Imagine a Buddhist monk. Shaven head, brown or maroon robes that drape loosely, serene demeanour. That’s what you thought, right? But in this blog post, we’re going to talk about someone, a Buddhist monk, who not only embodies the traditional aspects but also is actively present on social media and not just that, his Instagram page is bombarded with selfies in his favourite sunglasses and pictures from his workout session in the gym.
Today, we’re going to talk about the monk who sold his Maserati.
And guess what? We got this golden opportunity to meet him in person and incorporate his authentic Buddhist meditations into our app, Level Supermind. We’re pretty sure you’ve tried that out. If you haven’t yet, head over to the Buddhist Beginner’s series now!
His Eminence the 8th Chokyong Palga Rinpoche belongs to the younger generation of Buddhist monastics who’s online presence can be connected to videos of pujas and retreats but also doesn’t shy away from posting memes on his Instagram story.
Also read: What to think during meditation?
But doesn’t social media serve as the biggest distraction to mindfulness? Instead of looking at it superficially, when we dive deeper, we understand that, at the end it’s all about having good intentions and using your social media to benefit others, to spread empathy. And that's what can be attributed to Palga Rinpoche’s online presence.
In his words, “To teach someone what is materialistic, you should know materialism.”
Calling a spade a spade, Palga Rinpoche’s journey is undoubtedly one of the best monk stories you’ll ever come across. He transitioned from being recognized as a reincarnation to becoming a multimillionaire at the age of 26, with a Maserati and a lavish lifestyle, to sleeping on the sidewalks in England when he was extremely poor, only to discover the true meaning of love and happiness and return to monkhood for inner peace.
“When I was in England, I used to have thoughts like being back and the feeling of being in the monastery and at home. But I was kind of trapped. I just sold everything and came back to India. I donated the rest of my money to the monastery. I spent two years in a retreat,” said Rinpoche.
Spirituality and religion are two concepts that are pretty debatable in today’s era. Palga Rinpoche emphasizes that spirituality isn't confined to the realm of religious beliefs. To subside the facade and explain it in one line, Rinpoche once said, “Spirituality can be approached not only by religious people, but by everybody because when it comes to spirituality, you don’t necessarily have to be religious.”
In Rinpoche's words, "If you can tame the mad elephant mind with a rope of mindfulness, visualization and chanting, it can become extremely powerful.
This powerful metaphor underscores the potential of mindfulness in bringing your wandering thoughts on track and promoting mental clarity.
He said that you don’t have to look for happiness anywhere else. To find true happiness, you need to look within yourself. And meditation helps you achieve happiness and contentment. “With meditation, we can control our mind. Similarly, with deep breathing exercises, our thoughts subside and we feel calm. When you focus on your breath, your mind starts to rest,” expressed Rinpoche.
According to Palga Rinpoche, in order to sit comfortably while meditating, you should try the 7 point sitting posture. The steps can be broken down into:
1. Sit in a comfortable posture, try the 7 point sitting posture
2. Keep your legs crossed, hands on your lap, right hand on the top of the left
3. Sit with your back straight.
4. Head should be slightly tilted forward.
5. Eyes should be half shut to avoid falling asleep.
6. Shoulders should be open like a vulture, not scrunched.
7. Mouth should not be completely shut but a little bit open, teeth should have some gap and the tip of tongue should touch the upper palette.
“You can also sit on a chair if you have any medical problems, it’s advisable to sit on the edge of the chair rather than the inner part as it keeps your back straight automatically,” he said.
Rinpoche explained that as a beginner, you can not expect yourself to sit for hours to meditate. When you’re meditating, you’re training the mind. Your mind is not used to sitting, it does not allow you to sit. Physically, you may be sitting but mentally you are everywhere else. You have to make the mind work for you.
Talking about how long you should meditate, he said, "You can meditate for 10-15 minutes or 30 minutes, however long you want. We usually suggest a short duration multiple times. For beginners, it’s like taking up a new sport such as running or weightlifting; you have to slowly get used to it. When you’re learning to play a guitar, your fingers will hurt because you have not formed the calluses needed to play the guitar."
Also read: Is it safe to do Om chanting 108 times?
Now, let’s dive into Palga Rinpoche’s words of wisdom with respect to the most common but crucial problems of our lives:
Talking about the pursuit of happiness, Rinpoche said we mainly tend to have an outward look towards happiness which can ultimately lead to disappointment. When we look within ourselves for happiness and contentment, that’s what gives us permanency and spontaneous happiness.
In a world of attachments and lingering grief, Rinpoche addresses the challenge of letting go. He explains, “Because of our attachments and grief, we can not let go of certain things, especially of trauma, of bad things that happened to us. It may have caused you pain and stopped physically but emotionally and mentally we still don’t let go even though it doesn’t exist, it’s in the past. But because we hold on to it mentally, we can’t let go and that gives us pain everyday.” Letting go becomes a crucial step in healing and embracing the present.
Rude encounters are a part of life, and Rinpoche's wisdom guides us in responding compassionately. He advises, “You have to use your wisdom. You have to be compassionate enough to begin your practice of being patient so that you don’t respond immediately, verbally or physically. Analyze if the person is just being random or they’re coming from a place of reason.” Responding with wisdom and empathy can diffuse conflicts.
Also read: How to do meditation for overthinkers
When circumstances don't align with our plans, Rinpoche suggests persistence and acceptance. He advises, "Don’t just give up immediately. Try your best to look for a solution. But when you know you can’t do anything about it, just let it go.”
Are you a student? Much like Palga Rinpoche's journey of finding balance, students can embark on their journey of finding balance and navigating the challenges of their educational endeavours by reading the top motivational books.
The respected Buddhist master Palga Rinpoche has frequently emphasized the need of mantra chanting for achieving spiritual development and realization.
The importance of mantras in developing compassion, clearing the mind, and summoning divine energies is highlighted in Rinpoche's teachings. And you don’t even have to go anywhere else. Gain life lessons and calm and relax your mind with meditations and sleep stories by Palga Rinpoche only on the meditation app for mind performance, Level Supermind.
Buddhist Beginner’s series: Begin your meditation journey and learn the basics of concentration with the help of your five senses through the calm abiding or Shamatha meditations.
Buddhist Mantras: Cultivate peace of mind and invite peace and vitality into your life with mantras like- Om mani padme hum, Kuber mantra, Vajraguru mantra and Maa Tara by Palga Rinpoche.
Buddhist Visualization series: This 4 step advanced Buddhist meditation series will help you block negativity and attract positivity into your life along with helping you be more focused and connected to your inner self.
Self guided meditation: Looking for unguided meditations? Access Om Mani Padme Hum, Kuber Mantra, Maa Tara Mantra, Mantra for long life and Vajra guru Mantra as per your desired timeframe be it 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 60 minutes respectively.
Sleep meditation: Put an end to tossing and turning all night and sleep like a baby through mantra chanting with the monk who sold his maserati to find inner peace.