So, I am going to get personal quickly. I am going to go straight to the point.   I like to do it this way.  It is a good style.

Alright, so, I grew up in a monastery.  I was already in India when I was sixteen months old.  I was already going through the tests of whether I was the reincarnation or not. I started my official studies in the monastery when I was six.

Before that, I went to Kopan.  Then, I went to Switzerland.  Then, when I turned six, I went straight to Sera in the south of India.  It is a big monastery. About six or seven thousand Tibetan monks live and study there. 

So, yeah,  I started studying at a very young age. I studied Buddhist philosophy a lot.  That did not make much sense to me at that time. I was just being fed, you know. I was just eating and grazing what I was being fed. It only started to make sense when I left the monastery.

Being in the monastery was a beautiful concept.  Although it was very nice conceptually, it did not make sense. I did not understand what samsara was. What is samsara when you are a kid? When you are a kid, you do not think about these concepts.  I hope you understand. 

Like, grown-ups suffer so much mentally. Why do they do that? What is up with grownups? Why do they get so worried and this and that? Do you know? When I was a kid, none of that mattered to me. I just studied intellectual concepts. It was just labels. It was just ideas. It was just interpretations. It was just information.

None of it made sense until I left the monastery. Then, I had no choice but to adapt. Dharma and philosophy helped me. Without that, I really would have suffered a lot.

So, that is my experience. While I was studying it, The Dharma did not make much sense. It was just an unbelievably beautiful concept.

So, I think there are two sides. It is not only the studies that count. It is, also, how you put it in to practice. It is a lifestyle.  It is an attitude.   It is not just a belief. It is not just a habit. It is not just doing a couple of prayers every day. It is not just sitting down, closing your eyes, and acting like you are meditating. Instead, you are thinking about tomorrow and thinking about yesterday

It is very good to receive teachings.  It is very good to read. It is very good to do prostrations.  It is very good to do water bowls.   All of this is complementary to the warm heart but it does not mean you can just bypass,

One of my main concerns is that many times we just bypass. You know. We do not want to confront ourselves very much. We do not want to recognize our mistakes.   We do not want to recognize our issues. Maybe it is too painful to recognize them.  Maybe it is too painful to go back, to confront our fears.

So, what do we do? We take refuge in something. We just bypass those issues completely.  We can take refuge in many different things in life.  You know. It can be alcohol.  It can be finances. It can be a spiritual kind of taking refuge in spirituality. Or, you can take refuge in your partner.   Or, you can take refuge in an idealization of a happy life that can never happen. If that is the kind of refuge you take, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You are projecting.  You are creating a reality that does not exist. You are idealizing life. My advice is that when you expect something, expect to be disappointed.

So, you have to be able to confront yourself before you take refuge in anything. Otherwise, you are just bypassing it. Then, you can be practicing Dharma or whatever it is that you take refuge in for thirty years. Afterward,  you will not be just as lost but you might be even more lost than before you started.

Suddenly, “Oh! What is happening? Why am I no better?”

From this issue that I have, I know that this is the issue that you have, too.   People do not look at themselves.  You know, it is much easier to look at others. It is much easier to judge others then it is to criticize ourselves.

To look at ourselves, to judge ourselves, that is much more difficult. So, judging and criticizing others is a way to avoid judging and criticizing ourselves

There is a saying that I enjoy. It is not the case always. It is my idealization of friendship. It is, “A real friend criticizes you in your face and talks good about you behind you back.”

Right?  So that is a real friend.

It does not always happen that way, but I try to be your friend. I try even though many people end up disliking me a bit, sometimes. You know. They do not like to hear those things. Sometimes, it is important, you know, because the only people who can help you are our friends. How are you supposed to see these aspects of yourself if there is nobody there to show them to you? I hope you understand.

That is why I think, sometimes, it is much more difficult to have a householder life than it is to be meditating in a cave alone. From my point of view, if you put your, “Practice,” into the life of a householder, you advance much faster as a householder than if you are sitting in a cave

For 20-years meditating you know it is very easy to say, “Oh, yeah, I have a lot of patience.” Hey! Wait until you are put into the middle of a family. You have to take care of your children.   You have to take care of your mother.  Not only do you have to take care of your mother but you have to take care of the mother of the mother.  Dadada and on and on.

You know, then, in comparison, it is quite easy to sit in a cave. Maybe you need patience with listening to the drip of the water.  Maybe you need patience with the humidity.  Or, you may need patience when your bones are cracking.  Or, maybe you need patience when your back is hurting. So, for that, you need patience but it is a different type of patience.

Ultimately, the patience you are practicing is with yourself. You have to have patience with yourself.  It is very easy to blame others. “I lost patience with such and such a person”. People say this. The fact is,  you lost patience with yourself. That is something for which you have to take responsibility in your own life. It is extremely easy to blame others. It is amazingly easy to blame others just so that you do not have to take responsibility. However, we are responsible.

Some people say, “Oh, it is destiny.  Everything has already been programmed. Everything has already been designed. So, I have no choice.” That is quite easy to say. That is common. When you say like that, you are not taking responsibility for yourself.

We are responsible for our karma. We are responsible, you know.

What belongs to us?

People say, “This is my car.”

“These are my clothes”.

“This is my house.”

“This is my body.”

Right? So, if they were yours, nobody could steal them from you. Nobody could take them away from you.

You know that feeling, “My car!” Then, you go out the next day.  Suddenly, there is no more car. It is gone.

“Oh, what happened to my car? Where is my car?

Well, somebody else is using it, now. Now, it is their car!

“So, what happened to my car?”

If it was your car, how can they steal it from you? Right? It must be borrowed.

Somehow, it is just like this body. I mean, this body is originally stardust. Most of this body was created in a star. It will become worm food, eventually. So, it is just a process of transformation. It is a process.

So, there is no need to get attached to things.  The attachment comes from a fear of losing something.   Most of the time, what we fear losing is not even ours.   It is just a grasping concept. It happens because we are not living the moment. We are not present. So, as long as you are not here, you are going to be unsatisfied. As long as you are not present, you are going to be unsatisfied.  As long as you are not living the moment, you are going to be unsatisfied. That is going to create suffering. If your motivation is egoist, and selfish and self-centered, the result will be suffering. That is a universal law. It is not just Buddhism that tells you this.  It is not just Dharma that tells you this.

You must be realistic. You must not be pessimistic.

If you value more the positive side of life, that is what will prevail. Negative things and mistakes should be used to learn.  They should be used to advance not to bring you down ok? I think you understand.  So, prepare for the worst but expect the best.


  1. Stephie Brennan

    Incisive and accessible to anyone. Thank you for being personal, Lama Osel, and sharing from that so that we can all learn.

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