Khandro Rinpoche, a Buddhist woman teacher, gave a talk on April 23rd, 2005 at New Yorks Tibet House on maintaining the sacred in ordinary life. She was real, direct, funny, and very helpful.

Here are some of the teachings I found most useful:

When you see faults in your self, bring in humor. Know your negativities, but more important, know there is a path.

Work with the unnecessary tightness, anxiety in your self. Untie the grasping self so you can love unconditionally. Self–grasping is a core of fear that we hold. If we do not continue to grasp, we fear we will lose ourselves and our individuality. Meditate until you realize there is nothing to hold.

What can I depend upon?

The mind. (A natural expanse, bright, with nothing to hold onto, natural wisdom.)

If your mind is trained, the results will be pure.

The mind keeps circling around gain/loss. There is nothing to truly gain; we come with nothing, we leave with nothing. The mind is always afraid of loss and so it is never still. What do you hope to gain? Why are you agitated? Ask, go deeper.

Clinging to praise; choosing those who praise us, shunning those who do not.

Equanimity: not having extreme attachments; caring for all with equal tenderness.

Buddhism:

1. Observe self and how it keeps fabricating.

2. Bring genuine kindness and tolerance to all.

3. Let kindness be without self grasping.

How can we ever repay all we receive? We are dependent on others for everything (food, knowledge, shelter). How small we are compared to the immense kindness we are receiving.

In the last 45 minutes she took questions.

I asked her: What to do about the religious polarization in this country?

She answered: It is dangerous, serious. We need to bring out the aspect of love in whatever tradition we follow, and we need to be courageous and to reveal the faults of the religious leaders and voice objections.