Intention In Practice

What is your intention? Do you know what you want?

Intention In Practice 1 (from Lives 03: Khyungpo Naljor 00:17:58.00 - 00:20:05.00)

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So he got all this teaching, a tremendous amount of teaching and mastered it. But because he didn't listen to that voice, none of the teaching hit the mark. This is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to each of you again and again: what is your intention in your practice? What do you want from the practice? It is so important. Because here's a person who, from the age of 13 to 50, was steeped in this stuff and it still didn't hit the mark. And the only way is for you to be clear about why you're practicing and not listen to all of the reasons why you should be practicing that other people are telling you. You have to come to your own.
When you do come to your own it's extraordinary how similar they are, as we hear Khyungpo Naljor describing. But you have to make them your own, and the only way you do that is by--you can't read about it and say, "Oh yes, that makes sense to me. I'll do that." That's very feeble. That doesn't work. You have to sit down and you think, "Am I doing to die?" Well, the evidence is pretty good. "Do I care about that?" And you may find that you don't. And if you don't care about it, you don't have any basis for practice.

Intention In Practice 2 (from Lives 03: Khyungpo Naljor 00:22:46.00 - 00:26:27.00)

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The point here is, it's not enough to hear it from somebody else. You can take in those teachings, but you've got to think about them, and think about them, and think about them, 'til "Right, I am going to die, and if I die like I am now, I'm not going to feel very good about it. I feel I won't have really done anything meaningful in my life, and I have these questions I haven't answered, and I will die with regret." And that has to become very, very strong.

And the shade and flavor of it is actually a little different for everybody. It can be expressed in general terms, but it really has to become one's own experience and motivation. You can not adopt that as a motivation without having gone through the process of making it your motivation. And you make it your motivation by really thinking about what is important, deeply, deeply important to you in your life. You follow? Ant it's absolutely essential. And then you come to what you want from your practice.

And I ask people this, and sometimes I get different answers and that's fine because each person has their own answer. Some people say, "I want clarity." Okay. And other people say, "I want peace." That's fine. And other people say, "I just want to understand how things are," and that's fine. And one person said, "I just want to feel that I know something before I die," which, if you think about it, it's a pretty profound thing.

So, through that reflection on death, you're going to come to what's important for you. And that's where your intention's going to be, and when you have that intention then you're going to be clear about your practice. And one of the reasons it's very important to do this is that different practices do different things. So you meditate on death and impermanence, that does one thing. You meditate on compassion, that does something else. You meditate on the four immeasurables, that does something. You meditate on insight, that does something. Each of these practices has a different intention.

What Khyungpo Naljor did for the first part of his life, like the first 40 years of it, his spiritual life, was to engage in practices that did not touch his own intention in practice. He had such extraordinary abilities that he mastered them anyway, but because they did not touch his intention, he never fulfilled his intention.