Bringing about real change in the world ~ 17th Karmapa

Our inner world is the pivotal domain for bringing about real change in the world that we all share. Neither social nor environmental justice is possible without significant changes in our attitudes and the intentional behavior they give rise to. The transformation of our social and material world must begin within us.

17th Karmapa

Freedom from all systems – Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The Mahayana path is like peeling layers of skin and finally finding out that there’s no seed inside. We have to obtain liberation from the skins, but this is difficult to do — we love our skins. When we’re children, a sand castle is very important to us. Then when we’re sixteen, a skateboard is very important, and by then the sand castle has become a rotten skin. When we’re in our thirties and forties, money, cars, and relationships replace the skateboard. These are all layers of skin. More important, even the paths that we practice are all layers of skin, which we use to help us peel the other skins. The inner skin helps us think about the outer skin and motivates us to peel it. But ultimately in the Mahayana path, you have to be free from all systems, all skins.

So what happens when all these skins have been peeled off? What’s left? Is enlightenment a total negation, like the exhaustion of a fire or the evaporation of moisture? Is it something like that? No, we’re talking about something that is a result of elimination. For example, if your window is dirty, you clean it, you wash the dirt; then the window, in the absence of dirt, is labeled a “clean” window. There’s nothing else. The phenomenon that we are calling a clean window, the quality that is the absence of dirt, is not something we produced by cleaning the dirt. I don’t think we should even call it a clean window, because the window in its original state has never been stained by the extremes of either dirty or clean. Nevertheless, the process of getting rid of the dirt can be labeled as the emergence of the clean window.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The seven sublime riches ~ Dudjom Rinpoche

Cultivate faith and devotion to the Three Jewels and to your teacher. Strive in the ten virtues and combine clear intelligence with extensive learning. Nurture a sense of personal integrity and propriety regarding others. With these seven sublime riches, you will always be happy!

Dudjom Rinpoche

Avoid being distracted ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Boredom is bound to creep in, often just as you approach the final stretch, and if you then switch to a different path, although the new practice may be inspiring for a few days or even weeks, in terms of spiritual progress you will have slipped right back to square one. Ironically, before long you will become just as bored with the new practice as you were with the old one.

Meet as many lamas as you can, hear as many dharma teachings as possible, particularly if you are eager to pursue the higher paths, and try to socialise with people from the same lineage you are practising. But try to avoid being distracted by other practices that at first glance appear more attractive than those you are already engaged in.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Mind and the object of meditation ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

The novice meditator feels that there is someone meditating and something that is meditated upon — a mind and an object of meditation. It is by looking again and again into exactly what it is that meditates and what the object of meditation actually consists of that we find — not intellectually, but in actuality — that they are insubstantial, intangible, and altogether devoid of any true existence.

Thrangu Rinpoche

Open-minded guru ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

A guru should be open to accepting cultural and habitual differences. For example, if the guru is Tibetan, he or she should be able to value a sincere hippie Australian student’s offering of a treasured seashell as wholeheartedly as a Chinese student’s offering of a kilo of pure gold.

An open-minded guru should be able to work with an American whose strong habit is to believe in a soul and who might be confusing that soul with buddha nature. An open-minded guru should be able to recognize that the habit of Dharma bums with their antiestablishment barter society is not necessarily practicing renunciation. An open-minded guru should understand why his lesbian students are having a hard time visualizing a male consort. An open-minded guru should be able to understand why Jewish people might have trouble accepting the concept that everything is a product of past causes and conditions and therefore there is no such thing as good and evil.

An open-minded guru should know that his Chinese students’ habit of saving face is not necessarily a fear of wrongdoing. An open-minded guru should understand why a Swiss student may not appreciate a wish-fulfilling cow.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Undistracted awareness ~ Joseph Goldstein

The emphasis in meditation is very much on undistracted awareness: not thinking about things, not analyzing, not getting lost in the story, but just seeing the nature of what is happening in the mind. Careful, accurate observation of the moment’s reality is the key to the whole process.

Joseph Goldstein