Natasha has been practising meditation and Buddhism for 8 years, and is a volunteer at Khedrubje centre.
1) What do you like best about coming to class?
I like that I feel energised when I listen to teachings. From day one, the teachings have resonated with me and I love listening to such perfect advice as much as possible. I always feel inspired to continue training my mind.
2) How would you explain the benefits of meditation to someone new?
The benefits of meditation are immeasurable. Through meditation we experience peace of mind. And through regular meditation we can completely transform our mind so that we experience permanent inner peace. So we can be happy, come what may!
3) Has there been an aspect of Buddhism or meditation that has really struck a chord with you?
Everything about Buddhism and meditation has struck a chord with me and over the years a few things have really made an impact. Like when hearing from Kadam Morten, the Resident Teacher in New York, that we need to give ourselves permission to be happy. Even when things are difficult. I had never computed that you could be happy and still have things go wrong. But I know now from experience that you can, it’s just a decision. Such precious advice. Also the teachings on impermanence are making an impact on me more and more. Everything could change in a sneeze.
4) Has meditation changed your relationships, and if so, how?
I think so. Through my understanding that we are not permanent residents, I realise what a privilege it is to love my family and friends. The more I appreciate people’s kindness, the kinder they are. I think this view has had a beneficial effect on all my relationships. I have also changed my view when relationships are not good and someone has a negative opinion of you – instead of getting upset, I now realise, I don’t need anyone’s approval. Such an energy saver!
5) Do you have a favourite Buddhist teaching?
I love all Buddha’s teachings but in particular, Reliance on a Spiritual Guide. In my favourite book, Great Treasury of Merit, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso explains how with anything, like learning to play an instrument, we need an instructor and so too with training our mind we need someone who is qualified to explain the instructions. Reliance on the Spiritual Guide is so beautiful and is at the heart of all my training.
6) Do you feel that Buddhism has something to offer the world today?
Absolutely. Last Monday night a lady from the Kariong class told me she was Catholic and said she found the meditation and the teaching so beneficial. This is quite common and shows that it doesn’t matter what religion or background people come from, Buddhism provides methods to overcome irritation, anger, anxiety and other painful states of minds. I love that the teachings were given by Buddha Shakyamuni over 2600 years ago and are just as relevant today, as they were then. To me, this indicates the purity of Kadam Dharma.
7) Do you have a favourite quote from one of Geshe Kelsang’s books?
Remain natural whilst changing your aspiration.
8) Have people noticed a difference in you since you started meditating?
Friends and family often say how strong and happy I am. That’s so nice and encouraging.
9) Can you use 3 words to describe the benefits of meditation?
Experience of bliss.