This is something we can look at and see for ourselves. When we act with a kind heart and good motivation, without any greed or lust, without any aggression, and without any delusion, that is virtuous. If, on the other hand, we act with a bad motivation out of the greed that wants only to benefit ourselves, out of the aversion that wants to harm someone else, or out of delusion that does not know what to take up and what to give up, that is non-virtuous.
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal
Since revulsion is like the feet or the guardian of your meditation practice, you should contemplate the suffering of samsara. Keeping in your innermost mind that this life is impermanent and without lasting substance, cut worldly ties and resolve to equalize life and practice.
Since devotion is like the head or the enhancement of your meditation practice, entrust yourself fully and make sincere supplications to your guru and the lineage masters, never parting from seeing them as buddhas in person.
Since mindfulness is the watchman or heart of your meditation practice, never forsake it, not only during sessions, but also train in keeping constant company by reminding yourself of the natural state at all times and in all situations.
Make compassion the activity of your meditation practice, so that you cultivate loving kindness, compassion and bodhichitta for all sentient beings and bring them under your protection with dedication and aspiration.
The mind is like a crazy monkey, which leaps about and never stays in one place. It is completely restless and constantly paranoid about its surroundings. The training, or the meditation practice, is a way to catch this monkey, to begin with. That is the starting point.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Realizing that everything is a creation of our mind is the most important discovery; it is the fundamental enlightenment meditation. It is the best, most immediate way to solve problems, because when we realize that every problem we have comes from our own mind, there is nothing to blame on others. Even if somebody is angry at us and abuses us, it comes from our own mind. Previously we have put the entire blame on other people, thinking that all our problems came from outside, not from our own mind.
When we find that there is nothing external to blame, there is nothing for us to do except to transform our own mind, to purify our own karma. We have to purify our present impure karma, which projects these unpleasant appearances, and accumulate more merit. Since everything comes from our mind, enlightenment also has to come from our mind. Our own mind has to create englightment.
One practice that I especially like is taking mental snapshots. You can begin by closing your eyes. Then turn your head in any direction — up, down, sideways. It doesn’t matter which way. The idea is that you’re not exactly sure what you’ll see when you open your eyes. Then, abruptly open your eyes and see what’s in front of you. Almost immediately, you will revert to labeling everything, but try to observe that moment before the labeling happens. In a relaxed and open way, try to take a mental snapshot of that instant, which is empty of imputed meaning.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
No one is more agitated and anxious than the person who thinks money is everything. “How am I going to make my fortune? Then, how am I going to hold on to it?” He lives in constant fear of thieves, competitors, and catastrophes. When he ends up losing his wealth, he feels as if his own flesh were being cut off.
Look at how some people rush about night and day for the sake of their business or their career, wearing themselves out in the pursuit of success and the effort of preventing setbacks. They are suspicious of everyone and are constantly attempting to profit from their inferiors, outmatch their equals, and oust their superiors. They hardly ever enjoy a carefree, untroubled moment. What a simple joy it is not to have power or position in society and to have nothing to lose and nothing to fear!
Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts. What good is it to brood over the past and fret about the future? Dwell in the simplicity of the present moment. Live in harmony with the Dharma. Make it the heart of your life and experience. Be the master of your destiny.
This true mindfulness is the single sufficient king. We can also call that equanimity, the meditation state. Equanimity literally means “placing evenly.” What is placed evenly? It is rigpa, awareness. Placing rigpa in evenness means leaving it alone. It’s not placing it as being aware of something other. Just leave your awareness as it is, alone. It’s not a sense of nowness, nor is it a sense of the past or the future. Rather it is something which embraces past, present, and future, which embraces the nowness but is not the nowness itself.
In a dream, whatever we’re doing — walking, sitting or eating food — is all labeled by our mind. It’s all labeled by our mind, but it’s not there, it doesn’t exist at all. We can dream of winning a billion dollars in a lottery, so we go there, we get a billion dollars, we put it in our bag and the bag becomes very heavy. But when we wake up, it’s not there. It’s like that. All this — the real I, the real action, the real road, the real eating, the real food — everything is false. So, we can look at it like a dream.
Avikrita Vajra Rinpoche
We must always examine our minds in our daily life — not just through formal meditation, but even when we’re eating, sitting, walking the dog, spending time with our friends, and so on. Then, as soon as any form of attachment, anger, jealousy, or any disturbing force arises, challenge it, because these afflictive emotions cause nothing but chaos — not just in this life, but in terms of lower rebirth in the future too. No outer enemy can do that, but the inner afflictions can.
The avoidance of our inner demons — our fears of change and death, our rage and jealousy — only imbues these adversaries with greater power. The more we run away, the less chance we have of escaping. We must face suffering, move into it; only then can we become free from it.
14th Dalai Lama
In today’s highly interdependent world, individuals and nations can no longer resolve many of their problems by themselves. We need one another. We must therefore develop a sense of universal responsibility. It is our collective and individual responsibility to protect and nurture the global family, to support its weaker members, and to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.
When we connect with our heart of devotion, then, in that moment, we are connecting very powerfully, immediately, and directly with the awakened heart of the guru and the lineage, as well as our own inherently awakened state. Working with our devotion means that we are not just relying on our own efforts. We are opening ourselves to a source of blessings that is an embodiment and a reflection of our own fundamental nature.
Who ever got the idea that we could have pleasure without pain? It’s promoted rather widely in this world, and we buy it. But pain and pleasure go together; they are inseparable. They can be celebrated. They are ordinary.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Shouldn’t we all try to contemplate the inevitability of our own death at least once this lifetime? Particularly as every one of us will die – itself a crucially important piece of information. Doesn’t putting some effort into processing the inescapable fact of our own death make sense?
What should you do after you get up from your meditation session? Consider all phenomena to be like illusions or dreams. You should do all your activities of walking, sitting, eating, and lying down within that state of mind.
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye
Self and other — everything — is as a dream;
There isn’t even the slightest thing which is truly established.
When you maintain the natural state as it is
Without spoiling or fabricating your mind,
The emptiness of all inner and outer phenomena
Is realized to be the sky-like union of clarity and emptiness.
That is ultimate bodhicitta.
Migrating beings who do not realize this
Wander in saṃsāra under the influence of dualistic apprehension.
We see pixels on a screen and hear the digital reproduction of someone’s voice and think, “I see them, they see me, and we can talk.” But when you get right down to it, there is no one there. It is an electronic and therefore artificial representation we are gazing at and talking to. This may be an entertaining way to pass our time, but when we are in real emotional pain, these electronic connections fall far short of the comfort and intimacy we yearn for. It is extremely difficult for technology to transmit the basic human warmth that we all need, and that we especially seek in our moments of pain.
When you are hurt, sometimes you just want someone to hug you. A flat screen cannot hold your hand and share your pain. Even if your loneliness is relieved by a text message or a smiling face on your screen, those data bytes can never fully replace the full vividness of direct contact with someone who is present with you physically and emotionally.
Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up. We can use everything that occurs — whether it’s our conflicting emotions and thoughts or our seemingly outer situation — to show us where we are asleep and how we can wake up completely, utterly, without reservations.
What we need is to be interested and to watch, but not interfere or be caught up in what we are thinking. Don’t think of the past, don’t anticipate the future, don’t get fascinated by the present. See it as it is. Just be there with it. A thought is just a thought. An emotion is just an emotion. It is like a bubble. It will burst and another one will come up.
When we first begin to put this into practice the mind begins to split. We develop what is called the observer, the witness, the knower. This is an aspect of the mind. It is still just mind, conceptual mind, but it is a mind which is standing back and looking at what is going on, as if at a distance. In itself, this is not ultimate reality, because it is still a dualistic mind. But it is a vast improvement on the way we normally think, because it gives us the space to see a thought as a thought and an emotion as an emotion. Then we can decide whether this is a useful thought or emotion or not. We know it for what is, rather than being absorbed in it. We no longer identify with it.
If we develop this inner awareness, which is like an inner space, we can ride the waves of life. People imagine that to be a meditator you have to always live in very tranquil situations and that you are likely to be inundated if a turbulent situation arises. This is true for beginners, just as it is for someone who is learning how to surf. At the beginning, they have to stick to the small waves otherwise they will be bowled over. But an expert surfer looks for the big waves. The greater the waves, the more fun, once you have your balance. The secret is to be balanced, to be poised. To be a good surfer you need to be neither too tense nor too relaxed, just balanced. This is what we need in our practice, too.
When we develop this inner space, everything takes on a dream-like quality. Not dream-like in the sense of being sleepy, but in that it is no longer so solid, so real, so urgent. It has a quality almost like an illusion. You don’t take it quite so seriously, because you are not so totally involved in it. Now when we have that sense of stepping back and seeing life with a degree of clarity, we are able to respond to situations which arise with freshness and spontaneity, instead of our usual automatic response, which is like pressing a button on a machine. We begin to respond naturally and in an appropriate manner.
Thoughts are merely an impression of something being there. It is only when we fail to recognize the essence of this vividness that thoughts feel very concrete, if not overwhelming. However, when you look into the nature of thoughts and emotions, you will find that they only seem to exist; they have no concrete reality.