When you try to get rid of fear or anger, what happens? You just get restless or discouraged and have to go eat something or smoke or drink or do something else. But if you wait and endure restlessness, greed, hatred, doubt, despair, and sleepiness, if you observe these conditions as they cease and end, you will attain a kind of calm and mental clarity, which you will never achieve if you’re always going after something else.
Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
The moon’s reflection on water appears without obstruction and seems to shine very brightly, yet it is simply the appearance of something that does not exist. There is no such thing as a moon in the water. Likewise, when one recognizes that thoughts have no true existence, one recognizes awareness, and this is dharmakaya.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.
It is often seen that human beings can endure problems quite well, but cannot endure success. When we are successful and have everything we desire, it can easily go to our heads. There is a great danger of losing our common sense and becoming careless and arrogant. As it is said, “Nothing corrupts a person more than power.” Very powerful people sometimes become so proud that they no longer care about their actions or about the effect they have on others. Losing any sense of right and wrong, they create severe problems for themselves and everyone else. Even if we have all the success we could dream of—fame, wealth, and so on—we must understand that these things have no real substance. Attachment does not come from having things, but from the way our mind reacts to them. It is fine to participate in good circumstances, provided we can see that they have no real essence. They may come and they may go. When seeing this, we will not become so attached. Even if we lose our wealth we will not be badly affected, and while it is there we will enjoy it without being senseless and arrogant.
Once you have committed to a particular path, I suggest that you look for the simplest way forward. You should make things accessible and approachable in your religious community and in your personal practice, rather than more complicated.
Keep it simple. The life of the spirit is actually very basic and easy. We often don’t appreciate that. In the beginning, our spiritual path may strike us as very simple and perfectly clear. But then, after we have been practicing it for a few years, we sometimes find ourselves going backward, and moving away from that initial simplicity. The spiritual breakthrough we experience may simply consist in rediscovering what we had seen in the beginning.
Spiritual discovery is not a matter of finding wisdom out there somewhere. It is a matter of discovering what already exists within us. Like cleaning the surface of a stone inscription, the more you clean it, the more the original carving becomes apparent. We are like that stone. With spiritual practice, instead of gaining something we did not have before, we gradually make ourselves clearer to ourselves.
It’s the foggy mind, the mind that’s attracted to an object and paints a distorted projection onto it, that makes you suffer. That’s all. It’s really quite simple.