You cannot simply remove mental afflictions (kleshas), by saying to yourself, “I will not generate any more mental afflictions,” because you do not have the necessary freedom of mind or control over the kleshas that would allow you to do so. In order to relinquish these, you need to actually attain this freedom of mind, which begins, according to the common path, with the cultivation of tranquility.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
If we do practice the dharma now, so as to protect ourselves from future suffering, then when we die, although we will still have to face suffering, if we have no regrets, are confident in our practice and in the dharma, and put our trust in the Three Jewels, we can be confident that we will not go to the three lower realms, because we will not be attached to samsara.
Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
We exhaust ourselves in three ways: We create fabrications like mental concepts. We exert a lot of effort. We create many objects or targets in our minds. These are the three things that really tire us. It is like an insect caught in a spider’s web: the more agitated it becomes, the more tangled it gets in the web. This creates real suffering, real torment for the mind.
In the experience of yogis who do not perceive things dualistically, the fact that things manifest without truly existing is so amazing that they burst into laughter.Longchenpa
If we consider how impermanent things are, then we must face the fact that we can die at any moment. If we were to die right now, what credentials, wealth or friends could we take with us? No matter what our plans for the future might have been, all of them will be meaningless at the time of death. The only thing that will matter is how much we understand ourselves and our own mental attitudes. How much we are able to unravel the bewilderment of our habitual patterns alone will be meaningful.
We are at a time when old systems and ideas are being questioned and falling apart, and there is a great opportunity for something fresh to emerge. The time we live in is a fertile ground for training in being open minded and open-hearted.
Anger’s nature is not rendered empty by looking; it was already empty and always will be. As anger is empty in essence, it cannot be changed or transformed in any way whatsoever. As anger, or any other thought or emotion has no concrete nature, by looking into it and recognizing it, it naturally subsides. Only ignorance, the failure to know this fact, can sustain it.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
There are two great sources of fear in samsara, the moment of birth and the moment of death. The suffering and fear experienced at these two times have to be faced completely alone; there is no one who can really help us. The only thing that can help alleviate those sufferings is the practice of the supreme Dharma. Nothing else can do so.
But we do not know how to practice it: we have only become clever at doing worldly things. From an early age we have learned how to make things comfortable for ourselves and how to avoid being uncomfortable. This sort of attitude has resulted in a high degree of material achievement. We can fly through the sky in airplanes, and so on, and we have made life very easy from the material point of view. But actually we are just like children running after a rainbow. These things do not really help us.
We need to turn our minds toward the Dharma by reflecting on these sufferings of birth and death. By doing so, we enter the path, going first through the preliminaries, and then proceeding to the main practice. As we practice, we will gradually get a true taste of what it means to become disillusioned with worldly affairs and to progress on the path. This is something that will come with experience.
But we must not postpone it, thinking, “I will do this practice next month or next year …” If we have received a teaching today, it is today that we should start putting it into practice, for it is only from the moment we actually plant a seed that it will start to sprout.
The mind does seem to be and yet lacks real existence.
When searched for, it’s not found;
When looked for, it’s not seen.
No color does it have, no shape; it cannot be identified.
Not outside or within; throughout the triple time,
It is not born, it does not cease.
And it is not located anywhere on this side or on that.
Groundless, rootless, it is not a thing.
There is no pointing to it: mind is inconceivable.
When we say that mind is empty, we do not mean that it is a void in the way that space is empty. Space is indeed empty but it does not have the ability to know, to see, or to reflect. Space is “dead emptiness.” When we say that the nature of mind is emptiness, we mean that the mind is not a solid or fixed entity. It cannot be found, no matter where we look. Nonetheless it has the ability to understand and reflect. This ability to think and know is what we mean when we speak of the mind’s luminosity.Thrangu Rinpoche
Whatever you experience in your life – pain, pleasure, heat, cold, or anything else – is like something happening in a dream. Although you might think things are very solid, they are like passing memory. You can experience this open, unfixated quality in sitting meditation: All that arises in your mind – hate, love, and all the rest – is not solid. Although the experience can get extremely vivid, it is just a product of your mind. Nothing solid is really happening.
When you have anger, this inner anger is reflected back and the enemy appears outside. If you try to destroy your enemy with anger, the other side will also become angry, and the situation will escalate. Even if you destroy one enemy, there will be another enemy, and more and more enemies will arise. Instead of defeating outside enemies, you should look toward your own anger as the real enemy, the enemy that causes suffering. The real enemy is not outside but within your own mind. Even if you cannot eliminate your anger entirely, trying to see things this way will help you to disrupt it.Sakya Trizin
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Complete openness, ‘Zangtal’ in Tibetan, means not attached to anything, not fixating on anything. This is precisely the opposite of an ordinary person’s frame of mind clinging to and fixating on everything. The openness of Rigpa, the openness of a yogi, does not fixate on anything: it does not hold on to anything. We need to grow used to this type of openness. Let your five senses be wide open, wide awake and yet thought-free. Remain in that state, utterly open.
If you think you will get something from practicing zazen, already you are involved in impure practice. It is all right to say there is practice, and there is enlightenment, but we should not be caught by the statement. You should not be tainted by it. When you practice zazen, just practice zazen. If enlightenment comes, it just comes. We should not attach to the attainment. The true quality of zazen is always there, even if you are not aware of it, so forget all about what you think you may have gained from it. Just do it. The quality of zazen will express itself; then you will have it.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
The mind has, in general, two aspects, stillness and movement. Sometimes, the mind is quiet and free from thoughts, like a calm pool; this is stillness. Eventually, thoughts are bound to arise in it; this is movement. In truth, however, although in a sense there is a movement of thoughts within the stillness, there is actually no difference between these two states — just as the nature of stillness is voidness, the nature of movement is also voidness. Stillness and movement are merely two names for the one mind.
Do not run away from these unpleasant feelings.
Do not manipulate them into pleasant feelings.
Stay with what is, with whatever arises.
Even when your realization transcends the very notions of there being anything to accumulate or purify, continue still to accumulate even the smallest amounts of merit.
The reason that we can’t find mind when we look for it is that mind doesn’t have an essential nature of its own. This nonexistence is what the Buddha called emptiness or shunyata. This emptiness does not need to be verified through complicated philosophical reasoning; it is simply the nature, or essence, of the mind. Both peacefulness and disturbing emotions arise from mind’s nature, which is not solid or dense; rather, it is empty of inherent existence. Because it is empty, its nature cannot be harmed and does not become defective or degrade with age or illness.
Seeing ourselves as fundamentally separate and independent inclines us to underestimate or altogether ignore the connections between ourselves and others. As happens in our use of electronic connectivity, we feel that we are here, while everyone else is over there, apart from us. We even imagine that we can do whatever we wish with no consequences for anyone but ourselves. Given the environmental impact of our consumer-driven global society, I believe we cannot afford to leave unexamined the assumptions that have allowed us to go so far down this road without noticing the collective effects of our individual actions.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
An unsuitable friend is one who is fond of distractions, totally immersed in ordinary worldly activities, and who does not care in the least about achieving liberation — a friend who has no interest or faith in the Three Jewels. The more time you spend with such a person, the more the three poisons will permeate your mind. Even if you do not initially agree with their ideas and actions, if you spend a lot of time with unsuitable friends, you will eventually be influenced by their bad habits. Your resolve to act positively will decline, and you will waste your life. Such people will prevent you from spending any time studying, reflecting, and meditating — which are the roots of liberation. And they will make you lose whatever qualities you may have developed, especially compassion and love — which are the very essence of the teachings of the Great Vehicle. An unsuitable friend is like a bad captain who steers his ship onto the rocks. Such people are your worst enemy. You owe it to yourself to stay away from them. In contrast, being with people who embody or aspire to gentleness, compassion, and love will encourage you to develop those qualities so essential to the path. Inspired by their example, you will become filled with love for all beings, and come to see the inherent negativity of attachment and hatred. Authentic spiritual friends are those who have received teachings from the same teacher as yourself and, detached form worldly concerns, are devoting themselves to practice in secluded places. In the company of such friends, you will naturally be influenced by their good qualities, just as birds flying around a golden mountain are bathed in its golden radiance.