it is important to recognize they are thoughts and once they are there, they are there. It’s what we do with them. (My interpretation – not his.)

3. Reading about meditation and learning about Buddhism are very important. However, intellectual pursuits without practice will not do anything to help the mind. Practice is vital.

4. Regarding contemplation, our mind is made up of “clouds” that are both light and dark or, in reality, thoughts that are both good and bad. Both of these, however, can lead to grasping, clinging and attachment without better understanding these thoughts and asking why they arise and what’s behind them, particularly difficult ones. This is insight.

5. True love and compassion are actually the same thing as peace and calm. Often, love gets confused based on emotional terms that can confound this understanding.

6. Expectations often lead to negative feelings. However, expectation is important in practice. Simply by stating your expectation to continue your meditation practice the next day, you will do it. Without stating the intention, it is much more difficult to do so.

7. Ignorance is the cause of much suffering. The antidote to ignorance is wisdom. (I happen to be reading “My Spiritual Journey” by the Dalai Lama and just after the retreat, he spoke just about this in a chapter entitled “Actualizing our Potential” for anyone that may be interested).

Personally speaking, I am grateful for the opportunity to have heard Lama Gursam. He put into words so much of what I have read and continue to hear regarding Buddhism and meditation. I hope that my personal practice continues to grow in a way that provides peace as I hope it does for you, as well.

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