Monk: 'Drop the mind'

By Ariel Conn, Idaho State Journal, Aug 24, 2009

POCATELLO, Idaho (USA) -- Just drop the mind. Anam Thubten Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, repeated those four words throughout his meditation lecture Friday night, reminding the audience that nearly all of life's problems are manufactured in our own minds and only by learning to let go can we solve or come to terms with our troubles.

Thubten -- Rinpoche is a title given to certain Buddhist masters -- grew up in Tibet and became a monk at an early age. In the 1990s, he moved to America, where many people requested teachings from him about Buddhism and meditation. He is the founder of the Dharmata Foundation, through which he shares his knowledge with all who seek it.

Thubten came to Pocatello at the request of Lance Perkins. In addition to the meditation lecture, Thubten is leading a meditation retreat over the weekend.

The First Congregational United Church of Christ hosted Thubten's lecture, which he began with three gentle chimes and then 5-10 minutes of silence.

As the crowd sat quietly, Thubten encouraged everyone to contemplate the connection between mind and body. Thubten himself sat with an aura of calm and peace throughout the entire lecture, while a smile frequently played about his eyes and mouth.
Another chime ended the silence, and Thubten began his lecture.
He discussed the problems we all have, joking that even meditators have problems, but they just don't talk about them. He then explained that nearly all of our problems are manufactured in our minds. Whether it's truly an issue we created ourselves or our reaction to an external issue, everything stems from our mind.

A disconnect exists between who we think we are and who we actually are. Our true nature, Thubten said, is one of unconditional happiness, radiant love and compassion to others. However, our ego and negative emotions can prevent us from accessing our true self. The solution, he claimed, is meditation.

Meditation and finding one's true self is unconnected to any particular faith, and it can be practiced by people of all faiths. Meditation is the act of "dropping the mind," or releasing ourselves from the hatred, greed, fear, sorrow and all other limitations we create, Thubten said. When that occurs, the joy and the answers we seek will simply appear.

Thubten referenced a Buddhist parable in which a monk asks the Buddha the way to Nirvana (an enlightened state), and the Buddha responded with "just meditate." There is no secret path to happiness and contentment. There is no special technique to developing an awareness and appreciation for the world around us. The answers and solutions lie within us, Thubten said, and they have been there the whole time.

The only real lesson that Thubten hoped his audience walked away with Friday evening was to realize that all we must do is sit and "drop the mind."