Brief Q&A With This Month's Featured Teacher
How long have you been practicing Buddhism, and what inspired you early on?
Approximately in 2002, at breakfast with my wife Janice in a cafe in downtown Oak Park, I told her that my mind needed help. I said that it was uncontrolled. On a wall of that cafe was a small poster which offered Buddhist meditation on Monday nights [at KMC Chicago]. I went and have never left the meditation center. The teachings touched my mind and heart so deeply that I knew that this was where I needed to be. I was home at last.
How long have you been teaching, and why do you do it?
I began teaching [...] about my 3rd year of practice. In my heart I know that learning Dharma and meditation is the solution to our problems, within our own selves and with others. How can I see the challenges that our world faces and not try in some way to share solutions for those challenges? My first career was as a teacher; perhaps it was a natural fit. In teaching in schools, the teacher offers a solution to a problem of living -- how to survive in the world. Whereas meditation and Dharma provides ultimate happiness. Sharing Dharma, then, is a way of sharing the path to happiness, not just a passing solution to our problem.
What is your favorite Dharma quote?
My favorite quote right now is from the “Request to the Lord of All Lineages” prayer, composed by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:
“The cause of suffering is non-virtuous actions and the cause of happiness is virtuous actions. Since that is completely true I will definitely abandon the first and practice the second.”
In this verse, it is implicitly stated, I believe, the Four Noble Truths of Buddha and the Intermediate Scope of Lamrim (Renunciation). In a few words, Geshe-la gives me a practical solution for creating the causes for my peace of mind in this life and in my future lives.
You can join Rafael on Monday mornings at 7:30am for a guided 30-minute meditation (by livestream).