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.
Homage to great, unchanging rigpa!
In the view, king-like pure awareness,
Let meditation settle, beyond position or bias,
And, as action, let duality and delusion be destroyed.
The fruition is the already perfect three kāyas,
Beyond samaya commitments involving acceptance and rejection.
Thus, the king of nakedly seen awareness
Is sealed with the samayas of view, meditation, action and fruition.
We are in many ways creatures of habit. If we live within certain conditions long enough, they come to seem natural to us. But if we had lived in different conditions, they would seem equally natural. Looking at the cultural, religious, or material conditions that others have become habituated to may make us feel that they must be totally different from us, but we are just mistaking something circumstantial for something essential. It is largely an accident of our birth and our life circumstances that we have come to find certain conditions familiar and others alien or distant. It is not an indication of anything essentially other or different about us.
Beyond any superficial circumstantial factors that differentiate us, all living beings share a much deeper common ground, as I discussed in the previous chapter. Buddhism identifies this deeper ground as the wish to be happy and the longing for freedom from suffering. This fundamental inner condition lies at the very core of our existence. Our apparent physical and circumstantial differences are relatively unimportant and shallow, compared to the more important — and much more foundational — level of reality on which we all stand.
Focusing on this deeper level can help us to access a sense of closeness and shared experience — of all being in it together. With this as our starting point, we can explore our particular conditions without experiencing them as a gulf that separates us.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
If you have great devotion, seeing the teacher as the Buddha himself, and maintain a lofty inner view while keeping your external conduct completely down to earth, all the qualities of experience and realization will grow effortlessly. Experiences and realization in fact come through the spontaneous devotion you have to your teacher, so when they occur, they are truly due to the teacher’s kindness.
The Buddha meditated for six years, Bodhidharma for nine. The practice of meditation is not a method for the attainment of realization – it is enlightenment itself.
Subhūti, I know with clairvoyance that in the past period, during five hundred lifetimes, I was the rishi called ‘Preacher of Patience’; even then there did not arise in me the discrimination as a self; there did not arise the discrimination as a sentient being, discrimination as a living being, discrimination as a person. Subhūti, therefore, the bodhisattva mahāsattva, completely abandoning all discrimination, should generate the mind for unsurpassed perfectly complete enlightenment. One should generate the mind not abiding in form. One should generate the mind not abiding in sound, smell, taste, tactility, or phenomena. On should generate the mind not abiding in non-phenomena either. One should generate the mind not abiding in anything whatsoever. Why is that? Because that itself which is abiding does not abide. Therefore, the Tathāgata taught, ‘The bodhisattva should give gifts not abiding.’
Ho! The atiyoga of natural perfection! Dzogchen Ati!
The Great Perfection, in its unbiased inclusivity,
actualizes the meaning of self-sprung awareness;
as the lion overawes all other beasts with his roar,
so the language of Great Perfection commands the gradual approaches;
speaking a tongue of its own, it engenders its own ultimate meaning.
The land of natural perfection is free of buddhas and sentient beings;
the ground of natural perfection is free of good and bad;
the path of natural perfection has no length;
the fruition of natural perfection can neither be avoided nor attained;
the body of natural perfection is neither existent nor nonexistent;
the speech of natural perfection is neither sacred nor profane;
and the mind of natural perfection has no substance nor attribute.
The space of natural perfection cannot be consumed nor voided;
the status of natural perfection is neither high nor low;
the praxis of natural perfection is neither developed nor neglected;
the potency of natural perfection is neither fulfilled nor frustrated;
the display of natural perfection is neither manifest nor latent;
the actuality of natural perfection is neither cultivated nor ignored;
and the gnosis of natural perfection is neither visible nor invisible.
The hidden awareness of natural perfection is everywhere,
its parameters beyond indication,
its actuality incommunicable;
the sovereign view of natural perfection is the here-and-now,
naturally present without speech or books,
irrespective of conceptual clarity or dullness,
but as spontaneous joyful creativity
its reality is nothing at all.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
The self-arisen wisdom, which is also called bodhichitta, is not something that has been fabricated, a new product created by the conjunction of causes and conditions. It never has changed, never changes, and never will change. The absolute nature remains what it is, perfectly pure, at all times. Even if it appears obscured for impure beings at the start of the path, it has never actually been obscured. If it seems to be a mixture of pure and impure during the course of the path, it in fact always remains pure. And at the time of the result, perfect enlightenment, it is simply the same ground nature made evident and not something new that was not there before. So even though all the hallucinations that make up existence fall like rain from the sky, it cannot affect one’s confidence: the kinglike bodhichitta that is the doer-of-everything will never be stained or dampened.
If you spend the present meaninglessly and leave with empty hands,
People of Tingri, a human life in the future will be very hard to find.
Outwardly, practise according to the sutras,
Be meticulous about cause and effect, and what you adopt or avoid.
Inwardly, practise according to the unsurpassable secret mantra,
It is important to combine generation and completion.
Secretly, practise according to the great secret Atiyoga,
And gain liberation in a body of light within a single lifetime.
Only when we have a genuine, abiding desire to free ourselves from suffering and all its causes does our spiritual journey begin. That original desire is very potent and very real. It is the basis upon which we enter the path that will lead us to our goal. Yet from the point of view of the Vajrayana, or tantric, school of Buddhism, there is no place to go on that path, no end of the road where we will one day satisfy our thirst for liberty. Why? Because the very thing that we are looking for — freedom, wakefulness, enlightenment — is right here with us all the time.