Bringing out the natural qualities inherent in us ~ 17th Karmapa

The teaching on precious human life shows us that this human body of ours has the potential to allow us to accomplish significant and vast things, not only for ourselves, but for many others. It points out just what an opportunity this human body represents. All human beings are fundamentally endowed with love, compassion and other positive qualities, not as products of religious practice, but as something present within us all right from birth. The most important thing, and the basis of Dharma practice, is for us to value these innate human qualities, and work to enhance and develop them.

Therefore, to be a Dharma practitioner does not imply becoming someone different. There is no need to become a strange or new person. Nor are we necessarily adopting a whole new lifestyle. Rather, we are bringing out the natural qualities inherent in us, within the life we are already leading. For this reason, Dharma practice is not something we do apart from, or outside of, our ordinary life.

17th Karmapa

Not Changing in Any Way Whatsoever ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

When we are deluded about the natural state and roaming about in samsaric existence, is our nature in any way worsened? No, it is not. The basic state of Mahamudra, the natural state itself, is not spoiled by confusion. It does not change in any way whatsoever. Is the natural state of Mahamudra improved through being realized? No, it is not. It is not an entity or identity that can be either worsened by confusion or exalted by realization.

Thrangu Rinpoche

The awareness that you are here ~ Shunryu Suzuki

When you are sitting in the middle of your own problem, which is more real to you: your problem or you yourself? The awareness that you are here, right now, is the ultimate fact.

Shunryu Suzuki

The whole purpose of the outer guru ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Idolizing and supplicating the outer guru should not be done at the expense of losing touch with the inner guru. We are not supplicating an almighty, independent creator.

The whole purpose of the outer guru is to fish out the inner guru, to teach us how to tap into the space between past thoughts and future thoughts and, if possible, remain there. That moment is the inner and secret gurus. Even if we manage once in a blue moon to encounter this state, managing to remain there for more than a moment is rare. We don’t even have the habit of wanting to do that.

Devotion to the guru helps us develop the habit of wanting. But we cannot expect the guru to do the job for us. We may be awestruck by the charisma, the power, the hats, the height of throne, the titles, and all the props. We are comforted by the idea that he will lead us and take care of us. But if we don’t use the outer guru to develop our inner and secret gurus, we will always remain at square one. We will be bombarded by emotion whether we win the lottery or hear that our boyfriend is flirting with another man.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Everything is in the Heart ~ Ryokan

Even if you consume as many books
As the sands of the Ganges
It is not as good as really catching
One verse of Zen.
If you want the secret of Buddhism,
Here it is: Everything is in the Heart!

Ryokan

Becoming aware of suffering ~ Joseph Goldstein

Imagine holding on to a hot burning coal. You would not fear letting go of it. In fact, once you noticed that you were holding on, you would probably drop it quickly. But we often do not recognize how we hold on to suffering. It seems to hold on to us. This is our practice: becoming aware of how suffering arises in our mind and of how we become identified with it, and learning to let it go. We learn through simple and direct observation, seeing the process over and over again until we understand.

Joseph Goldstein

Samadhi ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

The Sanskrit word samadhi is translated in Tibetan as tingdzin, which literally means “deep holding.” The mind is held firmly and deeply so the meditation becomes very stable. Samadhi can refer to either tranquility meditation or insight meditation. By doing this deep meditation, we experience the flavor of samadhi—the exquisite taste of meditation.

Thrangu Rinpoche