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The True Potential of the Mind: A retreat with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

The True Potential of the Mind: A retreat with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

8 & 9 December 2022

THE TRUE POTENTIAL OF THE MIND: Primordial Wisdom in the Age of Scientific and Technological Breakthroughs

Ritinjali and Centre for Escalation of Peace in collaboration with Nalanda Foundation, India International Centre and Pallavan Learning Systems organized a Retreat with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche on the theme ‘THE TRUE POTENTIAL OF THE MIND: Primordial Wisdom in the Age of Scientific and Technological Breakthroughs’. The retreat was held at the India International Centre on 8th and 9th December 2022. The retreat was attended by about 135 participants in-person and 120 online participants from 46 different countries. 

Shyam Saran gave the opening address and thanked the Rinpoche for providing his valuable time and wisdom for this retreat. Shyam Saran noted that Mingyur Rinpoche is a world-renowned meditation teacher who possesses a rare ability to present the ancient Indian and Tibetan wisdom in a fresh, engaging manner. With personal experience of anxiety and panic attacks, which he suffered from throughout his childhood and into his teenage years, Rinpoche learned to transform his panic into a positive force through meditation. It was mentioned that Rinpoche has written many books, including the New York Times Bestseller, The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness.

Mingyur Rinpoche began the retreat by discussing various basic concepts in meditation. Then, reiterating the theme of the retreat, he talked about numerous issues relevant to the times we live in, marked by rapid and complex scientific and technological breakthroughs. Discussing the smartphone, perhaps the most ubiquitous technological gadget today, he noted that it can be a good source of knowledge and communication but can also lead to numerous mental and physical complications. He remarked that smartphones are not inherently good or bad; how we use them and what our intentions are dictate whether they are useful or harmful. 

Rinpoche discussed the concept of the true potential of the mind with his insightful discourse on the process of meditation and mindful practices. With myriad analogies and anecdotes, Rinpoche explained that meditation is an appreciation towards awareness. He explained that our mind is like a butter lamp - Bright and Self Luminous. One can achieve a state of self-luminosity through meditation. Rinpoche also cited that the ancient method of meditation is a recognized method of self-care grounded in scientific evidence. So, allowing oneself to indulge in meditation practices assures an eventual Nirvana, a state of peace and clarity. Rinpoche also guided the audience through several types of meditation practices which included the Breathing Method, Sound Method, Mental Recitation, Sensation Method, and Sleeping Method. 

Rinpoche mentioned that the four important factors in transforming our mind include: Intention (motivation), View (mindset), Meditation (technique), and Application (ongoing habit). Developing the intention and motivation to transform our mind is the first step. Then, we need to inculcate the right view (mindset) or perspective of seeing the nature of reality as it is. Then, we need to know the various techniques of meditation and apply them on a regular basis to master the process. According to Rinpoche, when combined, these four factors can unlock the true potential of our mind. 

Rinpoche mentioned that our mind has three layers/levels – Feeling (emotional level), Concept (intellectual level), and Volition (habitual level). Working on an intellectual level can help us change our view (mindset). Similarly, we can work on the emotional level through meditation and work on the habitual level through regular application. It is important to note that the habitual level resides in the unconscious level and takes the longest to change.

One of the main ideas that came out of the retreat was the recognition that primordial wisdom cannot be taken for granted; instead, primordial knowledge is more significant than ever in this complex, ever-changing world. The need for loving kindness, compassion, and acceptance has never been more important and it can be achieved through proper meditation and mindful exercises.

On both days, Rinpoche answered questions posed by the audience. Many of these questions revolved around specific meditation techniques, mental and emotional wellness, and the relationship between meditation and technology.

Click here to read the report about the retreat.