Taming the Drunken Elephant


This teaching by Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche is called Taming the Drunken Elephant, or how to gain control of the Mind with meditation. The teaching refers to the image below, showing the nine stages of progress towards englightment as symbolized by the elephant (click to englarge the image).

Covering Buddhist awareness and how to proceed from dullness of mind to clarity, the purpose of meditation is to enhance concentration and cultivate your positive emotions.

Cultivate positive emotions with four immeasurables: loving kindness, compassion, equanimity, and sympathetic joy.

Loving kindness and compassion, when it does not exclude any sentient being, expands to become immeasurable. Compassion progresses to “venturing” bodhicitta for the enlightenment of all beings.

You can bring the monkey mind of your conscious thoughts under control by channelizing your meditative awareness, through effort. This is a positive channel of calming meditation. Instead of trying to stop all the monkey mind thoughts from arising, you train your mind to focus on something. That is the samatha meditation according to Kamalashila tradition or the instructions of Shanti Deva.

On the cushion, you need to achieve calm abiding samatha first, then set an environment for the mind. Like a lamp provides shelter for the flame inside. The samatha mind comes first, then vipasana, the [analytical] meditation can be pursued like a glowing light of wisdom within. The practitioner then applies effort to vipasana and this leads eventually to direct insight [praj├▒a].

47 min.

Recorded by Lex Berman at Brookline Public Library, 19 April 2008.

Opening samples are from Syberiade guitar, Messer Chups and Ringing the Bell, Bongeung Sa, Gongnam, Seoul, South Korea

Published, with permission, by Diamond Bay Radio. Dharma Series:002