The short-term benefits of meditation are more than mere peace of mind, because our physical health as well depends to a great extent upon our state of mind. Therefore, if you cultivate a state of mental contentment and peace, then you will tend not to become ill, and you will tend to heal easily if you do become sick. The reason for this is that one of the primary conditions that brings about illness is mental agitation, which produces a corresponding agitation or disturbance of the channels and energies within the body.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Enlightenment, inherent though it is in the mind, seems so difficult to unveil. But if you develop fervent devotion and fuse the guru’s enlightened nature with your ordinary mind, enlightenment can be realized. Truly, to meditate on the benevolent teacher is a spiritual practice more profound than any other.
Don’t expect others to follow your direction. When it happens that others go along with you, it results in pride. So an ancient once said, “Use your will to bring peace between people.”
Our life’s work is to use what we have been given to wake up. If there were two people who were exactly the same — same body, same speech, same mind, same mother, same father, same house, same food, everything the same — one of them could use what he has to wake up and the other could use it to become more resentful, bitter, and sour. It doesn’t matter what you’re given, whether it’s physical deformity or enormous wealth or poverty, beauty or ugliness, mental stability or mental instability, life in the middle of a madhouse or life in the middle of a peaceful, silent desert. Whatever you’re given can wake you up or put you to sleep. That’s the challenge of now: What are you going to do with what you have already — your body, your speech, your mind?
People everywhere try so hard to make the world better. Their intentions are admirable, yet they seek to change everything but themselves. To make yourself a better person is to make the world a better place.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
The precious relative bodhichitta is compassion and the precious ultimate bodhichitta is emptiness. With compassion and emptiness, enlightenment is unavoidable. All the sutras, tantras, scriptures and oral instructions are contained within this. It is not all right to say, ‘I don’t need devotion, I don’t need compassion for beings, just meditation is sufficient.’ With compassion and emptiness, the view is automatically like a blazing fire. When this happens, the profound emptiness, self-existing wakefulness, very quickly arises in one’s being. This is unfailing, unfabricated, unobscured, the straight path for attaining enlightenment within rigpa.
In his infinite wisdom the Buddha Shakyamuni recognized that although beings may be bewildered and struggling with the results of their bewilderment, their situation is not hopeless. As he saw the workability of the human condition, the Buddha’s compassion became overwhelming. Had the plight of beings been hopeless, if there was nothing that could have been done, the situation would have been entirely different.
I see that samsara is suffering, but crave it still.
I fear the abyss of the lower realms but continue to do wrong.
Bless me and those who have gone astray like me
That we may sincerely renounce the things of this life.
14th Dalai Lama
In order to understand the profound aspects of the Four Noble Truths, the principal doctrine of Buddhism, it is crucial to understand what are known as the “two truths.” The two truths refer to the fundamental Buddhist philosophical view that there are two levels of reality. One level is the empirical, phenomenal, and relative level that appears to us, where functions such as causes and conditions, names and labels, and so on can be validly understood. The other is a deeper level of existence beyond that, which Buddhist philosophers describe as the fundamental, or ultimate, nature of reality, and which is often technically referred to as “emptiness.”
As a drop of water placed in the ocean becomes indistinct, boundless, unrecognizable, and yet still exists, so my mind merged with space. It was no longer a matter of me seeing trees, as I had become trees. Me and trees were one. Trees were not the object of awareness; they manifested awareness. Stars were not the object of appreciation but appreciation itself. No separate me loved the world. The world was love. My perfect home. Vast and intimate. Every particle was alive with love, fluid, flowing, without barriers. I was an alive particle, no interpretative mind, clarity beyond ideas. Vibrant, energetic, all-seeing. My awareness did not go toward anything, yet everything appeared — as an empty mirror both receives and reflects everything around it. A flower appears in the empty mirror of the mind, and the mind accepts its presence without inviting or rejecting
What we’re talking about is getting to know fear, becoming familiar with fear, looking it right in the eye — not as a way to solve problems, but as a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and thinking. The truth is that when we really begin to do this, we’re going to be continually humbled.
At its heart, Buddhism is very practical. It’s about doing things that foster serenity, happiness, and confidence, and avoid things that provoke anxiety, hopelessness, and fear. The essence of Buddhist practice is not so much an effort at changing your thoughts or your behavior so that you can become a better person, but in realizing that no matter what you might think about the circumstances that define your life, you’re already good, whole, and complete. It’s about recognizing the inherent potential of your mind. In other words, Buddhism is not so much concerned with getting well as with recognizing that you are, right here, right now, as whole, as good, as essentially well as you could ever hope to be.
Social action is a particular way of caring for others. The fact that human beings live together in societies is proof that we need one another’s care. Because we are all profoundly interconnected, one person’s well-being is intimately connected to the well-being of their community. If we create social systems that honour our basic interconnectedness, our society will be aligned with the reality of our existence. This will give us the basis for a society that is stable, and also supportive of human happiness.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
A meditator incapable of diligence, like a king without bodyguards, is an easy target for his enemies, laziness and the negative emotions. The battle of liberation is about to be lost. Put on the armor of diligence without delay, and do battle with indolence.
Don’t hope for a life without problems. An easy life results in a judgmental and lazy mind. So an ancient once said, “Accept the anxieties and difficulties of this life.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
The Buddhist practice of nonviolence is not merely submissiveness with a smile or meek thoughtfulness. The fundamental cause of violence is when one is fixated on an extreme idea, such as justice or morality. This fixation usually stems from a habit of buying into dualistic views, such as bad and good, ugly and beautiful, moral and immoral. One’s inflexible self-righteousness takes up all the space that would allow empathy for others. Sanity is lost. Understanding that all these views or values are compounded and impermanent, as is the person who holds them, violence is averted. When you have no ego, no clinging to the self, there is never a reason to be violent. When one understands that one’s enemies are held under a powerful influence of their own ignorance and aggression, that they are trapped by their habits, it is easier to forgive them for their irritating behavior and actions. Similarly, if someone from the insane asylum insults you, there is no point in getting angry. When we transcend believing in the extremes of dualistic phenomena, we have transcended the causes of violence.
14th Dalai Lama
Who is the enemy? Ignorance, anger, attachment, and pride are the ultimate enemies; they are not outside, but within, and must be fought with the weapons of wisdom and meditative concentration.
When we hold on to our opinions with aggression, no matter how valid our cause, we are simply adding more aggression to the planet, and violence and pain increase. Cultivating nonaggression is cultivating peace. The way to stop the war is to stop hating the enemy. It starts with seeing our opinions of ourselves and of others as simply our take on reality and not making them a reason to increase the negativity on the planet.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
On account of the strength of their Mind Training, the Kadampa Masters were always able to look on the bright side of things no matter what happened to them. Even if they contracted leprosy they would continue to be cheerful, happy in the knowledge that leprosy brings a painless death.
Of course, leprosy is one of the worst of all diseases, but we should be resolved that, even if we were to catch it, we would continue to practise the exchange of happiness for sorrow, taking upon ourselves the sufferings of all who have fallen victim to that afﬂiction.
Strengthened by this attitude, we should decide that, by virtue of the Mind Training, we will be able to take onto the path whatever difﬁcult situations arise. If we are able to do this with conﬁdence, it is a sign that we are experienced in the practice; and we will be happy come what may. In addition, we must take upon ourselves, and experience, the sufferings of others.
When others are having to endure physical and mental illness, or are confronted with all sorts of adversity, we should want to take it all upon ourselves. And we should do so without any hope or fear. ‘But if the sufferings of others really do come upon me, what shall I do? — second thoughts like this should be completely banished from our minds.
The first of Three Roots in the Vajrayana are the gurus, who are the root of blessing. Blessing refers to the power of the Dharma — that which in the Dharma is actually effective, which actually brings the result of the Dharma. Obviously, in practicing we need that effectiveness — the power or blessing of the Dharma — to enter into us. The original source of this blessing, of course, is the Buddha. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability in this life to meet him or hear his speech directly, but we do have the opportunity to practice his teachings and to attain the same result that we could have attained had we met the Buddha. This is possible because the essence of his teachings — and therefore the blessing or effectiveness of his teachings—has been passed down through the lineage, beginning with the Buddha himself and culminating with our own personal teacher or root guru.