When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to ‘come’ or to ‘go’, we attain Samadhi of Prajna, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of ‘thoughtlessness’. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view.
Happiness and suffering, through a mechanism like the sounding of a lute’s body and strings,
People of Tingri, are produced when actions are combined with necessary conditions.
Frequenting evil friends is bound to make your own behavior evil;
People of Tingri, abandon any friendships that are negative.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Someone asked me, “Aren’t you worried about the state of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, “What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help.” There are wars — big and small — in many places, and that can cause us to lose our peace. Anxiety is the illness of our age. We worry about ourselves, our family, our friends, our work, and the state of the world. If we allow worry to fill our hearts, sooner or later we will get sick.
However industrious you may be,
There is no end to worldly activities;
But if you practice the Dharma
You will swiftly conclude everything.
However nice they may seem,
Samsaric affairs always end in disaster;
But the fruits of practicing the Dharma
Will never deteriorate.
Since beginningless time you have collected and encouraged
Karma, negative emotions, and habitual tendencies,
Which force you to wander in samsara.
If you continue like that, when will liberation arrive?
If you only see all this at the moment of death,
It’s rather too late –
When the head’s already been severed,
What use is any medicine?
Recognizing the suffering of samsara,
Turn toward the peace of nirvana.
Gyelse Tokme Zangpo
You won’t accomplish
Both the Dharma and the aims of this ordinary life
If that is your wish,
No doubt you’re deceiving yourself.
There is no greater obstacle to Dharma practice
Than to be obsessed by the achievements of this life.
To be kind to those who have come from afar, to those who have been ill for a long time, or to our parents in their old age, is equivalent to meditating on emptiness of which compassion is the very essence.
If someone has compassion, he is a Buddha;
Without compassion, he is a Lord of Death.
With compassion, the root of Dharma is planted,
Without compassion, the root of Dharma is rotten.
One with compassion is kind even when angry,
One without compassion will kill even as he smiles.
For one with compassion, even his enemies will turn into friends,
Without compassion, even his friends turn into enemies.
With compassion, one has all Dharmas,
Without compassion, one has no Dharma at all.
With compassion, one is a Buddhist,
Without compassion, one is worse than a heretic.
Even if meditating on voidness, one needs compassion as its essence.
A Dharma practitioner must have a compassionate nature.
Compassion is the distinctive characteristic of Buddhism.
Compassion is the very essence of all Dharma.
Great compassion is like a wish-fulfilling gem.
Great compassion will fulfill the hopes of self and others.
Therefore, all of you, practitioners and laypeople,
Cultivate compassion and you will achieve Buddhahood.
May all men and women who hear this song,
With great compassion, benefit all beings!
The method of Lord Buddha’s teachings is to show you the nature of the human mind, your human potential and how you can develop further. Moreover, this method does not emphasize blind belief in, rather than understanding of, metaphysical processes. However, whether you are religious or non- religious, or a believer or a non-believer, the important thing is to know the nature of your own mind. If you don’t, it is so easy to think that you are healthy and functioning well in your daily life while in fact the root of disturbing emotions is growing firmer and deeper within your mind. With this fundamental cause of psychological disease within you, a tiny change of conditions can precipitate mental illness. As long as you are totally immersed in blind attachment to the sense world, not knowing the nature of your mind, this can happen. You can’t reject this: “I don’t believe it.” You can’t reject your nose: “I don’t believe I have a nose.” Whether you believe you have a nose or not, it’s there!
We’re always in some kind of mood. It might be sadness, it might be anger, it might be not much of anything, just a kind of blur. It might be humor or contentment. In any case, whatever it is, that’s the path.
When something hurts in life, we don’t usually think of it as our path or as the source of wisdom. In fact, we think that the reason we’re on the path is to get rid of this painful feeling. In this way, we naively cultivate a subtle aggression against ourselves. However, the fact is that anyone who has used the moments, days, and years of his or her life to become wiser, kinder, and more at home in the world has learned from what’s happening right now. We can aspire to be kind right in the moment, to relax and open our heart and mind to what is in front of us right in the moment. Now is the time. If there’s any possibility for enlightenment, it’s right now, not at some future time.
So stay right here, you lucky people,
let go and be happy in the natural state.
Let your complicated life and everyday confusion alone
and out of quietude, doing nothing, watch the nature of mind.
This piece of advice is from the bottom of my heart:
fully engage in contemplation and understanding is born;
cherish nonattachment and delusion dissolves;
and forming no agenda at all reality dawns.
Whatever occurs, whatever it may be, that itself is the key,
and without stopping it or nourishing it, in an even flow,
freely resting, surrendering to ultimate contemplation,
in naked pristine purity we reach consummation.
Birth, sickness, ageing and death flow on, a river without ford or bridge;
People of Tingri, have you prepared yourselves a boat?
The whole universe
Shatters into a hundred pieces.
In the great death
There is no heaven, no earth.
Once body and mind have turned over,
There is only this to say:
Past mind cannot be grasped,
Present mind cannot be grasped,
Future mind cannot be grasped.
Just as a grammarian first has students
Read a model of the alphabet,
Buddha taught students
The doctrine that they could bear.
To some he taught doctrines
To turn them away from ill-deeds.
To some, for the sake of achieving merit.
To some, doctrines based on duality.
To some, doctrines based on non-duality.
To some, what is profound and frightening to the fearful –
Having an essence of emptiness and compassion –
The means of achieving unsurpassed enlightenment.
Nothing comes from outside your mind. Usually we think of our mind as receiving impressions and experiences from outside, but that is not a true understanding of our mind. The true understanding is that the mind includes everything; when you think something comes from outside it means only that something appears in your mind. Nothing outside yourself can cause any trouble. You yourself make the waves in your mind. If you leave your mind as it is, it will become calm. This mind is called big mind.
Carelessness and impaired mindfulness cause downfalls. Therefore mindfulness is explained first.
To practice mindfulness and awareness of the illusion of inseparable appearance-emptiness of this heartless body as the Victor’s Body is the direct application of mindfulness to the body.
The reference-points of pleasure, pain, equanimity, and the sensations of all designated phenomena understood as mere sensation are the direct application of mindfulness to sensation.
All phenomena are mind,
yet mind will not be found inside or outside.
Mind not existing at all except as illusion
is the application of mindfulness to the mind.
Shrävakas and pretyekabuddhas
label all things as phenomena.
To know them as random labels of mere names
is the application of mindfulness of phenomena.
In spring, hundreds of flowers;
in autumn, a harvest moon;
in summer, a refreshing breeze;
in winter, snow will accompany you.
If useless things do not hang in your mind,
Any season is a good season for you.
To put it simply, from the moment you enter the sacred Dharma and become a Dharma practitioner, your inner attitude and outer conduct should far surpass those of an ordinary mundane person. As the saying goes:
The sign of true learning is a peaceful temperament,
And the sign of having meditated is fewer afflictions.
If, on the contrary, your attitude and conduct are not even slightly better than an average person caught up in worldly affairs, you might consider yourself a scholar simply because you have some intellectual understanding of a few texts. Or you might think you are a perfect monk simply because you maintain celibacy. Or just because you know how to chant a few ritual texts, you might start thinking of yourself as a ngakpa. These are all just instances of blatant arrogance, and only go to show that even with the Dharma one can stumble in the direction of the unwholesome. As the incomparable Dakpo Lharje [Gampopa] said:
When it is not practised properly, even the Dharma can catapult one into the lower realms.
Where is the best place?
Not clinging to a place or location is the best place.
Just as worn-out clothes can never again be made as new,
It’s no use seeing a doctor once you’re terminally ill;
You’ll have to go. We humans living on this earth
Are like streams and rivers flowing toward the ocean –
All living beings are heading for that single destination.
Now, like a small bird flying off from a treetop,
I, too, will not be here much longer; soon I must move on.