I understand that there is no self, but still have gross concepts of “I.”
I have decided to renounce duality, but am beset by hopes and fears.
Bless me and all those like me who believe in a self
That we may realize the natural state, the absence of self.
Master Padma said: When practicing the Dharma there are seven types of corruption.
The lady asked: What are they?
The master said: if your faith is small while your intelligence is great, you become corrupted by considering yourself a teacher.
If you have many listeners while your self-regard is high, you become corrupted by considering yourself a spiritual friend.
If you assume superior qualities while not having taken the Dharma to heart, you become corrupted by considering yourself a leader.
If you give oral instructions while not practicing them yourself, you become corrupted by being an insensitive “Dharma expert.”
If you are fond of senseless babble while lacking the Dharma in your heart, you become corrupted by being a craving charlatan yogi.
If you have little learning while lacking the oral instructions, you become corrupted by being a commoner though your faith may be great.
A genuine practitioner who acts in accordance with the true teachings should liberate his being with intelligence, tame his mind with faith, cut misconceptions with listening to teachings, cast away social concerns, mingle his mind with the Dharma, perfect his knowledge with learning and reflecting, resolve his mind with the oral instructions, and gain final certainty through the view and meditation. That, however, is difficult.
When the mind is at peace,
the world too is at peace.
Nothing real, nothing absent.
Not holding on to reality,
not getting stuck in the void,
you are neither holy nor wise,
just an ordinary person who has completed their work.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
If we have both mindfulness and awareness, when the mind is wild and distracted, thinking only about worldly things, we should think that until now we have been caught up in the suffering of samsara, and realize how useless everything is that we do in that regard. If the mind is spoiled by being caught up in that way, there will be no way to become free from the suffering of the three lower realms. If the mind is not spoiled, our bliss and happiness will increase, just like that of the exalted ones. Thinking of that, we should try to heal the mind. In the beginning, it is very difficult to control, but gradually, as we get used to doing so, it becomes easier.
The basis of the mahayana practice differs from the hinayana in that one does not practice abandonment, rejection, etc. Instead, in mahayana, one deals with one’s behavior in a manner of transformation. For example, if the desire to harm another sentient being arises on the crest of a wave of great anger, then one immediately applies the antidote of compassion; the energy of the anger is thereby transformed into compassion. One does not deal with an emotion simply by cutting it off; rather, one uses compassion to transform it on the basis of its inherent insubstantiality.
In their ignorance, sentient beings think all that they experience is real, and their misconception entails their experiencing a great deal of suffering. Ones sees that all sentient beings are experiencing the illusory manifestations of the three bodies (the fully ripened, the habitual tendency, and the mental bodies), and that they are completely locked in these illusions. Recognizing the habitual clinging of these three categories of sentient phenomena as being only illusory appearance, then one recognizes emptiness.
By recognizing that one’s delusion and habitual clinging cause suffering, an intense compassion can arise. The recognition of emptiness itself is referred to as wisdom, and the arising compassion is referred to by the term means. The path of recognizing the emptiness of these three categories of phenomena, and of developing compassion for all those experiencing such delusion, is the path of mahayana, and this path has its pinnacle in the union of means and wisdom.
It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view. When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before. Its never too late to take a moment to look.
Living in a society should be our daily reminder of how much we receive from and owe to one another. A clear awareness of this debt for the kindness we receive from others can provide a stable foundation for engagement in social service or activism. Our actions can be grounded in the simple wish to care for others as we ourselves have been cared for by the world.
It can be difficult to accept others and to accept ourselves. “I should be better. I should be something different. I should have more.” All of this is conception; it’s all mental fabrication. It’s just the mind churning up “shoulds,” “ought tos,” and “supposed tos.” All this is conceptual rubbish, and yet we believe it. Part of the solution is to recognize that these thoughts are conceptual rubbish and not reality; this gives us the mental space not to believe them. When we stop believing them, it becomes much easier to accept what we are at any given moment, knowing we will change in the next moment. We’ll be able to accept what others are in one moment, knowing that they will be different in the next moment. This is good stuff for everyday practice; it’s very practical.
14th Dalai Lama
The success of our lives and our future depends on our motivation and determination or self-confidence. Through difficult experiences, life sometimes becomes more meaningful. If you look at people who, from the beginning of their lives, have had everything, you may see that when small things happen they soon lose hope or grow irritated. Others have developed stronger mental attitudes as a result of their hardships.
Don’t seek profit over and above what your work is worth. Acquiring false profit makes a fool (of oneself). So an ancient once said, “Be rich in honesty.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
We want to understand ourselves, the world around us, and what it means to be alive on Earth. We want to discover who we really are, and we want to understand our suffering. Understanding our suffering gives rise to acceptance and love, and this is what determines our quality of life. We all need to be understood and to be loved. And we all want to understand and to love.
Nowadays we all boast that we are Dharma practitioners, but we have not severed our attachment to the things of this life, we have not turned our minds away from cyclic existence, we have not relinquished even the smallest of our desires — for friends and relations, entourage, servants, food and clothes, pleasant conversation, and the like. As a result, any positive activities we undertake are not really effective. Our minds and the Dharma go different ways.
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 measure and assess. In this way, the guru is like a horizon between wisdom and method, myth and truth, science and faith.
7th Dalai Lama
Your mind absorbed in bliss and void inseparable, the flow of life appears as a rainbow. One body endlessly sending forth clouds of emanations to set this world ablaze with joy.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
It is not enough to strive for the higher teachings and ignore the real substance of the Dharma, which is a change in attitude. unless we can change our hearts at a deep and profound level, the samsaric traits of our personality will all remain and we will still be seduced by appearances. As long as our mind is fickle, it is easy to become carried away in the chase for power and wealth or the pursuit of beautiful objects, in concerns of business and politics, in intrigues and deceit. It is easy to become an insensitive practitioner who cannot be ‘cured’ or changed by the Dharma.
Everyone has dimensions to their mind that are luminous, spacious, and empty. The issue is whether we recognize these aspects or not. Liberation arises only with recognition, not just from having these natural qualities.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
There are innumerable beings wandering in saṃsāra, completely lost and all in desperate need of your help. Since they have all been your loving parents at one time or another in the past, you must help them. But how? Even if you could provide all of them with money and comfort, that would only bring them an incomplete and short-lived respite from their suffering. Reflect deeply; of all the possible ways to help them, there could be no gift more beneficial than the gift of the Dharma, for that is something that will not only help them in this life but also free them from future rebirths in the lower realms and finally lead them to enlightenment.
Infants and young children naturally and spontaneously reveal what they feel. They are not held back by inhibitions or enmeshed in habits of deception. One effect of babies’ naturalness is that people feel affection towards them, and this kindness that others show them is necessary for their survival. We find small children adorable and loveable, and we are therefore willing to take care of their needs. People stop to admire them and want to caress and hold them. If they cry, we want to discover why so we can give them whatever they lack. When humans are very young, we are naturally open and straightforward. If a small child sees another playing at something, he or she might walk straight up and join the other in the play. Children unselfconsciously wave at people in passing trains or cars. They do not doubt others’ intentions or seek to deceive them.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
If your mind is always filled with the intention to benefit others, then, no matter what your actions may look like on the surface, the application bodhichitta will take care of itself. If you can maintain this attitude of bodhichitta, not only will you never stray from the path, you will also definitely make progress along it. When your body, speech, and mind are completely saturated with the wish to help all sentient beings, when your aim both for others and for yourself is perfect Buddhahood, then even the smallest action, a single recitation of the maṇi or a single prostration, will swiftly and surely bring the fulfillment of your goal.
When we watch a television program, we have no trouble identifying places, persons, animals, mountains, and so on. Through becoming involved with the program, we identify with what we are seeing and begin to feel an emotional response. Actually what we are looking at are not places, persons, animals, or mountains, but points of light on a tube in a little box. The confusion that is necessary to enjoy a television program is similar to bewilderment or ignorance, where the very vividness or intensity of the images of the mind’s lucidity overpowers the mind.