Social action is a particular way of caring for others. The fact that human beings live together in societies is proof that we need one another’s care. Because we are all profoundly interconnected, one person’s well-being is intimately connected to the well-being of their community. If we create social systems that honour our basic interconnectedness, our society will be aligned with the reality of our existence. This will give us the basis for a society that is stable, and also supportive of human happiness.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
A meditator incapable of diligence, like a king without bodyguards, is an easy target for his enemies, laziness and the negative emotions. The battle of liberation is about to be lost. Put on the armor of diligence without delay, and do battle with indolence.
Don’t hope for a life without problems. An easy life results in a judgmental and lazy mind. So an ancient once said, “Accept the anxieties and difficulties of this life.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
The Buddhist practice of nonviolence is not merely submissiveness with a smile or meek thoughtfulness. The fundamental cause of violence is when one is fixated on an extreme idea, such as justice or morality. This fixation usually stems from a habit of buying into dualistic views, such as bad and good, ugly and beautiful, moral and immoral. One’s inflexible self-righteousness takes up all the space that would allow empathy for others. Sanity is lost. Understanding that all these views or values are compounded and impermanent, as is the person who holds them, violence is averted. When you have no ego, no clinging to the self, there is never a reason to be violent. When one understands that one’s enemies are held under a powerful influence of their own ignorance and aggression, that they are trapped by their habits, it is easier to forgive them for their irritating behavior and actions. Similarly, if someone from the insane asylum insults you, there is no point in getting angry. When we transcend believing in the extremes of dualistic phenomena, we have transcended the causes of violence.
14th Dalai Lama
Who is the enemy? Ignorance, anger, attachment, and pride are the ultimate enemies; they are not outside, but within, and must be fought with the weapons of wisdom and meditative concentration.
When we hold on to our opinions with aggression, no matter how valid our cause, we are simply adding more aggression to the planet, and violence and pain increase. Cultivating nonaggression is cultivating peace. The way to stop the war is to stop hating the enemy. It starts with seeing our opinions of ourselves and of others as simply our take on reality and not making them a reason to increase the negativity on the planet.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
On account of the strength of their Mind Training, the Kadampa Masters were always able to look on the bright side of things no matter what happened to them. Even if they contracted leprosy they would continue to be cheerful, happy in the knowledge that leprosy brings a painless death.
Of course, leprosy is one of the worst of all diseases, but we should be resolved that, even if we were to catch it, we would continue to practise the exchange of happiness for sorrow, taking upon ourselves the sufferings of all who have fallen victim to that afﬂiction.
Strengthened by this attitude, we should decide that, by virtue of the Mind Training, we will be able to take onto the path whatever difﬁcult situations arise. If we are able to do this with conﬁdence, it is a sign that we are experienced in the practice; and we will be happy come what may. In addition, we must take upon ourselves, and experience, the sufferings of others.
When others are having to endure physical and mental illness, or are confronted with all sorts of adversity, we should want to take it all upon ourselves. And we should do so without any hope or fear. ‘But if the sufferings of others really do come upon me, what shall I do? — second thoughts like this should be completely banished from our minds.
The first of Three Roots in the Vajrayana are the gurus, who are the root of blessing. Blessing refers to the power of the Dharma — that which in the Dharma is actually effective, which actually brings the result of the Dharma. Obviously, in practicing we need that effectiveness — the power or blessing of the Dharma — to enter into us. The original source of this blessing, of course, is the Buddha. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability in this life to meet him or hear his speech directly, but we do have the opportunity to practice his teachings and to attain the same result that we could have attained had we met the Buddha. This is possible because the essence of his teachings — and therefore the blessing or effectiveness of his teachings—has been passed down through the lineage, beginning with the Buddha himself and culminating with our own personal teacher or root guru.
An autumn leaf floating down a river doesn’t change its color, and it doesn’t struggle with the river. It goes along with it. This has a natural effect, because the brook or the river has never carried such an autumn leaf before. It takes people off guard when you don’t react to them. You don’t fight back when they attack you, but you just remain as an autumn leaf, whatever they do. This is the gentle way of working.
We can also experience a sense of closeness and connectedness to animals or to nature. I think the feelings of closeness we have towards the earth or to animals can be qualitatively the same as what we feel towards other human beings. In fact, it might actually be easier for us to feel close to animals or nature, precisely because we have made human relationships so complicated. Like human babies, animals are genuinely straightforward and authentic. Animals do not play the manipulative games that adult human beings have become so adept at playing with one another. They do not engage in that sort of pretense. We can train ourselves to shake the habits of deception and manipulation that creep into our human relationships, but this will take a conscious and concerted effort. With animals, we can experience that naturally, right now. For many people, their relationship to a pet can serve as an important source of closeness and love.
In order to be sure that a certain person is not present, you must
know the absent person. Likewise, in order to be certain of the
meaning of “selflessness” or “the lack of intrinsic existence,” you
must carefully identify the self, or intrinsic nature, that does not
exist. For, if you do not have a clear concept of the object to be ne
gated, you will also not have accurate knowledge of its negation.
For Santideva’s Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds says:
Without contacting the entity that is imputed
You will not apprehend the absence of that entity.
There is limitless diversity among objects of negation, but they
come together at the root; when you refute this, you refute all ob
jects of negation. Moreover, if you leave some remainder, fail
ing to refute the deepest and most subtle core of the object of nega
tion, then you will fall to an extreme of true existence. You will cling
to the idea of real things, whereby you will not be able to escape
cyclic existence. If you fail to limit the object of negation and over
extend your refutation, then you will lose confidence in the causal
progressions of dependent-arising, thereby falling to a nihilistic
extreme. This nihilistic view will lead you to rebirth in a miserable
realm. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the object of negation care
fully, for if it is not identified, you will certainly develop either a
nihilistic view or an eternalistic view.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Within the dharmakaya which pervades like space,
The sambhogakaya is distinctly manifest like the light of the sun,
And the nirmanakaya accomplishes the welfare of beings like a rainbow.
I know all the details of karma, but I do not really believe in it.
I have heard a lot of Dharma, but never put it into practice.
Bless me and evil-doers like me
That our minds may mingle with the Dharma.
Things happen to us all the time that open up the space. This spaciousness, this wide-open, unbiased, unprejudiced space is inexpressible and fundamentally good and sound. It’s like the sky. Whenever you’re in a hot spot or feeling uncomfortable, whenever you’re caught up and don’t know what to do, you can find someplace where you can go and look at the sky and experience some freshness, free of hope and fear, free of bias and prejudice, just completely open. And this is accessible to us all the time. Space permeates everything, every moment of our lives.
Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche
If we are honest with ourselves, we know from our own experience that the more we try to find solutions to our problems through thinking about them, the more we start going around in circles, sometimes interminably. Buddhism counsels us to resist being abused by our conflicting emotions and to let go of excessive thinking. Emotions can be expressed in an unhealthy, self-destructive manner or in a healthy and constructive fashion. Similarly, we can think in a self-destructive, confused way, which reinforces our negative habits, or we can think in a constructive way. Buddhism emphasizes that overindulgence in conflicting emotions and distorted forms of thinking only reinforces our old habits, which solidifies our karmic tendencies even further.
In the teachings of the vajrayana, it is clearly taught that once someone attains full liberation, they do not become nothing. The process of purification finally reveals, and therefore there remains, an enduring wisdom that is of the nature of nonconceptual compassion.
14th Dalai Lama
How do we go about implementing in our daily lives the principles which are stipulated in the practice of the Six Perfections? Buddhism recommends living one’s life within the ethical discipline of observance of what are known as the Ten Precepts, or Avoidance of the Ten Negative Actions. Most of the Negative Actions are common denominators of all religious traditions. They are seen as negative or undesirable for society in general, regardless of any religious point of view.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Once one has realized the nature of things, one no longer hopes to attain Buddhahood, neither is one apprehensive that one might not obtain it. One simply remains in the even state of all-pervading peace in which all notions of subject and object have been freed in their own sphere.
When Shakyamuni Buddha expounded his wisdom to people to show them the noble and profound ways they could conduct their lives, his intention was not to impress them with how much he knew or how well he could express himself. It was because of his infinitely compassionate concern for the benefit and liberation of all beings without exception, that he revealed the way of liberation from all suffering. Like the love of a mother who cherishes her only child, this was the loving-kindness of the Buddha’s teaching.
Temples and stupas — buildings that house sacred relics — reflect the heart and mind of the Buddha. Respecting outside forms of Buddha nourishes our own innate wisdom. Yet the true buddha, the awakened essence of mind, exists within each one of us.