This is a quote from Garchen Rinpoche who Robert James was blessed to receive teachings on the Nature of mind and on Tantric practice from in January 2013.
Garchen Rinpoche was held in Chinese prison for 21 years, tortured and made to collect human excrement from open sewers every day to be used as fertilizer for the Chinese rice fields.
The great Dzogchen Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche taught me this: “The extent of your realization will be known when you encounter difficult circumstances. You will not know the extent of your realization when things go well.”
When you find yourself in a troublesome situation, when you are in great pain, when an intense emotion arises, only then will you know where you are at with practice.
Khenpo Munsel added: “Adverse circumstances reveal your hidden faults.”
If you are able to hold awareness unwaveringly during such a time, and thus if you are not carried away by the force of the emotion, it is a sign that you have gained experience in practice.
If you were to practice mindful awareness with great diligence for just a month, if you were to recognize even the slightest thought and not allow your mind to wander off into delusion for that time, even in such a short time you would witness great changes.
Fierce afflictions would not faze you so much anymore, because you would have gained personal experience in observing the illusory play.
There is in fact just one remedy necessary—mindful awareness. It is the single sufficient remedy that transforms difficulties inside and out.”
—H.E. Garchen Rinpoche