“Guru Padmasambhava and Buddha Shakyamuni have both said that we should do three things: study, contemplate, and meditate. At first, study and consider the teachings, then contemplate them. To settle the mind, we must first become aware of the obstacles and obscurations that are masking its true nature. Finally, we are ready to meditate.
Meditation is the fruit of study and contemplation. In this context, meditation doesn’t mean merely sitting calmly and focusing the mind on an external object; here we are resting our mind in the true nature. Since the true nature pervades everything both internally and externally, meditating on it clarifies our view and helps us to fully understand both subjective and objective phenomena. The focus in meditation should be on the nature of the mind itself. This will reveal everything.
Meditation on the true nature yields a lucid clarity and profound openness that is very mysterious. Abiding continuously in that state will cause beautiful qualities like compassion and wisdom to arise and shine naturally. At first, thoughts will become less interesting or insistent. As you learn to abide in deep meditation for longer periods, dualistic conceptions will be completely pacified. When you become freely established in the radiance of the primordial nature, thoughts will become like servants. At that point, you will have a greater capacity to take responsibility for your mental events.
Gradually, a great blissfulness will arise. At that time, there will be no more suffering, but only an unshakable equanimity as you merge with the true nature. Once you gain authority over conceptions and the mind, you become more capable of mastering all the other aspects of your life. Every moment becomes workable because you understand the bardo process.
Listening, contemplating, and meditating are known as the “three wisdoms.” Each of these practices is vital to actualizing our buddha-nature and our abilities to benefit others. First, listen carefully and closely to the teachings you receive. This should encourage and inspire you to make a joyful effort. Do not simply collect teachings—look into the implications and contemplate their meaning. Then, apply them to yourself so that what you’ve received does not merely penetrate your ear and brain. Really connect with the meaning behind the instruction, take it into your heart, and reaffirm the truth of each word with your own understanding. That is known as contemplation. By deeply contemplating the teaching, you will naturally actualize the result known as meditation. Meditation will help mature what you’ve learned so that your knowledge is not simply intellectual or conceptual. Results will ripen as you grow. Although all three are indispensable, meditation is the most important.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
The Essential Journey of Life and Death, Vol. 1: Chapter Ten: Bardo of Birth and Life (pgs 93-94)
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