When one is practicing the Dharma and there are no great obstacles, it is easy to develop internal obstacles to one’s practice. They occur because one begins to think that one has a great practice and feels very proud. This pride itself is a great obstacle to one’s Dharma practice and meditation.
As a star, a visual aberration, a lamp, an illusion, dew, a bubble, a dream, lightning, and a cloud – view all the compounded like that.
We think we’re being diligent by sitting down to meditate for hours at a stretch. But real diligence doesn’t mean focusing yourself beyond your natural limits; it means simply trying to do your best, rather than focusing on the result of what you’re trying to accomplish. It means finding a comfortable middle ground between being too relaxed and too wound up.
Our grasping at what is me and mine puts up walls that can make our world close in on us. We end up peering through narrow windows and seeing what goes on around us through a myopic lens. No wonder there is such a sense of alienation and loneliness in the world. Opening up to the view of interconnectedness helps us to break down the barriers erected by our own egocentrism and to emerge from the narrow and dark cell in which we tend to shut ourselves.
Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
Buddha-nature is pure, undefiled, unelaborated, unconditioned, transcending all concepts. It is not an object of dualistic thought and intellectual knowledge. It is, however, open to gnosis, intuition, the nondual apperception of intrinsic awareness itself, prior to or upstream of consciousness. Adventitious obscurations temporarily veil and, like clouds, obscure this pristine, sky-like, luminous fundamental nature or mind essence—also known as tathagatagarbha, buddha-nature.
All conventional practices along the gradual path to liberation and enlightenment aim to uncover this innate wisdom by removing and dissolving the obscurations, revealing what has always been present. This is the relation between how things appear to be and how things actually are: in short, the two levels of truth, absolute and relative or conventional truth. According to these two truths, there are different levels of practice.
Your search among books, word upon word, may lead you to the depths of knowledge, but it is not the way to receive the reflection of your true self. When you have thrown off your ideas as to mind and body, the original truth will fully appear. Zen is simply the expression of truth; therefore longing and striving are not the true attitudes of Zen.
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
All the various types of teachings and spiritual paths are related to the different capacities of understanding that different individuals have. There does not exist, from an absolute point of view, any teaching which is more perfect or effective than another. A teaching’s value lies solely in the inner awakening which an individual can arrive at through it. If a person benefits from a given teaching, for that person that teaching is the supreme path, because it is suited to his or her nature and capacities. There’s no sense in trying to judge it as more or less elevated in relation to other paths to realization.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Start to look at and relate to everything and everyone around you as if you were seeing them for the last time.
Within the sky-like empty mind, habitual tendencies and disturbing emotions are just like clouds and mist. When they appear, they appear within the expanse of empty mind. When they remain, they remain within the expanse of empty mind. And when they dissolve, they dissolve in that same expanse of empty mind.
I discovered that it is necessary, absolutely necessary, to believe in nothing. That is, we have to believe in something which has no form and no color, something which exists before all forms and colors appear. That is a very important point. No matter what god or doctrine you believe in, if you become attached to it, your belief will be based more or less on a self-centered idea. You strive for a perfect faith in order to protect yourself.
The lamas’ blessings are not on any schedule. They give their blessings inconceivably and continuously in whatever way might benefit us. We need to study and practice so that our minds are open to that blessing on every level, outer, inner, and secret. If we are never willing to give up our negative habits, our minds will not be able to open. Please, everyone, try to appreciate more and more deeply what the lamas have given us. ‘Appreciate’ doesn’t mean saying, “Wow! Now I am really special-see what the lamas gave me? I don’t know if they gave anything to anyone else, but I got my own special thing.” Don’t be that stupid. To ‘appreciate’ blessings means to internalize them, letting them mingle with your mind. Then your faith will deepen and you will become more humble. Slowly as your negative habits subside, your qualities will blaze forth of their own accord, not because you are boasting or showing them off to everybody. That is how we should show our appreciation for all the lamas’ blessings. Everybody, please try sincerely to practice in this way.
When phenomena are indeed seen to be devoid of true existence, great compassion will well up effortlessly, a compassion that will never abandon living beings who circle in samsara through their clinging to true existence. For as it has been taught, it is in the nature of things that such an attitude is born.
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
Our mind is the basis of everything, and from our mind everything arises, Samsara and nirvana, ordinary sentient beings and enlightened ones. Consider the way beings transmigrate in the impure vision of samsara: even though the essence of the mind, the true nature of our mind, is totally pure right from the beginning, nevertheless, because pure mind is temporarily obscured by the impurity of ignorance, there is no self-recognition of our own state. Through this lack of self-recognition arise illusory thoughts and actions created by the passions. Thus various negative karmic causes are accumulated and since their maturation as effects is inevitable, one suffers bitterly, transmigrating in the six states of existence. Thus, not recognizing one’s own state is the cause of transmigration, and through this cause one becomes the slave of illusions and distractions.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
You need to simply allow the moment of uncontrived naturalness. Instead of meditating upon it, meaning focusing upon it, simply allow it to naturally be. As you train like that-and the words for training and meditating sound the same in Tibetan, so to play on that word-it is more a matter of familiarization than meditation. The more you grow familiar with mind essence, and the less you deliberately meditate upon it, the easier it becomes to recognize and the simpler to sustain.
If you aspire to happiness in future, accept your present trials;
People of Tingri – then Buddhahood is right here just beside you.
After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet, but as you keep walking you get wet little by little. If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, “Oh, this pace is terrible!” But actually it is not. When you get wet in a fog it is very difficult to dry yourself. So there is no need to worry about progress.
Even if you do not understand it, do not ignore it but be determined to understand it. Since this word is already expounded, listen to it. Listen until you understand.
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
Our emotions propel us through extremes, from elation to depression, from good experiences to bad, from happiness to sadness: a constant swinging back and forth. Emotionality is the by-product of hope and fear, attachment and aversion. We have hope because we are attached to something we want. We have fear because we are averse to something we don’t want. As we follow our emotions, reacting to our experiences, we create karma: a perpetual motion that inevitably determines our future. We need to stop the extreme swings of the emotional pendulum so that we can find a place of centeredness.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Tantric practitioners are not really worshipping a guru because of his personality, his achievements, his charisma, or his reputation. It’s nothing personal at all. A tantric practitioner has to see everyone as the guru. Not only that, a tantric practitioner has to see everything as the guru’s form, every sound as the guru’s voice, and every thought as the guru’s mind. So eventually all your idealizing, sycophanting, and ass kissing of a guru will mature so that you will do that to everyone, even those who irritate you the most, and everything that enters your consciousness. When that starts to happen, you are beginning to subdue and outshine appearance and existence instead of existence and appearance subduing and outshining you, which is probably what is happening in your experience of phenomena now.
The only thing that helps us when we die is whatever virtue we have been able to accumulate during our lifetime. If we have been able to generate a lot of very positive spiritual energy, it will help us, but all our worldly possessions or fame won’t make a difference.