Cave in the Snow II

Yesterday, I wrote about Tenzin Palmo, and her experience meditating in a cave in the Himalayas for 12 years of her life. When it came time for her to leave, she traveled to a number of places in the West to lecture on Buddhism and meditation - though she discloses very little about her own personal experiences.

Here is a passage that spoke to me, because it is similar to something I constantly come across in the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda and other sages and Eastern scriptures:

"There is the thought [we have], and then there is the knowing of the thought. And the difference between being aware of the thought and just thinking is immense. It's enormous...Normally we are so identified with our thoughts and emotions, that we are them. We are the happiness, we are the anger, we are the fear. We have to learn to step back and know our thoughts and emotions are just thoughts and emotions. They're just mental states. They're not solid, they're transparent. One has to know that and then not identify with the knower. One has to know that the knower is not somebody."

And this on renunciation:

"The reason we are not Enlightened is because we are lazy. There's no other reason. We do not bother to bring ourselves back to the present because we're too fascinated by the games the mind is playing. If one genuinely thinks about Renunciation it is not a giving up of external things like money, leaving home or one's family. That's easy. Genuine renunciation is giving up our fond thoughts, all our delight in memories, hopes, daydreams, our mental chatter. To renounce that and stay naked in the present, that is renunciation."

On meditation:

"So often there's a fundamental division between the practice and ourselves. The practice remains outside of ourselves. It's very hard for us Westerners to get out of our heads. We approach meditation from the brain only and so we have duality - the subject and the object. The practice has to come down into the heart, it has to go somewhere deep within us. there there is no subject (me) and object (the meditation). We become the meditation. Then there is a transformation at a very profound level."

All of these insights, from a woman who embodied practice more than anyone I have ever read about - and vowed to obtain Enlightenment - no matter how many lifetimes it took - in the body and soul of a female...

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