The Human Route ~ Seung Sahn

Coming empty-handed, going empty-handed, that is human.
When you are born, where do you come from?
When you die, where do you go?
Life is like a floating cloud which appears.
Death is like a floating cloud which disappears.
The floating cloud itself originally does not exist.
Life and death, coming and going, are also like that.
But there is one thing which always remains clear.
It is pure and clear, not depending on life and death.
Then what is the one pure and clear thing?

Seung Sahn

Cutting the root of basic confusion ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

In order to cut the root of basic confusion, one should rest in the natural state without altering it. Once one is resting in the genuine natural state, one should neither follow one’s thoughts nor search for an antidote for them. If the intrinsic nature is left in its natural state, as it is said, ‘When water is not stirred, will become clear’, Just as dirty water, if not stirred, will become clear, if the nature of mind is left unaltered, as it is, deluded thoughts will automatically clear up. The natural flow of the intrinsic nature will come automatically.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Dismantling the walls that separate us ~ 17th Karmapa

The wisdom that arises when we fully comprehend our interdependence is a force that can dismantle the walls that separate us from others. Compassion, or an altruistic outlook, can have the same effect. Wisdom and compassion can grow from the awareness that we are all absolutely equal in our wish for happiness and in our longing to be free of pain and suffering. Any being that has the capacity to feel pain merits our respect and our concern. Our recognition of this shared yearning can itself awaken a concern for the well-being of another. When we feel it fully as part of our very being, then we will naturally act to alleviate the pain of others and add to their happiness. As such, our vivid awareness that all living beings are perfectly equal in terms of their shared yearning for happiness can be fundamental in reorienting us as we live our interdependence.

17th Karmapa

Obscurations and negative karma ~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Sentient beings fixate on thoughts, the true Yogi does not. Sentient beings’ thought are like carving on stones; whatever is thought stays, leaving a trace. Whatever the mental act, a trace remains. This is why we must accept that there is karma, there are disturbing emotions and there are habitual patterns. But, on the other hand, the thoughts occurring in a true Yogi’s mind are like drawings in air. There is an apparent movement, but it is only seeming because he perceives the nature of his mind. There is no clinging to perceiver and perceived and, hence, no karma accumulation whatsoever.
This is the meaning of unceasing, self-occurring self liberation.

It is not possible to be enlightened while still having obscurations and negative karma. They need to be interrupted and purified, and that is why one does the purification practices and apologises for any negative deeds one has done. There is also another way to thoroughly and perpetually bring an end to negative karma and obscuration. The moment of recognizing mind essence totally interrupts the karma and obscurations, for that moment. It purifies the negative karma that has been continued from the past and it interrupt any creation henceforth. As long as this recognition last, karma and obscurations are completely ended. Complete stability in the recognition of empty cognizance, therefore, involves the total elimination of all obscurations and negative karma.

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Right Diligence ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The practice of mindful living should be joyful and pleasant. If you breathe in and out and feel joy and peace, that is Right Diligence. If you suppress yourself, if you suffer during your practice, it probably is not Right Diligence. Examine your practice. See what brings you joy and happiness of a sustained kind.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The main cause of the Great way is compassion ~ Sakya Trizin

There are three main practices: Love, Compassion and enlightenment-mind. Love means that you wish every sentient being in all the six realms of existence to be happy, and compassion is the wish that all beings in suffering should part from suffering. The enlightenment-mind means the wish to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. These three are very important. Without love and compassion, the enlightenment mind will not arise and, without the enlightenment mind, you cannot attain enlightenment, so therefore love and compassion are necessary. But of these, compassion is of particular importance. It is said to be the seed of the Great Way in the beginning, then the water that makes the crops grow, and finally it is the ripening of the fruit. So, clearly, compassion being in the beginning, the middle and the end, it is very important. Thus, when Chandrakirti wrote the Madhyamakavatara, he preceded it with homage to compassion. “The Buddha,” he said, “arises from the Bodhisattva and the Bodhisattva is born out of love and compassion, but especially out of compassion.” The main cause of the Great way is compassion.

Sakya Trizin

Ego-grasping death comes before life ~ Mingyur Rinpoche

In the conventional view, life comes before death. In the wisdom view, ego-grasping death comes before life.

Mingyur Rinpoche

Fixation ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

The problems we face with appearances and all of the suffering we experience as a result of appearances is not because of the appearances themselves but because of our fixation on them. It is our fixation upon appearances which turns appearances into enemies. Because these appearances are just appearances, they are just what appears to us; so if we have no fixation on them, they will not bring any suffering.

Thrangu Rinpoche

Genuine compassion ~ 14th Dalai Lama

Compassion involves a feeling of closeness to others, a respect and affection that is not based on others’ attitude toward us. We tend to feel affection for people who are important to us. That kind of close feeling does not extend to our enemies—those who think ill of us. Genuine compassion, on the other hand, sees that others, just like us, want a happy and successful life and do not want to suffer. That kind of feeling and concern can be extended to friend and enemy alike, regardless of their feelings toward us. That’s genuine compassion.

14th Dalai Lama

Guru devotion and pure perception ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

When you see something you like, you perceive it as desirable and good. Likewise, if you see somebody you don’t like, then the perception is negative. Kindness, tolerance, impatience, wrath are all your own perception. If you feel kindness instead of wrath, you have a different perception. If you are more tolerant than impatient, you have a different perception. If you know life is impermanent, you see things differently. When your annoying friend is suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer, your perception changes. If we learn to accept, even in a limited way, that everything is subject to our perception, then pure perception of the guru is more achievable. Coupled with pure perception, guru devotion has nothing to do with being a sycophant. It’s really about exercising your own perception.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

See the difference ~ Shantideva

Is there need for lengthy explanation?
Childish beings look out for themselves,
While Buddhas labor for the good of others.
See the difference that divides them!

Shantideva

Religious freedom is an innate right ~ 17th Karmapa

Spiritual practice must be a way for each of us as, an individual in touch with our own mind, to give meaning to our life and come to an understanding of the fundamental meaning and value of our life. Having access to a religious tradition should feel like an opportunity to explore our inner world and develop our spiritual values, and not like something that has been imposed upon us. Religious leaders have the responsibility, therefore, to make people aware of this inner search and also to present the fact that religious freedom is an innate right, and not something that can be given or withheld.

17th Karmapa

Confusing Charisma with Wisdom ~ Jack Kornfield

Another source of spiritual misunderstanding is our confusion of charisma with true wisdom. Certain spiritual leaders possess the ability to evoke extraordinary states. Amplified by our hopes, feelings of bliss and transcendence arise easily around these charismatic ministers, priests, Zen masters, mystics, rabbis, and gurus. It is easy to mistake such spiritual powers as definite signs of wisdom or enlightenment or divine love. We forget that power and charisma are just power and charisma, that these energies can just as easily serve demagogues, politicians, and entertainers.

It is possible for someone to be charismatic but not wise. Conversely, wisdom is not necessarily flashy or powerful – it can manifest in a humble and simple heart, and in the most ordinary-seeming of lives. In communities where special spiritual power is highly valued, students should take special care: when secret teachings or ancient lineages are evoked, when one group is chosen to be saved or awakened above all others in the world, spiritual communities are ripe for becoming cults. This does not always happen, of course, but it is particular risk within the blinding arena of charisma. Wise traditions include safeguards against such misuse, often by the creation of a network of elders, respected teachers able to watch over one another’s spiritual condition and behavior.

Jack Kornfield

Supplication and devotion ~ Sera Khandro

Respectfully supplicating the master enables us
To cast away self-cherishing pride.
Devotedly praying to our masters enables us
To discard the aggression that comes from attachment and aversion.
Respectfully supplicating the master enables us
To cast away jealousy coming from competitiveness.
Devotedly praying to our masters enables us
To discard wrong views coming from our disturbing emotions.

Sera Khandro

Becoming unstuck ~ Pema Chödron

We hear a lot about the pain of samsara, and we also hear about liberation. But we don’t hear much about how painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality, like changing our DNA. We are undoing a pattern that is not just our pattern. It’s the human pattern.

Pema Chödron

Basic decency ~ Chögyam Trungpa

If you have awareness in whatever you do, you always have a sense of basic decency. You do not cheat. You do not do things just because they are traditional, and you don’t just do something this year simply because you did it last year. You always try to practice your discipline as genuinely and honestly as possible — to the point where the honesty and genuineness begin to hurt.

Chögyam Trungpa

Outer display of guru devotion ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Oftentimes, students are not aware of the possible negative consequences of being overly enthusiastic about their guru devotion. Instead of inspiring others, such enthusiasm could actually put others off.

For example, some older students in Bhutan instruct completely new beginners to do things like eat the guru’s leftover food and put socks on the guru’s feet and tie up the guru’s shoelaces. It’s fine when the Bhutanese do this when among themselves, but making a display of it in front of someone who is just beginning to be inspired by the Buddha’s teaching is unskillful. The newcomers may not necessarily be open to the path of seeming sycophants.

We are in an age where we need to inspire people in a very different way. Creating situations that put people off from the tantric wisdom tradition is so unfortunate. So watch your behavior: you may be the direct cause of breaking a connection to a potentially good student.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

A thing you call the self ~ Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

From time to time try to look for a singular thing you call the self. You will see continuous movement, atmospheric moods coming and going like weather, ideas flickering but not really staying in any one particular place, and although they arise vividly – sometimes with intensity – all this experience will elude you when you search for it. As hard as you try, you won’t be able to identify where the self ends and the world begins. In other words, there is just this continuous dance between what you may identify as your outer and inner worlds but you will not be able to separate them or say they are the same. “You” will not be able to identify a singular, permanent, or independent self.

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Individualism or interdependence ~ 17th Karmapa

Put simply, we can see ourselves as independent individuals or we can acknowledge our interdependence on one another and on the planet. A great deal is at stake in which of these two views — individualism or interdependence — we choose to adopt. We experience our lives differently, we relate to others differently, and the very society we create differs based on whether we believe ourselves to be fundamentally separable and independent, or fundamentally connected and interdependent.

It is not that one of these two paradigms is absolutely bad and the other good. However, I feel that greater opportunities derive from seeing ourselves as interdependent, or interconnected. In the end, the individualistic view places more limits on us than interdependence. When we experience ourselves as interconnected in infinite ways to others, we have many options as to how we can relate. By contrast, adopting individualism as our path in life leads us to compare our personal situation to that of other individuals, as if we were separate entities. In such comparisons, one or the other always come up short. We then end up striving to make sure we are not on the losing end of the comparison.”

17th Karmapa

Without rushing toward the future ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.

Thich Nhat Hanh