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How to Be Kind to Difficult People



We have so many concepts about others, and sometimes even before we know that person, we’ve already given them this label: “Difficult.” It’s like a big tag they’re wearing whenever we see them. So I think what’s obstructing us from dealing with them is our prejudgments and preconceptions about who they are. We have so many thoughts about them even before we get to know them. In a sense, this may make you less able to deal with a “difficult” person. And actually, if you take a closer look, it may turn out that the difficult person is you.

Whenever we have a biased view, there’s a big problem, right? When we look at someone with a negative view, a negative bias, then we only see this huge, negative quality of this person––nothing positive. When we’re having a difficult time in our relationship with a partner, for example, we begin to see only the negative side. “His desk is always a mess,” “She’s always late,” and things like that. But in reality, that person has both negative and positive qualities. We magnify one side of that person or another at different times. When we’re first falling in love with someone, we only see the positive. We don’t see anything negative about them at all. Isn’t that nice?


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Why Go Kind? Demystifying Kindness

DPR-Article-Image_Why-Go-Kind-Demystifying-KindnessAt the end of a retreat in Malaysia earlier this month, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche spoke about how working with our mind is a way of helping others, how to make kindness a regular practice, and how to overcome the obstacles that prevent us from doing what we can to help.


Getting to know our mind is not only good for enlightenment. It is also helpful in dealing with our relative life.

When we recognize our mind we say, “Oh, my mind is like this.” Then as we deal with various challenges in our life––when confusions or emotions come up––we can recognize, “Oh yes, this is how my mind is. My mind has this tendency toward emotion and confusion. So I have to be careful.” Or, “My mind has this tendency of not paying attention to detail.”

This kind of thing might come up regarding your car key or your house key. Maybe you have a special place for all your keys. Then it is easy to keep that place very clearly in mind, “I put my keys here every day when I come home.” If you have a special place, then every day when you arrive home, you put your car key and your house key in the same spot. When you’re ready to go out again, your keys are right there. It’s a very simple kind of mindfulness, a very simple thing you need to remember to do.

On the other hand, when you don’t do that, you cannot find the key you want. If you’re looking for your car key, you may have to go through your whole clothes closet to find it. Is it in this jacket? No. That jacket? No, it’s not in that one. After all that searching, you still cannot find it and you end up having to borrow another key. A few weeks later you find your keys in a pocket you didn’t check. So much trouble!

So we need to see that even paying a little attention, a few minutes’ attention­­, taking a few minutes to look at our mind, can help us so much in everyday life. Like taking a few seconds to simply take the key out of your pocket and put it on its usual spot on the table where you will be able to find it again.


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Celebrating our Guru’s Birthday!

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Let us come together and celebrate Rinpoche’s birthday!

When: 12 pm, June 24, 2017

Where: Nalandabodhi Centre
174 Spadina Ave, Suite 506
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 2C2 Canada

The celebration will include:

  • Group Practice (such as the “Seven-Line Supplication to Padmakara”)
  • Enjoying a potluck lunch and birthday cake
  • Singing songs of realization and the life-long & enlightened activity
    aspirations for Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche.

We hope to see you there!

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Happy Losar! Aspirations of Love, Gentleness, and Inclusiveness for 2017

NBT members celebrate Losar 2017 at the Toronto centre

NBT members celebrate Losar 2017 at the Toronto centre

On Saturday, March 4, the Toronto Nalandabodhi sangha held our official Losar celebration, the auspicious beginning of the Tibetan Year of the Fire Rooster. As “Losar” means “new year” or “fresh year”, a dedicated sangha member gave our centre a thorough cleaning the evening before to let go of the old and bring in revitalized new beginnings.

The Saturday celebration began with listening to a video message from our precious teacher, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, on how we might apply the symbolism of the fire rooster to our practice for the next 12 months. We reflected on Rinpoche’s emphasis on the paramita of Patience, since the rooster can be a mean kind of fellow, and on how we might increase our practice time which could lead to small awakenings, as symbolized by the rooster’s insistent daily morning crowing to wake us up!  After the video message, we shared other possible meanings of the Fire Rooster. These included the strong fire element aspect to the rooster as symbolized by the phoenix, the bird of rebirth, which parallels the dharma goal of awakening; and the rooster as protector of the hen house, relating to the protection that our confidence in the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha builds in us, helping us towards awakening on our paths of study, meditation, and mindful activity.

We then recited the Nalandabodhi Losar liturgy where we offered supplications, dedications, and took part in tea and saffron rice offerings. We concluded by joyfully singing many sangha songs and making offerings to our precious Nalandabodhi teachers.

Members shared some heartfelt and spontaneous aspirations for our troubled world, with themes that included bodhicitta; a mindful practice of love, peace and inclusiveness; gratitude for the opportunity to awaken; the importance of balancing the serious with lightness of being; more gentleness and calm when faced with aggression or ill will; and to particularly examine and work with our own inner world, our emotional landscape, since the outer and inner worlds are ultimately reflections of each other. We ended with the aspiration for longevity and health for our teacher and our greater Nalandabodhi sangha, as well as our aspiration to successfully establish our Toronto sangha permanent home in order to sustain the auspicious work of the dharma, for the sake of all sentient beings.

Our celebrations were concluded by sharing a delicious vegetarian potluck lunch where we enjoyed each other’s company and conversation.


Tashi Delek!


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Just Pause

We live in an age where, whether we want it or not, we are bombarded with far more information than our minds can process. The flood of information at our fingertips can overload the senses and confuse us with a myriad of emotions. Overwhelmed? Dissatisfied? Conflicted? Check. Check. And well, check.  Most of us share these experiences.  We have all been there and felt the impact of not being able to cope with the demands of our daily lives. In the end, all of us are searching to find something that is genuinely satisfying and makes us happy. If you have ever felt lost in this society, a society that projects mostly unrealistic ideas about how to attain true happiness, rest assured – you are not alone.

Fortunately, pausing in our daily lives can help us to navigate through a culture that is overly focused on how we look, act, work, and study, and allow us to arrive … back at ourselves.

It’s not a quick fix, but by learning to pause, we can gradually turn moments of fear and uncertainty into moments of realization and self-knowing.  Over time, we stop sabotaging ourselves, and we come to face the things that scare us.

Interested in learning more? PAUSE is a free 2.5-hour workshop created to introduce university students to the basics of Meditation and Mindfulness. Participants in this workshop will be introduced to these useful tools, and guided on incorporating them into daily life

Our next session is April 30, 2016 from 1-3:30pm. Please contact pause.nalandabodhi@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP.

Hope to see you there!







The PAUSE facilitation team.

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