Buddhist lama presents students with methods to find inner peace

by Madison Kurvers, Iowa State Daily, March 5, 2014

Iowa, USA -- Rinpoche said that the key ideas to finding inner peace with Buddhism are wisdom and compassion. He said understanding one's surroundings in a positive point of view and compassion is how a person should carry out their actions.

Arjia Rinpoche, director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Indiana, spoke to students March 4 about finding inner peace. Rinpoche is also a Buddhist lama, which is a title for a teacher of Buddhist actions.

He said that hardships throughout his life guided Rinpoche to inner peace.

He spent 16 years being forced to work in a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution, a Chinese political movement to enforce communism that started in 1966.

After his release, Rinpoche was reinstated as a leader of the Buddhist monastery and held a prominent government position. In 1998, he was about to become a leader of the Chinese National Buddhist Association but chose to escape China to go to the United States.

State of mind also plays a large role in finding inner peace.

Rinpoche said that there are three states of mind: Happy, unhappy and apathy. He said that one can change their state of mind by trying to understand and relax.

“Instead of greed, we can share generosity," Rinpoche said. "Instead of having hate or jealousy for someone, we can share kindness. Instead of being ignorant, we can try and understand them. If we change how we think, we have the ability to change our unhappy state of mind."

Relaxation is an effective way to achieve a happy state, which is key in finding inner peace.

“The best way to relax is through meditation," Rinpoche said.

Everyone who attended the lecture participated in a 10-minute mediation exercise led by Rinpoche.

“We must relax our mind then our body will relax. Once our body is relaxed, then the people around us will relax and so on. The same goes for peace — it starts from the mind and, from there, spreads to the world,” Rinpoche said.

Many students thought the meditation experience was something that they can use for their everyday lives.

“I think meditation is very important,” said Connor Bright, junior in psychology, who is also Buddhist. “A lot of people these days lack relaxation, [and] they don’t know how to calm down. As a psychology major, I have noticed that the anxiety in our culture is really overwhelming. Sometimes they have no idea where it comes from, and it's nice when you can use meditation to help calm down."

Some students realized how meditation can help with the pressures of the typically hectic, college life.

“If I’m stressed with design, I will remember that I can relax through meditation,” said Leah Zeller, freshman in design.

Rinpoche said meditation isn’t restricted by religion and that anyone can find inner peace.

“Inner peace has nothing to do with your religion or ideology," Rinpoche said. "Our mind has to be relaxed, then students can study more and focus easier. We always struggle with all the things we do in life, and sometimes we are doing it right and sometimes wrong. But when we have inner peace, we can calm down and focus on what’s important."

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