Sunday, July 30, 2006

There isn't a single one of us who has never felt hostile and angry

There isn't a single one of us who has never felt hostile and angry, so we know about the effects of anger. Does it make us feel better or worse? It stirs us up, makes us miserable and destroys our tranquillity. It is quite easy to recognize anger as a foe and to see how it harms us because its destructiveness is apparent. But we find it much harder and are also reluctant to acknowledge the harm done by attachment because it is a foe masquerading as a friend. When desire or attachment first arises, it feels quite pleasurable but eventually it lands us in trouble. It wants to possess what it has fabricated and we reach out for something which, in fact, does not exist. Failure to get what we want frustrates us and anger quickly follows. The third of the poisons, confusion or ignorance, simply stimulates desire and anger and lies at the root of all the disturbing emotions. --from Eight Verses for Training the Mind by Geshe Sonam Rinchen, translated and edited by Ruth Sonam, published by Snow Lion Publications

Friday, July 28, 2006

When the mind is realized

When the mind is realized, that is the buddha. Meditate with the recognition that there is nowhere else to seek the buddha.

--Wisdom of the Passing Moment Sutra

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The fruit of the perfect Buddha's teachings

The fruit of the perfect Buddha's teachings,
Will not be accomplished by merely listening to them.

--Anonymous quote in The Ocean of Definitive Meaning

The buddha abides in your own body

The buddha abides in your own body;
There is no buddha anywhere else.
Those who are obscured by ignorance and delusion
Believe that the buddha is somewhere other than the body.

--Samputa Tantra


By gazing at the center of space, seeing ceases.
Likewise, when mind looks at mind,
Thoughts cease and unexcelled awakening is attained.

--Nagarjuna, Fundamental Treatise on the Middle Way

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A past life story of a teacher is an enlightening practice for posterity

Shakyamuni Buddha, even when he was a trainee on the path, was solely concerned in both thought and action with others' welfare. Whenever he found an opportunity to work for others, no matter what difficulties he faced, he was never discouraged. He never hated obstacles and hardships encountered on the way. Instead, the difficult situations facilitated his being more courageous and determined to accomplish others' welfare. Just because he was so determined to work for others in the past, even as a trainee on the path, it is needless to say how much more it is so with him now as a completely enlightened person.

As the saying goes, "A past life story of a teacher is an enlightening practice for posterity."

--from Generous Wisdom: Commentaries of His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV on the Jatakamala Garland of Birth Stories translated by Tenzin Dorjee, edited by Dexter Roberts

In absolute terms, each moment of experience

In absolute terms, each moment of experience is empty of a difference in nature of perceiver and perceived. Rather than regarding consciousness merely as the seeing or observing aspect of a moment of experience, it is also the content of that experience. -- Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso, Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness

Friday, July 21, 2006

Arousing One's Spirit

AROUSING ONE'S SPIRIT Spirituality is simply a means of arousing one's spirit, of developing a kind of spiritedness. Through that you begin to have greater contact with reality. You are not afraid of discovering what reality is all about, and you are willing to explore your individual energy. You actually choose to work with the essence of your existence, which could be called genuineness. An interest in spirituality doesn't mean that you lack something, or that you have developed a black hole in your existence which you are trying to compensate for or cover over with some sort of religious patchwork. It simply means that you are capable of dealing with reality. --CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, From: Volume Two of THE COLLECTED WORKS OF CHOGYAM TRUNGPA

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Intentions, Vows and Practice

An interviewer once asked Maezumi Roshi if Buddhists believed in somethinglike a soul that continued after death. Maezumi Roshi said, "No. It is thevow that continues." A vow is like a seal that imprints itself on the wetclay of another emerging life, but it is more than a passive seal. It has apropelling energy. It propels us into the search for an end to suffering andinto finding ways to help each other. Finally, when all the various schemeswe have developed to do those things fail, it propels us into practice. All Buddhist practices involve vows. At the Zen Center we chant the FourGreat Bodhisattva Vows every day:

Beings are numberless, I vow to free them.Desires are inexhaustible, I vow to put an end to them.Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them.Buddha's way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it.

Over the years we have chanted vows like these hundreds, thousands of times.It does not matter if the vows where made when we where half-asleep or if wedidn't quite understand them. We have made these promises and now the jig isup, the promissory note is due. This explains the common feeling peoplehave. " I don't know why I practice, I just have to." "Something iscompelling me to do this practice." The ongoing vow operates below theconscious mind. It is very important to shape and say our vows. MaezumiRoshi recommended starting each day with vows. There are many possiblevows.They can be a simple. "I vow to do what I can to relieve suffering." "Ivow to do what needs to be done to awaken fully, even if I'm afraid attimes." "I vow to open my mind and hands and let go of what needs to bedropped for me and others to be free." Vows can be formal and part of aritual. They can be simple and spontaneous. What is important is to vow. Atthat point the things that are needed for the vow to be fulfilled begin toflow toward us.

To Remain Human


Mindfulness of body has to do with trying to remain human, rather than becoming an animal or fly or etheric being.
It means just trying to remain a human being, an ordinary human being.
The basic starting point for this is solidness, groundedness.
When you sit you actually sit. Even your floating thoughts begin to sit on their own bottoms.

From "The Four Foundations of Mindfulness," in THE SANITY WE ARE BORN WITH, page 27.

All material by Chogyam Trungpa is copyright Diana J. Mukpo and used by permission.

Having Faith and Compassion

Having faith and compassion, even if one has no great knowledge of the
Dharma and no opportunity to practice much, the day will come when one
ceases to wander in the cycle of existence.

--Kalu Rinpoche, Secret Buddhism

Do not seek a delightfully blissful mind

Do not seek a a quietly resting, vividly clear, and delightfully blissful mind. Practice with whatever arises without accepting or rejecting anything.

-- Orgyenpa

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Motivation is a kind of alchemy

"Motivation is a kind of alchemy which transmutes actions into
something positive or negative. Everything we do—having breakfast,
sleeping, whatever—can be transmuted into dharma [pure, religious or
spiritual] action. We may be involved in an activity we do not consider
to be dharma, like cooking for example, but cooking can be transformed
into dharma. How? Through motivation. The right kind of motivation can
transform any action into dharma."

For the full article see:

When you are convinced that all exits are blocked

"When you are convinced that all the exits are blocked, either you take tobelieving in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird. The miracleis that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were toobusy searching elsewhere to realize it. The worst is not death but beingblind, blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of themiraculous."

Henry Miller

Sunday, July 16, 2006

if we see others in trouble

...if we see others in trouble, although we cannot immediately take their suffering upon ourselves, we should make the wish to be able to relieve them from their misfortunes. Prayers like this will bear fruit eventually. Again, if others have very strong afflictive emotions, we should think, 'May all their emotions be concentrated in me.' With fervent conviction, we should persist in thinking like this until we have some sign or feeling that we have been able to take upon ourselves the suffering and emotions of others. This might take the form of an increase in our own emotions or of the actual experience of the suffering and pain of others. This is how to bring hardships onto the path in order to free ourselves from hopes and fears--hopes, for instance, that we will not get ill, or fears that we might do so. They will thus be pacified in the equal taste of happiness and suffering. Eventually, through the power of Bodhichitta, we will reach the point where we are free even from the hope of accomplishing Bodhichitta and the fear of not doing so. Therefore we should have love for our enemies and try as much as possible to avoid getting angry with them, or harbouring any negative thoughts towards them. We should also try as much as possible to overcome our biased attachment to family and relatives. If you bind a crooked tree to a large wooden stake, it will eventually grow straight. Up to now, our minds have always been crooked, thinking how we might trick and mislead people, but this [Bodhichitta] practice, as Geshe Langri Tangpa said, will make our minds straight and true. --from Enlightened Courage: An Explanation of the Seven Point Mind Training by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, translated by the Padmakara Translation Group, published by Snow Lion Publications

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Dalai Lama Quote of the week

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week Q: ...what is the nature of the mindstream that reincarnates from lifetime to lifetime? A: ...If one understands the term "soul" as a continuum of individuality from moment to moment, from lifetime to lifetime, then one can say that Buddhism also accepts a concept of soul; there is a kind of continuum of consciousness. rom that point of view, the debate on whether or not there is a soul becomes strictly semantic. However, in the Buddhist doctrine of selflessness, or "no soul" theory, the understanding is that there is no eternal, unchanging, abiding, permanent self called "soul." That is what is being denied in Buddhism. Buddhism does not deny the continuum of consciousness. Because of this, we find some Tibetan scholars, such as the Sakya master Rendawa, who accept that there is such a thing as self or soul, the "kangsak ki dak" (Tib. gang zag gi bdag). However, the same word, the "kangsak ki dak," the self, or person, or personal self, or identity, is at the same time denied by many other scholars. We find diverse opinions, even among Buddhist scholars, as to what exactly the nature of self is, what exactly that thing or entity is that continues from one moment to the next moment, from one lifetime to the next lifetime. Some try to locate it within the aggregates, the composite of body and mind. Some explain it in terms of a designation based on the body and mind composite, and so on.... One of the divisions of [the "Mind-Only"] school maintains there is a special continuum of consciousness called alayavijnana which is the fundamental consciousness. --from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fearlessness and Speed

Fearlessness is the absence of cowardice. That is to say, cowardice, or uncertainty, comes from speed, from not being on the spot, and from not being able to lead life properly and fully. You miss a lot of details, and you also miss the overview. To correct that, you need ROOM for fearlessness, which comes from having faith in your existence. Basically speaking, fearlessness is not particularly a reward or a goal, but fearlessness is part of the journey on the path. Fearlessness alternates with fear, and both of those are kindling for the fire. You are nervous, speedy, fearful. Then that brings another area of steadiness, solidity, and calm. So fear and fearlessness constantly alternate. rom "Sacredness: Natural Law and Order," in GREAT EASTERN SUN: THE WISDOM OF SHAMBHALA, page 90. All material by Chogyam Trungpa is copyright Diana J. Mukpo

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

reflect upon the horros of the states of sorrow

Reflect upon the horrors of the states of sorrow! Weapons, poisons, fires, and yawning chasms, Hostile foes-these worldly pains are slight Compared with what we get as fruit of our desire! And so, revolted by our lust and wanting, Let us now rejoice in solitude, In places where all strife and conflict cease, The peace and stillness of the greenwood. --Shantideva, The Way Of The Bodhisattva, Pg. 122, Shambhala Publications

Monday, July 10, 2006

If my acts are wholesome

If my acts are wholesome, mirroring my mind, Then no matter where I turn my steps, Respect and honor will be paid to me, The fruit and recompense of merit.

But if, in search of happiness, my works are evil, Then no matter where I turn my steps, The knives of misery will cut me down- The wage and retribution of a sinful life.

--Shantideva, The Way Of The Bodhisattva, Pg. 104, Shambhala Publications

An appearance can only exist if

An appearance can only exist if there is a mind that beholds it. The
'beholding' of that appearance is nothing other than experience; that is
what actually takes place...All the elements are vividly distinguished as
long as the mind fixates on them. Yet they are nothing but a mere presence,
an appearance. When the mind doesn't apprehend, hold, or fixate on what is
experienced...'reality' loses its solid, obstructing quality.

--Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche


You, young men and women here, Don't think that death will come little by little; It comes fast as lightning.

--From: The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa

Kalu Rinpoche

Bless me that my mind may merge with yours; Inspire me to renounce ego's hold; Bless me that I may experience true contentment; Bless me that I may experience loving-kindness and compassion; Bless me that I may give rise to sincere devotion; Bless me that I may cut off pervasive thoughts; Bless me that I may pacify confusion in it's own ground; Bless me that I may perceive ultimate reality, Mahamudra; Bless me that I may attain Buddhahood in this very life.

--Supplication to the Lama, by Kalu Rinpoche

From: Timeless Rapture, Pg. 196, Published by Snow Lion

The essence of samsara

The essence of samsara is this tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek security and avoid groundlessness, to seek comfort and avoid discomfort. The basic teaching is that that is how we keep ourselves miserable, unhappy, and stuck in a very small, limited view of reality.

--Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape, Shambhala Publications

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

To make things as easy as possible to understand

To make things as easy as possible to understand, we can summarize the four boundless qualities in the single phrase - "a kind heart." Just train yourself to have a kind heart always, and in all situations.

--Patrul Rinpoche