« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#110: Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, 'The Lost Art of Good Conversation'

2017-11-28
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and Shambhala International, has a new book out called, "The Lost Art of Good Conversation: A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life" -- poignant for this time of deep divisions in the U.S. and abroad. Born in Bodhagaya, India but bought up in the West, Sakyong Mipham who talks about how conversation is powerful because it begins with recognizing that "there's another person" with you, and he says, as a married father of three, getting frustrated with your kids is just "part of the path."
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey guys quick note: all new episodes of ten percent happier are now available on the tunisian APP new episode will be released every Friday on tuna that five days early just for tuna. Listener, so download the apt day and check out for free for maybe see Is it the ten percent happier vodka and take out this but all sack young jammed on me farmer in Crochet Eileen think that's the full title. People call him sack on me palm just just for short, as if that were not a mouthful as well fascinating. Guy he's got a new book out called the lost art of good conversation, which I think we can all, Greece is really important at this time of deep deep did incidentally, in the United States, but around the around the planet. He, is the head of the Bala Buddhist lineage symbolic,
International, which is a network of local medical. These centres, all over the world he's based in boulder Morocco. They also have a big centre up in in NAM in Halifax. Nova, Scotia And- and we know that many of the major cities of North America, the really interesting group, his dad founded it. and his dad we ve talked about his pack has in the past shoguns trunk, Berwin Crochet was, the controversial guy, widely widely respected variant seen as a really smart. your great writer, but also. Europe's role in some ways that here as discussed in second ME palm, is his son and his really kind of or pursue two different style, and so on talk about with him. I will say you'll hear us talk like this. I was I was part of the book launcher. They invite me very kindly to say a few words on stage at the book launch and
deal out swearing, which probably wasn't the best idea so you'll hear him gently chide me for that so here we go second on well. Thank you for doing this material. always ass. The first question, which the same question, which it: how did you get into meditation? I think your answers can be very Well, I guess I was born into it. So if you believe in car mine ass, I was I chose to be here soon speak. But, yes, I was born into this tradition in this life in this way of living. So your Other then tell us about your your dad. What my father, the venerable, showed him Let me was a pre eminent lama and spiritual leader in Tibet, and then he escaped to better nineteen fifty nine, and then he proceeded to Oxford Universe. and he studied there and he studied philosophy and privileges.
He was one of the last of the great masters train masters actually in Tibet, and then he, basically, you know, wondered know how to take their tradition and afford him. Then he basically began to teach in the West first in England and then eventually in the United States, no begin to teach meditation and he's really known as being so they're. One of the most you know for father was a preeminent people to bring Buddhism to the west and meditation mindfulness
his activity, sir, and then you know he established a sort of the Cotonou, the lineage shambolic, which we have the cinders now and establishing european diversity, which in boulder in both the Colorado which is still there and driving and from so doing anything it continued to teach and so that sort of high common story. So I would far from being an expert on your dad choked him drunk Bertrand. Pushing barely pronounces now say something about my expertise, but I've. I've read a little bit about him and from him
Interviewed many of his followers and am quite close with some people, were you know early it followers of his view. As I know a little bit by bit based on the little, I know you guys are pretty different. Amid this guy, your dad was known for cynical, crazy wisdom. He pretty heavy drinker. There was some stuff about him. You know with his relationship to some, followers being an intimate than widespread. You seems not that way at all. I would ever have wise, but not crazy, and so we'll get you to talk to me a little bit about the difference is and whether your style is it reaction to his. Just two different people. That's one of the things about lineage or, however, you want to think about it. I mean, I think he was sort of in many was reflecting of the time in terms of what's happening in the late 60s.
unease- and you know, I think also he did hold this tradition of gesture of taking spirituality and trying to relieve practice in in everyday life and ass for myself, it's been you know or organic journey, and I think, as you know, it's like how do continue something anything he he had to be a very bold and he had to be very kind of daring in many ways to come into his culture end. He assimilated and you're gonna culture was there really serve hippies in any kind of energy that is going on, and so I think it was who he was and also probably isn't gonna be here
in part of the teaching is really trying to understand the culture in and then from myself. It's you know, I've never sort of been in mine, said mindset, you can say it in a surly, compare myself to him, but rather just taking the essence of the transmission that I received from him and continuing that for So I don't know if that's a compliment. so the design, hadn t competitiveness terms. So you said you were born. Into it. How early did you start getting meditation instructions, spiritual education, Wendell, start where was born in India in Bulgaria, which is the place for the Buddhas enlightenment and my mother, who was also from Tibetan and was trained and a nun and in practice,
They say I was grow, in India during that period were all the tibetan refugees, and so we are establishing communities and honest isn't things like that sign and were very young? You know being in ceremonies, impose and things like that who just meaning prayer ceremonies ceremonies, yes and in withers chanting and interests of some of the usual deeper meditations and things like tat, so that was part of just my upbringing and then, when I join my Father in Scotland Ashley S when I joined him so before he came to the: U S for convenience states. He came back over to India and then basically want me to come with him and he said especially
Your training to start how old were you that I was about eight ok, others very early yet, and so then I would say that sort of my own accord and soldiers. You know my under one biomes of possibility. I was probably on twelve, where I had a regular meditation brightness, and I did that daily, twelve of asthma, yellow and ends at what point did you know?
This is this is where we do in my life. Why think? Pretty early on? Even my mother tell stories of myself like wanting to immediately go the monastery and be in the ceremonies- and I remember very much like having attendance in is not just because I think I was the son of my Father. I had personal sir drawn would say: man does not necessarily true just because you're to burden or whatever may be at his for individual. So that was something that I've always had you. If my father was a unit, should do some of the things that I think he was happy that I was always hitting a bargain was also like. You need to make up your mind about this. There was always it was. Never pressure from the point of view we did do any regular kid stuff, reliving games, come books and movies or were you'd like all about Buddhism. Now I mean I did other things I played sports. You know that was something that I lean joy and enormously the culture in terms of movies it
and so I say Milady Norman. I was his normal. You can be with my background and serve that something that's been obviously a kind of a lifelong journey. I would say a kind of balancing the whole situation through being, but of a bridge. From that point of view, culturally and and the spiritual and so forth, did you live with your dad? The whole. Your whole childhood, or were you around for the? I would I don't know again. I don't know all these tree, but I believe he had two operations and boulder and then I'll also in Halifax Nova Scotia I'm fall over all of that because I know at some point he did and I think that That was with my mother in India and then, when I was in England. united States. I was with him, and you know he yelled with him I do not mean I still attended, serve somebody teachings.
Then I think, as I got older in, I was with him work as you want me to a ten, more meditations and what was happening at a time. So I was basically there Through that process in the initially went to Bolder- and he did must have his serve teaching from that as a base and then later it was Halifax nervous I did this December. The turmoil over his library terms are the right word with that. Did that impact you in any way? Of course I mean in terms of myself following. I think there is a lot of when he passed away those lot of grief and there was a lot of holes in people's eyes and also, I think, having a sense of continuity and having simply lineage and I responsibility. I was very young when I, when he passed away, how old were you? I was twenty two okay, and so you know what he kind of said. I think you know you're going to have to I've done what I can and you can have to do the rest here, and so he was you know. Kind of trying to
it's a lot. It is, and then, after that I actually went one of the great serve teachers, his own, distinguishing the room. She who was one of the great masters of that. These days, but Tom he was almost later grandfather figure. He actually knew my father too bad. He trained him too. He later in obviously taught the Dalai Lama and many important teachers, and so he basically did them cremation rights and economic bad, and then you know he said now. You need to come with me. We need to do some further training. So then I left you s and then I went and live with him after that for many years and the consumer training back in India when Euro or I have heard of guilt, dildo cats, IRAN, pusher me he's in the desert documentary by your dad's life.
It's called crazy wisdom and you see the footage of of this great master presiding over the funeral ceremony, and I had heard tell of him even before I saw the documentary, but what a great teacher he was was you who each when you went lived with him was that light we your was it all day, every day meditation, what specific kinds of meditation were you doing it was? It was pretty much So even when there is breaks there was something else going on. So he was a pre eminent scholar and meditated, and he really was really the teacher of teachers and also incredibly just sort of kind and one person but it was excellent. Conversationalist get that he was. He was basically you know very kind of human dignity, I had a lot of deeps of love for some kind of the human connection,
and so usually here we know those annual practices. His teachings and was reading transmissions empower going on and so this is at a monastery in Nepal and then he would be invited to various places in Teach citing he very much took it felt, was responsibility to continue. In fact, he said you know he and my father had a kind of an agreement of what training was incomplete. He would finish, saw that sort of was so felt very on hold and protected in their way by fortune. It won't you your now at that out of this church umbrella tradition? What would you say the core mission and message is of shambolic. The main, I think, is what we call sort of establishing in line society, and I think that one of the sort of assent
elements is really living the spirituality or living the meditation or living there. In one of the main messages I would say, or the way the inspiration comes about is regarding humanity to be basically good, so there's a sense of issuing regarding the person to be good and approaching life from the point of view of goodness in a kind of deep level and in I think the other real aspect is how to live with some kind of bravery, which we call our sense of warriors ship, so the non nonaggression wiser, but actually living within the challenge of what is happening and it serve drawn from that warrior spirit of of how to actually engaged, as opposed to maybe you run away or try to hide from its it's trying to bring that element into it.
So that's part of the inspiration for tomorrow, so they break those down visit to very interesting things. The first is that you're, the essential view is that people are basically good people, because we don't live in a time in this country, where I think people think that of their fellow countrymen and. We are incredibly divided. We wish How do you and still this message that you're talking about now that actually no human beings are basically good? Where I mean, I think, when we talk of others that doesn't a kind of immediate rash, and I think we all feel like people get better. So if you're not gonna hear anything, we have that kind of ten, This, I think, is a very challenging statement and end of you,
and one of the things that I was reflect on. Is that there was a sort of the lass viewer inspiration. Wisdom. Have you would think about that? My father passed me and He really experience of the escaping from Tibet, I've he experience or of the first of humanity in many ways, so it is coming from somebody who really experienced tragedy, laws on incredible violence, and then his promote was if humanity's gonna go forward. We have to be able to respect the person they think. Good here is not necessarily good versus bad, but there's some kind of humanity is complete halt. Whole there's, an there's is innate sense of each person
The prerogative of having some kind of basing dignity, so I don't think it's it's necessarily moralistic, is more looking at the human being is not faltered war. There is in no sense of guilt riding over, but there's some kind of an innate healthiness or some kind of sanity there. And how are you got? How are you going to begin to approach you're on your own mind and others and are even later. so I think part of the journey is. Can you relate to yourself that way? How do you like yourself? Do you realize how as basically good or not or complete, or is it a u fundamentally at fault and then the whole world? It faults. I think it's on the one hand, looking at it from mom Sir, about a holistic point of view. I said I was gonna break down and talk about both sides of it. But I am now looking at the clock and realizing have a whole day of retreat to get too, and we haven't yet even gotten to your book, so
pending that invite your back at a later time to talk about warrior ship, because it is very important in the way you define it, but you have this new book. The last part of good conversation, mindful way to connect with others and enrich everyday life. Why this book Why now, where one of the things you know as a meditative another practitioner I felt like that- is a lot of interest these days and to me part of that is where aware that a lot of reasons for that is people's skills.
an overwhelming now. Instead to me, there was never a disconnect from meditation in society, and one of the things that I felt like was then actually a lot of pain and an end dissatisfaction. People feeling is often whither interpersonal relationships in terms of how they relate to others, had willing to the world so bringing the theme of gesture of how will relate to ourselves and meditation, transit friendliness and paying attention and care, and just a sense of your own present and dignity when you, when you're meditate, that can actually be applied in a very simple way to daily activities, This conversation is, is one of those activities that we all do and sows like. How can we, and especially this time, but if those actors in a heartfelt come communication and basic human communication is, is breaking down and seems like ours, we want our alarm technology there's more communication when hint
time. There seems to be more disconnected some kind of human level. Some This version was very much like, let's served to encourage the human connectivity, regardless of whatever you know view you have of life. We all connected at national level. And to me you know, I mean conversation and that human connectivity is simple. But if you just multiply how many little conversations we're having around the world its millions and billions and that's just having an effect on our basic atmosphere, terms of how we will guard each other people, often when you're having conversation. Partly issues, do actually just you know
You actually acknowledge the other person in whole that kind of space, and so it's I think it's time were we're all challenge, and it comes back the sense of know. How do we ve learned somebody else and we respect them soon. I think, is a very powerful one time that way. So, let's get practical air, your watch it, the Chapelle, show your that is which they have chapels, polio eradication. Chapelle show Ipod I firmly believes that money is to be shown. History, television dish Bell most brilliant median in modern, modern times my view again. He has this little get in it. Where he's at dinner, and some guy comes up and interrupt his dinner with his wife and starts pitching among on some idea and you see, there's listen. Sensibly. Listening to this person is interrupted dinner, but they have stopped bubbles, for his head. All these random things are coming up in the thought I was like. Somebody at a wine achieves party beating somebody effort for not telling him about that you're gonna, be in David bells dancing.
Anna Sheep outfit it very far, the heart is an example of how we we we get lost in the middle of conversations were with other people all the time. I think it's universally reliable than this. common on. How do you deal with that? Let's you start there as a meditation teacher master leader of this tradition. What do you say to people say like sometimes I just can't stay focused on another human being, right in front of me. Waiting conversation is allowing for I mean it very basic ways from logistic knowledge, acknowledging does another person living in the world. So often it's about us and what we think of the other part, serving as a moment where it's actually serve can either acknowledge somebody or not and there's a moment where we can serve just say: oh there's, no, it's it's almost take of do. We have the consciences to see
What's going on with them, so there's a moment, I feel like just sort of them being present. In that moment: it's not always having read answer or Missis, those thoughts tonight. It's bad, we all have them, thinking of other things, but in them hinges be there for that person in that way so it's almost like respecting the basic human connectivity and it, and I think it doesn't have to be long issues being than their moment. What are you, what are the basic skills that you would recommend? We all work to train in order to get bad better at this hour of good conversation, curiosity and an end to patients, I think just being curious that there's somebody else there and often what happens. We have is very real
conversations or becomes very superficial, and so it's like this is actually not only just sort of em shadowing our own life. There's somebody else's life. So there's a quality of. How can we actually. because I feel part of the conversation is, it can be an enriching experience or can be survey shallow experience, and a lot of that is just sort of how we approach it. and you know I think, just holding our mind therefore serve just going to our usual routine is being there for the moment in the setting of patients, because if you if you are approaching the conversation assuming you know it's going to be said. You ve dulled all of your faculties, going into the thing as opposed to being curious and hearing something that The interesting, exactly, I think, is largely with feeling just being anemone just relies easily as soon as you begin to project the conversations we're not going where were kind of in our own thought bubble in
so when I really coming we're, not learning anyone are growing and I feel like- it's on, like every conversation has to be that way. But if, if life becomes a sense of just everything becomes very dulled, then begins to affect our own energy relationship. We no longer we're partners of Mary and or whatever may be. The world becomes very grave. From that point of view- and I think you know there is a lot- was under a lot of. You know, I'm sure of one, and I think, for most of us will remember. Small conversations have changed our life or their day. We ve also recognise conversation where we were not seen and we wish to have disempowered and ineffective or summer day. So it's like. We have a lot of power in that little moment, That happens to you, even though, even with your, where, when and where work cut, what context can that happen to you?
I think a lot of times is that people, as is you prevailing Smith, come with a particular agenda and they want to get something, and I think that I will say no internal ago. a spiritual tradition is a lot of us just connecting, even if your territory, human being so. Average is connected with served. Monday in quality of life, as opposed to every conversation, has to be deep. You can disconnect on some but you and I have a family man. You ve got three kids, I believe, and we both have to euros at home. and wives. Conversation with a difficult at that difficult baseline ever with the earth spouses. Always you know not always that can sometimes be. Tricky Well, how do you manage those? But when I told my wife- and I was writing a book in conversation, He laughed because I think
she's about our conversation, less right and and also sometimes I'm just quiet? so I'm sitting there and she wants to talk- and you know I have kind of a section is like you know when she going to get to the point, You know that an end I realize you realize light. You know I was with her one of the things I realize it was especially when we first come and just like this is not that's not have to have a point, it's just being. There and this is of the obviously, and also this comes he's not going to end this is gonna be going home and you know once I relaxing realise. Oh, this is just you know. I have to be The human being is opposing there's a lecture, something going on inserting that was an interesting thing and I think the way that she just enjoys you know talking and in being there is she western or two, then she's threaten of it. but really it matters not discouraged and what about conflict with your kids Hetty measures conversationally, where
one of the main things is that you have to oversee, treat them, as is a human being. It's like what what are they experiencing and so I think, when you slow down and try to see what going on and also have to be better. You know a guide in terms of how they navigate what's going on. So what word used? What were you dont use how to bring in how to bring despite being there were the meeting a lot of it adjusts prevailing space for them forever lose your temper. I of course really went again. Now in terms of getting your did in. These latter should not saying like turning Sheriff Brighton, verbal and screaming at them, but we ever once in a while. You know maybe find that you're angry. I would say that as part of the path part of the path right. not to deny that you have these emotions and the first, but not at all, and I think you know you're tired orders. There's things going
answer. There's just working well, what's happening is opposed to preventing is not happening. Last night you had your book lunch Party in New York. I believe you ve been doing them in Boulder New York in Toronto and part of the event, was you ve. Ladrone reserves are also, in the shambolic tradition, logos, a great teacher, her base to New York City and also a previous guest on this package. He brought up a group of varying people to die of a series of people to talk about, precision, and I went first because I had to get home to put my kid. bed and- and I did what I usually do, which is. I used a lot of profanity and harm the questions, and then I realized deserts working out that when I had been Lee, hey through your book Today, we all use for abandoning the my trouble that I run a photo of your rule. This give it given to me straight knows it was called
why I think it's it's like when I was watching what you're doing we were talking about your own expense she comes in like what's happening in your mind in terms of meditation and then how it's helped you. So I thought that was way off. One trim so cuz, you know, I think you will have those kinds of them but gives in their head alike, and restrict myself there a lot of them, your point about profanity is, is don't you don't use it in war? what am I guess, what I'm drawing from what you're saying now, and am you maybe just try and be careful not to criticise man, my own show, which, by the way, you shouldn't we're, But I like people, but I'm kind of taking from what you just said, that it's ok, We can but your own experience and your own inner monologue and it may be a little dirty at times, but it's the casual use of profanity. maybe to run down another human being or to complain that is that more corrosive
yeah, I guess in the context of what being self Devil in terms of what's going on with you and can be seen as a sign of. humbleness and also of truth, and I also I mean- I think, one of the basic things with the conversation is what you doing you have power over your speed. You have power of how you gonna, communicate and say you can either Lift somebody and push them down, and so what is profanity or slight, even if it's not using profanity just rude tone is like is that is out of your view on life, Trying to push people down and on the one hand it's like, you know what is going to result in a lot of things that we say or do or going to come back and maybe they're later so it's there is a moment of. We do have a choice and
become very serve of acceptable that we deserve criticise each other. On the one hand, is like this: a critique and there's a different wages. Actually you know harming somebody and end, even if it's very slight, you begin sat up in an especially young people, Ukraine native mental energies. Where do you see, are not kept stays with you. The Buddhist will call this karma yes a night. I think it's almost like these vapours or in the atmosphere and an end in there just sort of sitting there. Since, on the one hand, because you can't see words- things not physical address this matter, what I say, but it does, it has more effect and I think it begins it begins to affect you observe their energies in you. You think about it. You say to somebody else, often when you said her somebody somebody's upset if somebody else's Liu, creating a chain, and is that what I want to do with us, which window go ahead, that if, if you don't hear, is now d,
and then also, I think, somebody's mixing it up. So, if you find yourself critiquing a lot, then add a compliment or try to uplift situation. Sometimes if you're towards self deprecating, you don't try to be home, were honest or expression sources amassing is not so much just being good in the convention way, but is essentially using speech, and you know appropriately it such an area at such a time- the area in which to apply mindfulness, because it's it's not just you with your eyes, closed on the cushion you're into Europe relating than another human being? Is all these habits and and kick in these subconscious judgments and patterns they get triggered eighties are really tricky area in which to apply mindfulness. What would you think about your thoughts? What are most you thought to me, there either other about your somebody else and even if their about you that a lot of times what other people think of you has certain media,
the society already on your head, so you're having their informal conversation and then now you're having their conversation physically with somebody else. And so I think that's one of the things that we have the opportunity to influence in many ways like our speech or how we relate so no one had. It is challenging and is difficult, but I think we do have that opportunity and people navigated, and That is one of the main thing with mindfulness. Is that if your present you're able to determine and have some influence in the future, so how you think and behave now begins to effect what you gonna go forward if you're just a reactionary mode and you're not initiating something then you're gonna be living in that room, misguided environment in the future, so its living with intention or integrity have, you will think
I think my sister is like a river. It's a force in your participating in Austin thing is like riding a horse, that's running away and you're trying to serve gang control, but the control doesn't have to be forceful, but it can be more centered. I'm going to make this the last question, because I'm worried about making you late. Why is this so important? Who you know in this era in which there are so many ways that we can express ourselves on the internet face to face at a protest in conversation. Why is this subject in your view, so important and and what and what can we do to be on the right side. I think more than ever I now it's it's in a were humane, you're how we're going for it. I think there's a lot of them in our fears,
The hopelessness is wondering were where we're going and I think, there's a lot of feeling powerless, but I think with how we relate to one other point and we do have some influence and even though we may not get the right reaction, we have a way of actually to shifting the energy of the world. So I believe that one conversation one person can can add up and can actually begin to shift as simple as it is because many ways when you have them moment of interaction it your ethics, it's how you view is how you got somebody else? It's going off respect so right now. I think all those things are being challenged. People alike What are the issues are going around the world? Are people are not seeing the basic dignity or people not acknowledge, so can't we can actually be brave and actually begin to acknowledge somebody in a very simple way,
and had begins, have a chain reaction. So I think a lot of a lot of the issues of violence. One of the issues that are going on now is this are of fundamental disconnect and I feel, like you know, good hearted human can activities is essential and we have so much technology, but that's essential for building the future. Yes, oh issues like the core and correct me: if I'm wrong is I'm usually wrong, core of what you are saying is that the first and most important thing you can do in conversation is actually recognise that you're talking to another human, right now that there's somebody matters in the universe outside of you and That smooth is the first step towards creating a discuss animal. grandiose but a better world. I agree I mean, I think it's basically
In tat moment I mean I consider it a leg. Hello is like a human empowerment. It's just like there's a moment of openness. Nobody says hello close up is low- and so you have the moment- is that space we acknowledge that the human being and that that humanity, human, you know where your child being born, is a profound expenses wall existing we're leaving on it. Thing in the very basic level, we're all here wondering what's going to happen in a moment, it actually knowledge in that situation and its prime or simple, and you can easily get serve buried in complicated and feel, like that's happening, really in every conversations languages being born translation that I'm making up on the spot for hello, a proper hello might be. I see you see exactly good to be seen good to see you. Thank you very much for coming and really pushing congratulations on an alternating,
so that does it for another edition of the ten percent happier podcast. Please take a minute to leave us a rating and a review, and if you want to suggest TAT, x or guest, for the show just hit me up on Twitter at Danby Harris Special them. to learn Efron go hand in the rescue team here ABC who helped make this thing possible and remember, were now on tuna, and you can hear our new episodes there five days early on Fridays, the end of this year. Thank you for listening, attacked you next week There's not a person in Amerika who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona. I was pandemic, but it every community there are pockets of people who were soon.
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