Right Diligence ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The practice of mindful living should be joyful and pleasant. If you breathe in and out and feel joy and peace, that is Right Diligence. If you suppress yourself, if you suffer during your practice, it probably is not Right Diligence. Examine your practice. See what brings you joy and happiness of a sustained kind.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The main cause of the Great way is compassion ~ Sakya Trizin

There are three main practices: Love, Compassion and enlightenment-mind. Love means that you wish every sentient being in all the six realms of existence to be happy, and compassion is the wish that all beings in suffering should part from suffering. The enlightenment-mind means the wish to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. These three are very important. Without love and compassion, the enlightenment mind will not arise and, without the enlightenment mind, you cannot attain enlightenment, so therefore love and compassion are necessary. But of these, compassion is of particular importance. It is said to be the seed of the Great Way in the beginning, then the water that makes the crops grow, and finally it is the ripening of the fruit. So, clearly, compassion being in the beginning, the middle and the end, it is very important. Thus, when Chandrakirti wrote the Madhyamakavatara, he preceded it with homage to compassion. “The Buddha,” he said, “arises from the Bodhisattva and the Bodhisattva is born out of love and compassion, but especially out of compassion.” The main cause of the Great way is compassion.

Sakya Trizin

Ego-grasping death comes before life ~ Mingyur Rinpoche

In the conventional view, life comes before death. In the wisdom view, ego-grasping death comes before life.

Mingyur Rinpoche

Fixation ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

The problems we face with appearances and all of the suffering we experience as a result of appearances is not because of the appearances themselves but because of our fixation on them. It is our fixation upon appearances which turns appearances into enemies. Because these appearances are just appearances, they are just what appears to us; so if we have no fixation on them, they will not bring any suffering.

Thrangu Rinpoche

Genuine compassion ~ 14th Dalai Lama

Compassion involves a feeling of closeness to others, a respect and affection that is not based on others’ attitude toward us. We tend to feel affection for people who are important to us. That kind of close feeling does not extend to our enemies—those who think ill of us. Genuine compassion, on the other hand, sees that others, just like us, want a happy and successful life and do not want to suffer. That kind of feeling and concern can be extended to friend and enemy alike, regardless of their feelings toward us. That’s genuine compassion.

14th Dalai Lama

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 have a different perception. If you know life is impermanent, you see things differently. When your annoying friend is suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer, your perception changes. If we learn to accept, even in a limited way, that everything is subject to our perception, then pure perception of the guru is more achievable. Coupled with pure perception, guru devotion has nothing to do with being a sycophant. It’s really about exercising your own perception.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

See the difference ~ Shantideva

Is there need for lengthy explanation?
Childish beings look out for themselves,
While Buddhas labor for the good of others.
See the difference that divides them!

Shantideva

Religious freedom is an innate right ~ 17th Karmapa

Spiritual practice must be a way for each of us as, an individual in touch with our own mind, to give meaning to our life and come to an understanding of the fundamental meaning and value of our life. Having access to a religious tradition should feel like an opportunity to explore our inner world and develop our spiritual values, and not like something that has been imposed upon us. Religious leaders have the responsibility, therefore, to make people aware of this inner search and also to present the fact that religious freedom is an innate right, and not something that can be given or withheld.

17th Karmapa

Confusing Charisma with Wisdom ~ Jack Kornfield

Another source of spiritual misunderstanding is our confusion of charisma with true wisdom. Certain spiritual leaders possess the ability to evoke extraordinary states. Amplified by our hopes, feelings of bliss and transcendence arise easily around these charismatic ministers, priests, Zen masters, mystics, rabbis, and gurus. It is easy to mistake such spiritual powers as definite signs of wisdom or enlightenment or divine love. We forget that power and charisma are just power and charisma, that these energies can just as easily serve demagogues, politicians, and entertainers.

It is possible for someone to be charismatic but not wise. Conversely, wisdom is not necessarily flashy or powerful – it can manifest in a humble and simple heart, and in the most ordinary-seeming of lives. In communities where special spiritual power is highly valued, students should take special care: when secret teachings or ancient lineages are evoked, when one group is chosen to be saved or awakened above all others in the world, spiritual communities are ripe for becoming cults. This does not always happen, of course, but it is particular risk within the blinding arena of charisma. Wise traditions include safeguards against such misuse, often by the creation of a network of elders, respected teachers able to watch over one another’s spiritual condition and behavior.

Jack Kornfield

Supplication and devotion ~ Sera Khandro

Respectfully supplicating the master enables us
To cast away self-cherishing pride.
Devotedly praying to our masters enables us
To discard the aggression that comes from attachment and aversion.
Respectfully supplicating the master enables us
To cast away jealousy coming from competitiveness.
Devotedly praying to our masters enables us
To discard wrong views coming from our disturbing emotions.

Sera Khandro

Becoming unstuck ~ Pema Chödron

We hear a lot about the pain of samsara, and we also hear about liberation. But we don’t hear much about how painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality, like changing our DNA. We are undoing a pattern that is not just our pattern. It’s the human pattern.

Pema Chödron

Basic decency ~ Chögyam Trungpa

If you have awareness in whatever you do, you always have a sense of basic decency. You do not cheat. You do not do things just because they are traditional, and you don’t just do something this year simply because you did it last year. You always try to practice your discipline as genuinely and honestly as possible — to the point where the honesty and genuineness begin to hurt.

Chögyam Trungpa

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 feet and tie up the guru’s shoelaces. It’s fine when the Bhutanese do this when among themselves, but making a display of it in front of someone who is just beginning to be inspired by the Buddha’s teaching is unskillful. The newcomers may not necessarily be open to the path of seeming sycophants.

We are in an age where we need to inspire people in a very different way. Creating situations that put people off from the tantric wisdom tradition is so unfortunate. So watch your behavior: you may be the direct cause of breaking a connection to a potentially good student.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

A thing you call the self ~ Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

From time to time try to look for a singular thing you call the self. You will see continuous movement, atmospheric moods coming and going like weather, ideas flickering but not really staying in any one particular place, and although they arise vividly – sometimes with intensity – all this experience will elude you when you search for it. As hard as you try, you won’t be able to identify where the self ends and the world begins. In other words, there is just this continuous dance between what you may identify as your outer and inner worlds but you will not be able to separate them or say they are the same. “You” will not be able to identify a singular, permanent, or independent self.

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Individualism or interdependence ~ 17th Karmapa

Put simply, we can see ourselves as independent individuals or we can acknowledge our interdependence on one another and on the planet. A great deal is at stake in which of these two views — individualism or interdependence — we choose to adopt. We experience our lives differently, we relate to others differently, and the very society we create differs based on whether we believe ourselves to be fundamentally separable and independent, or fundamentally connected and interdependent.

It is not that one of these two paradigms is absolutely bad and the other good. However, I feel that greater opportunities derive from seeing ourselves as interdependent, or interconnected. In the end, the individualistic view places more limits on us than interdependence. When we experience ourselves as interconnected in infinite ways to others, we have many options as to how we can relate. By contrast, adopting individualism as our path in life leads us to compare our personal situation to that of other individuals, as if we were separate entities. In such comparisons, one or the other always come up short. We then end up striving to make sure we are not on the losing end of the comparison.”

17th Karmapa

Without rushing toward the future ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Ego’s indoctrination ~ Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Many people are afraid of being brainwashed by religion. But there is no fear of brainwashing in Buddhism; we know we are already brainwashed by ego. Because ego does nothing but create pain and suffering, Buddhism is about getting unbrainwashed. It’s about waking up from this hypnotic state of subservience to ego. Through meditation and self-reflection, our own awareness bears witness to ego’s “indoctrination”.

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Essence of mind ~ Mipham Rinpoche

What we call “essence of mind” is the actual face of unconditioned pure awareness, which is recognised through receiving the guru’s blessings and instructions. If you wonder what this is like, it is empty in essence, beyond conceptual reference; it is cognisant by nature, spontaneously present; and it is all-pervasive and unobstructed in its compassionate energy. This is the rigpa in which the three kayas are inseparable.

Mipham Rinpoche

Connecting to your breath ~ Sharon Salzberg

Connecting to your breath when thoughts or images arise is like spotting a friend in a crowd: You don’t have to shove everyone else aside or order them to go away; you just direct your attention, your enthusiasm, your interest toward your friend.

Sharon Salzberg

True teachers ~ Jigme Lingpa

True teachers who do not deceive on the supreme path, are like great ships that rescue beings from the ocean of existence. They are like rain of nectar that covers the flames of karma and defilements. And they are like the sun and moon that dispels the darkness of ignorance.

Jigme Lingpa