La Gug literally translates as “Vitality Retrieval.” For centuries, Tibetan Buddhism has perfected meditations which help you restore your vitality — also known as life force, Chi or Prana. Even modern medicine recognizes the healing power of meditation. Restoring vitality is one of the keys to good health and a long life, according to Tibetan medicine.
In part 1 of a video series on “La Gug: Life Force Retrieval”, Venerable Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche highlights the symptoms that may indicate your life-force is weakened. In Part 2, next week, Rinpoche explains “how to prevent the loss of La or life force” for a healthier life. In the remaining videos in the series, Rinpoche explains how La Gug works and provides some effective meditations proven by centuries of Buddhist practice, to help restore vitality. The video’s are excerpts of teachings from a full weekend retreat on La Gug and Medicine Buddha practices taught by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, spiritual head of Gaden for the West and several Tibetan meditation centres in the US, Canada and Australia, including Gaden Choling in Toronto.
Please watch the ten minute video (full transcript below):
Transcript from video from a weekend retreat on La Gug, Part 1
Event: Weekend Retreat on La Gug, Restoring Life Force Vitality.
Teaching form Venerable Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, Spring 2016, Owen Sound Ontario
Venerable Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche:
Now I would like to talk about the symptoms of losing La, or lost La or weakened La. So, if you don’t have these symptoms, then you know your La is fine. It’s like when you go to the doctor — traditional doctors, like Traditional Chinese Medicine or Tibetan Medicine — the doctor will first ask you many questions before doing any kind of diagnostic, to find out what kind of problems you have.
So, for example, symptoms of losing La, or weakened La, include feeling ungrounded. You feel you are ungrounded. Also, a scattered mind. Another term, you might say “spicy” or disconnected from reality. So, when I say ungrounded, sort of unsettled, your mind unsettled, and your body is unsettled, and scattered. Hard to “be in one place.” Unable to focus the mind. So, when people lose their La, or weakened La, they can have a hard time even studying, and a hard time to meditate, hard to focus the mind.
Some people have a hard time to even choose. You go out to a restaurant, look at the menu, and you don’t know which one. I have a friend who always says, “Rinpoche, you choose for me.” [Smiles] You mean I have to choose your food? Even your food? [Audience laughs] Why don’t you just eat something? What’s the big deal? I have to choose everything for you, even your food? That’s because his mind is so unsettled. Not sure. People who have trauma and people with weakened La have a really hard time making decisions: in life in general, particular things, and even small things, like, what to eat and so on.
Also, lack of trust in oneself. You feel “I am not good”, I am confused, so how can I trust myself?
Then, lack of self confidence. Your confidence is destroyed. I see there are people in the West, people who have two university degrees, still have very little, little self confidence. Some places, like in the mountains of Mongolia, illiterate nomad guy, he’s got lots of confidence. He knows what he’s doing, what he needs to do. Self confident. Strong and brave. So, why does book knowledge and studying not necessarily give you strong confidence? I think, because their La is weakened. Also, physical and mental strength is weakened. Lack of energy.
Some people suffer with what we call “chronic fatigue” because of weakened La. Also, the immune system is weakened. You get easily sick.
Also, reactions: physical, mental, and allergic reactions. You can’t eat many things. I’m fortunate, I don’t have allergies. I’m not allergic to anything, except MSG. [Smiles] MSG’s not even food right? [Audience laughs] Who needs MSG….
So, another symptom of losing La and weakened La is “fear. The fear even comes up in your dreams.
Also, a sense of no direction. You don’t know where to go. What’s the direction in my life? What is the purpose? No purpose in life, when you’ve lost La. And depressed. These things happen. Many times in life. Depression, self-criticism, blame!
La could be lost or weakened when you are a child; La could be weakened, lost, when you are a teenager; La could be weakened, lost, when you are adult; La could be also weakened as you get older.
In the West we call this crisis, right? Many crisis in life. Midlife crisis, old age crisis, menopause, and this and that. But these are all part of life, right? Life has many crisis. I call obstacles. But they are part of our body. Midlife crisis, old age, menopause, they’re all part of our body, part of our life. It’s a natural thing. Natural process. There’s always many crisis.
I don’t know why, particularly, in the West we call mid-life crisis. There are many crisis. That’s part of body mind. The process of changing. Going through changes. Impermanence. We call this “law of Impermanence” — anicha (anicca). Sanskrit word is Anitya. “Dhukha” is suffering. “Anatta” is emptiness. It’s all part of life.
If you know these are part of life, you accept this as part of life, then this doesn’t have to be traumatic. It doesn’t hit you suddenly, bang! Because you’ve already accepted. If you’ve already accepted, you can just practice the “path cessation of suffering.”
Another we use in the West — “Empty Nest Syndrome.” [Audience chuckles] Why is it a syndrome? Your children are gone, you should be happy! [Audience laughs] They go to University, now I can do what I want to do! I can study, I can go back to University myself, or meditate, do retreats, travel, whatever you want to do! So why do you feel “empty?”
In one sense, right? In one sense you feel empty because you miss your children. Your babies are no longer babies. Still babies, but not really babies. You feel kind of empty, right? You feel that way. I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel like that. How can you say that. You feel that, naturally, right? That’s the way it is.
But, the attitude is “you don’t have to suffer.” You don’t have to say “I’m suffering from empty nest syndrome. Maybe I should have another baby. But it’s too late.” [Audience laughs] “I should divorce and have another baby.” [More laughter] .. Now you’re getting into more and more Samsara. [Cycle of suffering].
So, these are the symptoms of losing La or weakening La…
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Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.