Except for not putting forth the necessary exertion, there is no reason whatsoever why we cannot achieve complete enlightenment. Because we have this nature that allows for enlightenment to be achieved, we should never think, “I could practice forever and it won’t do any good.”
It is a very powerful thing that we could be by doing nothing. In fact, we be by not being. Struggle does not play an important part in order to exist. We don’t have to strategize further ways of maintaining ourselves or existing ourselves.
When we sip our tea or coffee, start our car, enter a shop, or exchange greetings with someone while out for a stroll, we are enjoying those experiences as a direct result of interdependence. All these moments bear direct witness to the workings of interdependence. Such daily occurrences are a continuous procession of opportunities to recognize that others are indispensable to our well-being.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
For a bodhisattva who has realized emptiness, the number of beings to be liberated and the time it might take to liberate them arouse feelings neither of discouragement nor of pride. Dawning freely in your enlightened mind is an all-inclusive compassion, devoid of all concepts of subject and object. Having realized the sameness of self and others, you remain as unchanging as primordial space.
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal
Elevate your experience and remain wide open like the sky.
Expand your mindfulness and remain pervasive like the earth.
Steady your attention and remain unshakable like a mountain.
Brighten your awareness and remain shining like a flame.
Clear your thoughtfree wakefulness and remain lucid like a crystal.
As you begin your practice, think something like “breath, the door of my heart is open to you no matter how you feel, no matter what you do.” You will soon be looking at your breathing with compassion, embracing it as it is instead of finding fault.
Even though you experience transcendence,
and cultivate the spirit of enlightenment,
without wisdom from realizing emptiness,
you cannot cut off the root of the cyclic life —
so you should strive to understand relativity.
Before, you didn’t know how to practice, and then you did. Many things changed as a result. Maybe you had no confidence in Dharma, and then you came to have confidence. You had no devotion, and then you came to have devotion. You came to have more compassion than you did before. Your meditation improved. Now, none of these things were precisely given to you by your root guru, but nevertheless something happens surrounding your relationship with the root guru, and this is what we call the blessing of the guru.
Outwardly, relax clinging to objects! Inwardly, give up clinging to the body! Secretly, loosen clinging to mind! Tighten with intensity, and then gently relax! The tightening is the method, and the loosening is the wisdom! Introduction to the nature of mind by the Lama is like that, as well!
What, then, is emptiness? All phenomena from form through omniscience are, from the outset, not established whatsoever as any extreme elaboration such as existent, nonexistent, arisen, ceased, permanent, impermanent, empty, not empty, true, or false. To that lack of establishment, mere conventional terms such as “emptiness” and “suchness” are given. It is nothing more than that. This emptiness — that conventionally all phenomena are empty of their own entities — is the natural being (rang bab/rang babs), the abiding mode, of all knowable objects. Resting in equipoise within it is the antidote to all obscurations. It is the sun that conquers the darkness of wrong views, the supreme medicine that clears away the snake poison of reification, the essential nectar of the Buddha’s teachings. Everyone who sincerely desires liberation and omniscience should engage it through applying great effort in hearing, contemplating, and meditating.
14th Dalai Lama
On the whole, we naturally tend to trust our everyday perceptions; we assume their validity without it even occurring to us to question them. We naïvely believe that the way we perceive things is identical with the way things are. And so, because events and things, including the self, appear to have objective reality, we conclude, tacitly and often without any reflection at all, that they do in fact have an objective reality. Only through the process of careful analysis can we see that this is not so, that our perceptions do not accurately reflect objective reality.
Whoever sees me as form, whoever knows me as sound, has wrongly engaged by abandoning, those beings do not see me.
The buddhas are dharmatā viewed; the guides are the dharmakāya.
Since dharmatā is not to be known, it is unable to be known.
Over the years, we may have done a lot of spiritual practice, performing prostrations, making offerings, and meditating on the yidam deities, and we hope that blessings will come to us from doing all this. Yet we have neither tamed nor transformed our minds. The fundamental reason for our lack of progress is that we do not know the essential point of how to practice the Dharma. What is the real way to practice? How is it that Dharma turns into true Dharma? The key point is that actual practice happens through reversing our attachment to samsara.
No matter what kind of thought arises, simply recognize that in essence it is always intangible, ungraspable; then no matter what kind of thought arises, it will subside and you will no longer be overcome by it.
The root of all that exists,
Samsara and nirvana, is one’s own mind.
Primordially, mind is emptiness.
Merge into the sky-like absolute expanse,
Empty, luminous, beyond clinging.
Outside, inside; eyes open or closed,
Day, night; asleep or awake:
During practice, after practice,
Continuously, without wavering,
Merge completely with this vibrant, sky-like state.
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 what you need. What you need is someone who can actually turn knowledge like that into something useful for your path, someone who can teach you how to learn. A guru must also have the skill to work with your temporary defilements, because even though the defilements are temporary, they have existed since beginningless time, and they will not be easy to eliminate.
To actualize the blessedness of meditation you should practice with pure intention and firm determination. Your meditation room should be clean and quiet. Do not dwell in thoughts of good or bad. Just relax and forget that you are meditating. Do not desire realization since that thought will keep you confused.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Milarepa said: ‘My religion is to have nothing to be ashamed of when I die.’ But the majority of people do not give any importance to this way of thinking. We pretend to be very calm and subdued and are full of sweet words, so that ordinary people, not knowing our thoughts, say, ‘This is a real Bodhisattva.’ But it is only our outward behaviour that they see. The important thing is not to do anything that we might have to regret later on. Therefore we should examine ourselves honestly.
7th Dalai Lama
If there is a way to become free from misery, one should use each moment to achieve it. Only the fool wants more pain: A melancholy scene, knowingly eating poison.
Be kind to yourself as you proceed along this journey. This kindness, in itself, is a means of awakening the spark of love within you and helping others to discover that spark within themselves.