Quote Archives: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The guru is like the horizon ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Here, in this book, I will try to show that the guru is actually like the horizon. A horizon is apparent — a line where earth and sky appear to meet. But in reality, they never meet. There is only an illusion of an ending point, a point of reference where we can stand and […]

Sooner or later, you will have to check ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

When you check into a hotel you don’t immediately start thinking that you’ll spend eternity with the managers, maids, and waiters. Your home, your friends, your ideals and values are just part of a hotel experience. Sooner or later, you will have to check out and leave them all behind. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Not doing anything ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Meditation is one of the rare occasions when we’re not doing anything. Otherwise, we’re always doing something, we’re always thinking something, we’re always occupied. We get lost in millions of obsessions and fixations. But by meditating – by not doing anything – all these fixations are revealed and our obsessions will naturally undo themselves like […]

Aspire to aspire ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Aspire not only to understand the Dharma intellectually, but to understand it experientially. Aspire to embody ultimate and relative bodhichitta, so that it’s not just your good looks, knowledge and political clout that attract and magnetize sentient beings. Aspire to create connections with people – even those who catch no more than a glimpse of […]

Why can’t the Guru be perfect? ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Why are our human gurus so apparently fallible? Why can’t they be perfect like the Buddha? A human guru will often exhibit some of the inherent flaws and imperfections that we also struggle with, but as a result he or she will be a far more effective teacher than a “perfect” guru. Ironically, it’s human […]

Advice on selecting a guru ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

It’s recommended that beginners do a thorough background check of the guru in question — listening to the stories that follow a particular guru around, reading books and other literature, evaluating his or her social media. Also, don’t limit your search to just one guru; leave the mind open to other options, apparent or unseen. […]

Seeing a student’s potential ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

A guru should be able to see a student’s potential and know that any negative quality the student exhibits can be transformed and that therefore that student is a worthy recipient of aspiration. There should be no competition, no preference for some students to get enlightened faster; it’s not a race. If the guru judges […]

Fearlessness ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Fear and anxiety are the dominant psychological states of the human mind. Behind the fear lies a constant longing to be certain. We are afraid of the unknown. The mind’s craving for confirmation is rooted in our fear of impermanence. Fearlessness is generated when you can appreciate uncertainty, when you have faith in the impossibility […]

Mind-made illusions ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

While practising or performing dharma activities, we must remain constantly aware that everything we do is illusory—or at least try to bring that thought to mind. If we prick our flesh, our logical mind tells us we will feel pain. The pain itself will feel real because the idea that phenomena are both solid and […]

The Worst Forms of Abuse Award ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

When people talk about bad gurus, they often focus on moral and ethical failings involving sexual abuse and alcohol. Alcohol is harmful in many ways, especially if the alcoholic is a guru. Not only does it harm the guru, but because this person is supposed to set an example and be a model for the […]

Bound by practicality ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Siddhartha was right to think that teaching would be no easy task. In a world that is driven by greed, pride, and materialism, even teaching basic principles such as love, compassion, and philanthropy is very difficult, let alone the ultimate truth of emptiness. We are stuck with our short-term thinking and bound by practicality. For […]

Merely the product of your own perception ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The classic question students often ask at this point is, “If everything I experience is just a product of my mind, is there such a thing as ‘accumulating merit’?” In this context, the concept that merit either exists or does not exist is just another of mind’s constructions. At first, it may be difficult to […]

Good gurus are on the verge of extinction ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

It’s almost impossible to find a guru in this world at this time who has all the noble qualities of a Vajrayana master described in the ancient tantric texts. But in the Mahayana sutras the Buddha offered advice about what to do if we can’t find an authentic master. He said if you encounter a […]

A different interpretation of austerity ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

People sometimes think twice about getting onto a spiritual path because they worry about having to give up so much. There is this feeling like, “I can’t be a good Dharma practitioner because I like to have sex, I want good food, I want to have money in the bank, and I don’t want to […]

The real source of fear is not knowing ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

When you begin to notice the damage that emotions can do, awareness develops. When you have awareness — for example, if you know that you are on the edge of a cliff — you understand the dangers before you. You can still go ahead and do as you were doing; walking on a cliff with […]

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 […]

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 […]

Skillful Guru ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

It’s not always easy to know what skills a guru has. Some very academic gurus can tell you which page number you should read in which edition of a text, and can remember exact dates. This is impressive if you are a university student, but if you’re following a spiritual path, it may not be […]

Famous unintentionally ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

These days, Buddhist lamas and institutions are cultivating fame by blatantly branding themselves with logos and stickers and lapel pins. People have even hinted that in Kathmandu event coordinators hire people to wait in a crowd at the airport arrivals area to create a more impressive greeting when certain lamas are arriving. In Bhutan and […]

As if for the last time ~ 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. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche