Keep on suffering ~ Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

Birth, aging, illness, and death: these things are normal. Birth is the normal way of things, aging’s the normal way of things, illness and death are the normal way of things. Get so that you can see clearly that this is the way things normally are. That’s when a sense of disenchantment can arise. You’ll be able to loosen the grip that these things have on you. You’ll be able to pull them out, root and all.

We’ve suffered as the slaves of defilement and craving for how long now? Can you remember? Ask yourself. Can you remember all you’ve been through? And how much longer are you going to let it keep on happening — this holding and carrying and weighing yourself down? How many eons have you been doing this? Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of eons. Can you count them all? Of course you can’t. And how much longer will you have to keep on suffering in this way? If you’re still stubborn, still unwilling to listen to the Buddha’s teachings, this is the kind of reward you’ll have to expect out of life. Do you want it? Do you like it? If you don’t want it, then you’ll have to develop the goodness of your mind so that you can see your way out of this, so that you can see your defilments, so that you can see the suffering and harm they cause.

Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

No particular ~ Shabkar

My native land is all lands,
In no particular direction.
My monastery is the solitary mountains,
In no particular place.
My family is all the beings of the six realms.

Shabkar

Learning something new every time ~ 17th Karmapa

Our attitude is that of someone doing research, looking into the different characters and inclinations that living beings have. We should never think, “I’m fine. I’ve learned enough. I don’t need anything more. I’m great.” Rather, we can look at our encounters with living beings in all their brilliant variety as a chance to be educated about how to benefit others. If we approach our relationships with living beings in this way, we will receive only benefit and profit through our relationships with living beings because we will be learning something new every time.

17th Karmapa

Path of enlightenment ~ Padmasambhava

When you realize that all that appears and exists to be your mind, there is no path of enlightenment apart from that.

Padmasambhava

The root of samsara ~ Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

Just as a person who has a ‘bile’ disease sees a shell as being yellow even if one can see objectively that that is not its true color, so in just the same way, as a result of the particular karmic causes of sentient beings, the various illusory visions manifest. Thus, if one were to meet a being of each of the six states of existence on the bank of the same river, they would not see that river in the same way, since they each would have different karmic causes. The beings of the hot hells would see the river as fire; those of the cold hells would see it as ice; beings of the hungry ghost realm would see the river as blood and pus; aquatic animals would see it as an environment to live in; human beings would see the river as water to drink; while the demi-gods would see it as weapons, and the gods as nectar. This shows that in reality nothing exists as concrete and objective. Therefore, understanding that the root of Samsara is truly the mind, one should set out to pull up the root. Recognizing that the mind itself is the essence of Enlightenment one attains liberation. Thus, being aware that the basis of Samsara and Nirvana is only the mind, one takes the decision to practice.

Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

Exploring the connections of my karma ~ Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

I have no wings, but still I fly in the sky;
I have no magical power, yet like magic
I journey throughout realms of illusory display,
here and there, in nine directions,
exploring the connections of my karma.

Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

The path is practical ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The goal we are aiming for is not far off in the distance; the goal is already here and now, just as the path is working here and now. The path is practical.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Our scales ~ Shunryu Suzuki

When we analyze our experience, we have ideas of time or space, big or small, heavy or light. A scale of some kind is necessary, and with various scales in our mind, we experience things. Still the thing itself has no scale. That is something we add to reality. Because we always use a scale and depend on it so much, we think the scale really exists. But it doesn’t exist. If it did, it would exist with things. Using a scale you can analyze one reality into entities, big and small, but as soon as we conceptualize something it is already a dead experience.

We “empty” ideas of big or small, good or bad from our experience, because the measurement that we use is usually based on the self. When we say good or bad, the scale is yourself. That scale is not always the same. Each person has a scale that is different. So I don’t say that the scale is always wrong, but we are liable to use our selfish scale when we analyze, or when we have an idea about something. That selfish part should be empty. How we empty that part is to practice zazen and become more accustomed to accepting things as it is without any idea of big or small, good or bad.

Shunryu Suzuki

Open your mind ~ Dogen Zenji

Life is short and no one knows what the next moment will bring. Open your mind while you have the opportunity, thereby gaining the treasures of wisdom, which in turn you can share abundantly with others, bringing them happiness.

Dogen Zenji

Guidance of a qualified teacher ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

To progress, we need the constant guidance of a qualified teacher. As we report to him the progress of our meditation and describe our experiences, he may say, “You should relax more,” or on the contrary, “Be more vigilant.” It is important at this time to rely upon a teacher’s instructions. When the great Gampopa had many spiritual experiences, he explained them to Jetsun Milarepa and was thus able to avoid deviations and continue to progress.

Once you’ve been introduced to this nature of the mind, you should achieve stability and confidence in recognizing it, so that the mind remains in that state of simplicity without wavering.

If we allow water to remain still without agitating it, it becomes limpid and transparent; but if we stir it up with a stick, mud rises and the water becomes turbid. Likewise, leave the mind in a state of natural clarity, without interference, so that awareness remains limpid.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Beneficial action is an act of oneness ~ Dogen Zenji

Foolish people think that if they help others first, their own benefit will be lost, but this is not so. Beneficial action is an act of oneness, benefiting self and others together.

Dogen Zenji

Due to ignorance ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

When we are under the influence of attachment, we discriminate between good and bad, beautiful and ugly, and then cling to what seems to be attractive and shun those things which seem bad. Attachment and aversion are disturbing emotions that arise from not understanding the nature of things as they are and as they appear. It is due to ignorance that our mind accepts and rejects the objects of attachment and aversion.

Thrangu Rinpoche

Until meditation experiences are destroyed without trace ~ Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

As Jigme Lingpa says in our text, “Merging your mind with the guru’s mind, let awareness be free and unbound.” Rest in meditative equipoise, completely relaxed and without holding on to anything or modifying anything. From the depth of your heart, it is important to persevere unremittingly in this (snying la rdo rus gtug), until your experience of meditation is utterly free of any fixation or reference point; until meditation experiences are destroyed (nyams bshig) without a trace.

Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

The opportunity to love ~ 17th Karmapa

Living interdependence is the opportunity you have been waiting for. Perhaps the most valuable opportunity it offers is the opportunity to love. We need to expand our access to the love we have within us. This requires that we put ourselves in situations that ask us and allow us to love.

17th Karmapa

We are born buddhas ~ Mingyur Rinpoche

What makes our birth so precious is our potential for awakening. We are born buddhas, and all dharma practices help us recognize and nurture this truth. Because we do not actually believe in our own capacity for awakening, these teachings work to reverse the tendency to see ourselves as insufficient

Mingyur Rinpoche

Purification of the mind ~ Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Leave the mind in the natural condition, just as it is. Then being a monk and wearing monk’s robes is good, being a Buddhist yogi and wearing white robes is also good, and not wearing any robes at all, the mind is still pure in the natural condition. The most important thing in Dharma is to purify one’s mind as much as possible. Purification of the mind is the real meaning of Dharma and the basic importance of practice. It is possible to learn from many people who are involved in Dharma. It is also possible just to get a lot of ideas in one’s head and distort the mind, and finally one will be incapable of leaving the mind in the natural condition. Having approached Dharma and learned many different ways of distorting the mind, not only will one have failed to benefit oneself but one will also have gone farther from Dharma.

Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

The mind is the instigator ~ Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

The mind is the instigator. The body on its own doesn’t have anything to do. It simply acts under the orders of its boss: the mind. The body doesn’t know a thing. It depends on the boss’ orders. So when the boss says, “Enough! No more!” then that’s the end of the matter. The mind doesn’t struggle or thirst. What struggles and thirsts is the aggregate of fabrication (sankhara). If you latch on to fabrication, that’s the essence of suffering — big-time suffering. If you look at the body, you’ll see that there really are no issues there. The issues all come from fabrication. If the mind can break through and understand this attachment to the body, then where else will desire come from?

Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

Truth is ever present ~ Dogen Zenji

Truth is perfect and complete in itself. It is not something newly discovered; it has always existed. Truth is not far away; it is ever present. It is not something to be attained since not one of your steps leads away from it.

Dogen Zenji

Not paranoid but prepared ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Fearlessness is generated when you can appreciate uncertainty, when you have faith in the impossibility of these interconnected components remaining static and permanent. You will find yourself, in a very true sense, preparing for the worst while allowing for the best. You become dignified and majestic. These qualities enhance your ability to work, wage war, make peace, create a family, and enjoy love and personal relationships. By knowing that something is lying in wait for you just around the bend, by accepting that countless potentialities exist from this moment forward, you acquire the skill of pervasive awareness and foresight like that of a gifted general, not paranoid but prepared.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Giving and taking ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Sometimes, visualize that your heart is a brilliant ball of light. As you breathe out, it radiates rays of white light in all directions, carrying your happiness to all beings. As you breathe in, their suffering, negativity and afflictions come towards you in the form of dense, black light, which is absorbed in your heart and disappears in its brilliant white light without a trace, relieving all beings of their pain and sorrow.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche