Quotes

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

Quote of the Week – December 17, 2010

Living an Appearance-Emptiness Life   

You know the supreme path that is free from coming and going,

And you teach the true nature of all phenomena,

While never leaving a single being out of your compassion’s embrace,

Great mother, noble Tara, I bow at your feet.

Since all phenomena, outer and inner, are dependently existent mere appearances,

They have no inherent nature, they are just appearance-emptiness.

If you know how they resemble dreams and illusions,

All comings and goings will be open and relaxed.

Since appearances of friends and enemies are dependently existent,

Both are appearance-emptiness, like rainbows, and if you know this,

That is called, “meditation on illusion.”

Within openness you will achieve inner peace.

A planet and a particle are equal,

An aeon and an instant are equal, the Buddha taught.

If you gain uncontrived certainty in this,

Within spaciousness, any work you do will come out alright.

When you are expert at studying your own mind

All that appears becomes your guru,

And even your enemies become friends of your Dharma practice-

E ma!  What a wonderful miracle!

 

–Verses composed for a student, June 24, 1998.  Translated by Ari Goldfield.

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When the root of duality–dualistic clinging, dualistic perceptions, deluded perceptions–is severed, all the leaves, the branches, and even the tree trunk of samsara and nirvana naturally wither on their own and topple in their own time. Then this great spreading tree of samsara and nirvana, of duality, of worldliness, of conditioned being, does not need to be chopped down: it is already as if dead. We can relax; done is what had to be done, as the Buddha sang.

This is the whole point of the Dharma, of spiritual awakening, of Buddhahood; this is its ultimate evolution or unfolding. If we aspire to experience such an awakening, there is nothing else to do except recognize the true nature of our primordial awareness, our own essential being, our own birthright, which is within. This is the intrinsic nature of our own heart-mind, also known as bodhicitta or bodhi-mind. It is our own being, our own nature, this renowned buddha-nature. It is not a Buddha anywhere else. (p.103)

–from Natural Great Perfection: Dzogchen Teachings and Vajra Songs by Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche and Lama Surya Das

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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, As It Is

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When our usual habit of magnifying our feelings and our fascination resulting from that are gone, there will be no negativity and no fuel. We can relax within them. What we are trying to do, therefore, is to skillfully and subtly deal with our emotions. This is largely equivalent to the ability of exerting discipline.

–from Daring Steps: Traversing the Path of the Buddha by Ringu Tulku, edited and translated by Rosemarie Fuchs, published by Snow Lion Publications

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The essence of thoughts that suddenly arise is without any nature. Do not inhibit their appearance in any way, and without thinking of any essence, let them arise clearly, nakedly, and vividly. Likewise, if one thought arises, observe its nature, and if two arise, observe their nature. Thus, whatever thoughts arise, let them go without holding onto them. Let them remain as fragments. Release them unimpededly. Be naked without an object. Release them without grasping. This is close to becoming a Buddha. This is the self-extinction of samsara, samsara is overwhelmed, samsara is disempowered, and samsara is exhausted. Knowledge of the path of method and wisdom, appearances and emptiness, the gradual stages, the common and special paths, and the 84,000 entrances to the Dharma is made perfectly complete and fulfilled in an instant. This is self-arisen, for it is present like that in the very nature [of awareness]. Natural liberation is the essence of all the stainless paths, and it bears the essence of emptiness and compassion.

–from A Spacious Path to Freedom: Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahamudra and Atiyoga by Karma Chagme, commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche, trans. by B. Alan Wallace, published by Snow Lion Publications.

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The qualities of Buddhahood are gained

Through living beings and Victorious Ones alike,

Why then do we respect the Victorious Ones

And not living beings in the same way?

–from Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, commentary by Geshe Sonam Rinchen, translated and edited by Ruth Sonam, published by Snow Lion Publications

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If you make a real effort to take refuge sincerely in the Three Jewels, everything that opposes your practice will be transformed into favorable circumstances and your merit will grow unceasingly.

–Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher

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Illusion immediately becomes more workable when we acknowledge it as simply an illusion.  The Western habit is to work against the grain and to try and organize the illusory into something solid and structured…In the stressful attempt to nail down the illusory nature of things, our chance to be at ease, spacious, awake, and free, which already exists within ourselves, gets lost.

–Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Fearless Simplicity

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We cannot work with our fixations if we do not acknowledge them and accept their existence. The more we accept them, the more we are able to let go of them.

—Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Heart of the Buddha

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It is important to realize that there is nobody else who can wake us up and save us from samsara. There is no such thing in Buddhism. That may be Buddhism’s biggest drawback, and at the same time its greatest advantage. This view shows us that there is nobody else in control of our lives, our experiences, our freedom or our bondage. Who is responsible? Who is in control? It is us. We are in control. We can bind ourselves further in samsara or we can free ourselves from it right now. It is all up to us. We are the ones who have to keep looking at our thoughts, looking for the nature of our mind. There is no guru, deity, buddha or bodhisattva out there to look for it for us. Although they would happily do this, it would not help us; it would only help them. We have to do it for ourselves. That is the key point.

–from Mind Beyond Death, by Dzogchen Ponlop

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When looking for the self it is very important to remember it is an emotional response that one is examining. When one responds to an event as if one had a self, for example when one feels very hurt or offended, one should ask oneself who or what exactly is feeling hurt or offended.

— Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness

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If you follow any thought or emotion, major or minor, and let your mind wander outward, your work is in error and you’re no different from an ordinary person.  Turn your emotion right in and look right at your mind. When you look at it, nothing is seen.  Relax completely, let everything go, and rest in that state of emptiness.
–Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, The Great Path of Awakening

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Compassion without attachment is possible. Therefore, we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Because of this firm foundation, a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy, as long as that person wishes for peace and happiness and wishes to overcome suffering, then on that basis we develop genuine concern for their problem. This is genuine compassion. For a Buddhist practitioner, the goal is to develop this genuine compassion, this genuine wish for the well-being of another, in fact for every living being throughout the universe.

–from The Compassionate Life by Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

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What is undistracted calm abiding? It is meditative absorption free of the six types of distraction. What are these six?

1.  Inherent distraction refers to the eye consciousness and the other four collections of consciousness. Because they are naturally directed outward, they [cause one to] emerge from meditative absorption.
2.  External distraction refers to a mental consciousness that reaches out towards or engages objects.
3.  Internal distraction concerns dullness and agitation, as well as savoring one’s meditative absorption.
4.  The distraction of marks occurs when, trusting in meditative absorption, one apprehends marks of it and becomes attached.
5.  Distraction brought about by negative tendencies is when directing the mind involves the apprehending of an ego. This is said to refer to the mental act of pridefully believing oneself to be superior to others, or (simply any mental act) that involves apprehending an “I.”
6.  The distraction of directing the mind occurs when one is caught up in the mindset of, and directs the mind in the style of, the Lesser Vehicle.

The undistracted calm abiding that is determined by the elimination of those six is the unique calm abiding of the Great Vehicle. This is a state of one-pointed inner rest, a flawless calm abiding. In it, there is no apprehension of marks, as is the case when inner absorption alone is believed to bring liberation. Neither does it involve the ego apprehension that occurs in the concentrations of non-Buddhists. Further, one does not direct the mind as one would when cultivating the supports for the inferior paths [to liberation]. This is how the wise should understand the calm abiding of the Great Vehicle.

–from Middle Beyond Extremes: Maitreya’s ‘Madhyantavibhaga’ with commentaries by Khenpo Shenga and Ju Mipham, translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee, published by Snow Lion Publications

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Lama Norlha Rinpoche quoted Shantideva in the teaching on Karma…

“Desire, anger and stupidity–

Engaging in those creates karma that is non-virtuous.

The fruit of non-virtue is experienced as suffering.

Free of attachment, free of aversion, and without stupidity–

Acting within those states creates karma that is virtuous.

The fruit of virtue is experienced as happiness.”

— Shantideva

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In the current general cultural milieu of the Western world, expression of desire allows emotions to be actively encouraged, actively stimulated, and over-blown, all within the contextual appreciation of this as something healthy. If one has a desire, one is encouraged to fulfill it. If one has an emotion, one is encouraged to stimulate it, to bring it to development by expressing it. Generally, this is seen as a healthy thing to do, while actually, in terms of karmic development, this approach tends to create a disproportionate exaggeration of desire and attachment.

–Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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Detaching from our emotional responses encourages an objective perspective about our challenges. Our oversensitivity to difficulties is usually caused by our emotional investment in a particular outcome. By choosing instead to step back from our emotions, we give ourselves the ability to remain impartial to the unsettling events in our lives. While we may still feel concerned, interested, and connected to our life circumstances, we are no longer controlled by them. This new, objective perspective gives us the freedom and courage to embrace a peace-oriented state of mind that cannot help but have a positive effect in every aspect of our lives. Stepping back from your emotional attachments can give you the objectivity to make wiser choices.

– Lama Karma Chötso

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One should do nothing other than what is directly or indirectly of benefit to living beings…

Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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One does not have to feel totally at the mercy of one’s emotion.  It is only when acquiescing to the emotion, or investing the emotion with the falsehood of reality, that one is forced to play out the consequences.

Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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The cultivation of bodhicitta is to wish for true, complete awakening for the welfare of others.

The Ornament for Clear Realization

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 Be ever mindful of the shortcomings of desire’s rewards, and know that all the phenomena of the cycle of existence are never still, like the ripples on a pond, and that these manifestations of delusion, which are no things in themselves, are like magic and dreams. When you have the determination to be free of samsara and are content with your material situation, you will be able to sit quietly with your mind happy and at ease.

— Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche, The Writings of Kalu Rinpoche

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Continue practice into everyday life with a single meditation, always keeping in mind the intention to help others in all activities, eating, dressing, sleeping, walking, or sitting.

— Jamgon Kongtrul, The Great Path of Awakening

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The greatest prayer is patience.

— Buddha Shakyamuni

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Do not regard the thoughts in your mind as things to be rejected.
Do not deliberately create non-conceptuality.
Post the watchman of mindfulness, and rest.

— Gyalwa Yang Gönpa

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Thoughts are mind-itself.

If you wish to abandon them, they will increase.

Since they are unborn, they should not be rejected.

Gampopa, quoted in The Ocean of Definitive Meaning

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When you meditate with concentration, there are three particular experiences that arise: bliss, clarity, and non-thought. Sometimes you feel great joy, sometimes your mind is very clear, and sometimes there is complete equanimity. To experience these you do not need to meditate for a long time, although for a beginner these experiences will not last long because of the limited ability of a beginner’s meditation.

The experience of meditative bliss is greater than ordinary worldly happiness. Sometimes when you are meditating, a feeling of blissfulness suddenly arises from the subtle state of your mind and pervades your entire body. This bliss is healthy and brings out your inner qualities. Some people use drugs to induce blissfulness and visions, but drugs are external supports that cannot bring lasting happiness. The bliss experienced in meditation can last for many days, according to your ability to meditate. When you experience this kind of bliss, on the outside you might look very poor, but inside you remain very joyful.

The second main experience in meditation is clarity. Sometimes while meditating you can suddenly feel that your mind is very clear and bright. Even if you are meditating in the dark, you do not feel heavy or tired. Sometimes your body feels very light and your mind is very clear, and many kinds of reflections appear. Clarity brings great wisdom and the ability to read other people’s minds, as well as to see your own past and future lives.

The third main experience is non-thought, or a state of equanimity without distractions. Beginners can also experience this. Non-thought is more settled than the experiences of bliss and clarity. If you have thoughts, they suddenly dissolve and you can remain continuously in meditation. As your ability to meditate develops, your mind becomes more and more settled, so that you can meditate for one hour or one week or one month without being distracted by thoughts. You simply remain in the natural state for as long as you want.

— from Opening to Our Primordial Nature by Khenchen Palden Sherab and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, edited by Ann Helm and Michael White, published by Snow Lion Publications

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Fear appears from a false vision of reality.

— Bokar Rinpoche, Profound Wisdom of the Heart Sutra

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In real meditation, a bare state of awareness is necessary, so that the meditation has a spacious quality, a clarity and transparency of experience.

Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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Egohood is the state of mind in which you are either repelled or attracted to the phenomenal world. What you would like to see depends on your mentality, on what you think is desirable in order to maintain your “I am-ness,” your “me-ness.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Heart of the Buddha

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Don’t worry… You’re all tulkus … incarnations of beings who have taken the bodhisattva vow to raise all sentient beings to the level of complete enlightenment…Just because you don’t have an important title attached to your name doesn’t mean that you haven’t appeared in this life to fulfill your bodhisattva vow….  Historically, the term “Rinpoche” referred to a person who is born with a “wealth” or “precious inheritance” of knowledge, whereas nowadays, it often refers to a person born into a wealthy family….Be grateful that you don’t have a title…and rest assured that you entered this life and have the opportunity to continue in the stream of Buddhist teachings as a result of the vows and practices you engaged in during previous lives.

— Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Crazy Wisdom

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When looking for the self it is very important to remember it is an emotional response that one is examining. When one responds to an event as if one had a self, for example when one feels very hurt or offended, one should ask oneself who or what exactly is feeling hurt or offended.

— Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness

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One does not have to feel totally at the mercy of one’s emotion.  It is only when acquiescing to the emotion, or investing the emotion with the falsehood of reality, that one is forced to play out the consequences.

— Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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Real compassion is without attachment. Pay attention to this point, which goes against our habitual ways of thinking.  It’s not this or that particular case that stirs our pity.  We don’t give our compassion to such and such a person by choice. We give it spontaneously, entirely, without hoping for anything in exchange.

— HH the XIV Dalai Lama, Violence and Compassion

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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

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Because of its immateriality, the mind can never be harmed by anyone.

— Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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Developing compassion is the most fruitful way of “getting even” with people who make you angry.

— Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Crazy Wisdom

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If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.

– Albert Einstein

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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

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Our teacher, Sakyamuni Buddha, is one among the thousand Buddhas of this aeon. These Buddhas were not Buddhas from the beginning, but were once sentient beings like ourselves. How they came to be Buddhas is this.

Of body and mind, mind is predominant, for body and speech are under the influence of the mind. Afflictions such as desire do not contaminate the nature of the mind, for the nature of the mind is pure, uncontaminated by any taint. Afflictions are peripheral factors of a mind, and through gradually transforming all types of defects, such as these afflictions, the adventitious taints can be completely removed. This state of complete purification is Buddhahood; therefore, Buddhists do not assert that there is any Buddha who has been enlightened from the beginning.

— from The Buddhism of Tibet: The Dalai Lama translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, published by Snow Lion Publications

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In real meditation, a bare state of awareness is necessary, so that the meditation has a spacious quality, a clarity and transparency of experience.

— Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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…the best signs of success are a decreasing of self-centeredness and the easing of mental afflictions.

— Gampopa, Precious Garland of the Sublime Way

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We must not forget that the mind of all beings and that of the Buddha are not fundamentally different.

 — Kalu Rinpoche, Luminous Mind: The Way of the Buddha

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You might “kill time” walking, moving, sleeping, or sitting: ineffectual acts which are neither wholesome nor harmful, and which mature into neither good nor bad experiences.  But since such actions simply waste this human life, instead of throwing your ability away in idle amusements, make a conscious effort to devote your time exclusively to wholesome action.

— Jamgon Kongtrul, The Torch of Certainty

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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

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Fear appears from a false vision of reality.

— Bokar Rinpoche, Profound Wisdom of the Heart Sutra

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Sometimes people mistakenly look on vows and pledges as if these were a type of punishment, but this is not at all the case. For example, just as we follow certain methods of eating and drinking to improve our health and certainly not to punish ourselves, so the rules the Shakymuni Buddha formulated are for controlling counter-productive ill-deeds and ultimately for overcoming afflictive emotions, because these are self-ruinous. Thus, to relieve oneself from suffering, one controls the motivations and deeds producing suffering for one’s own sake. Realizing from his own experience that suffering stems from one’s own afflictive emotions as well as actions contaminated with them, he sets forth styles of behavior to reduce the problem for our own profit, certainly not to give us a hard time. Hence, these rules are for the sake of controlling sources of harm.

— by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dzong-ka-ba, and Jeffrey Hopkins, from Yoga Tantra: Paths to Magical Feats, published by Snow Lion Publications

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When the sun is freed from clouds, the sun becomes clear and bright. Similarly, when obstructions to omniscience are abandoned, wisdom becomes clear light.

— from Essential Practice: Lectures on Kamalashila’s ‘Stages of Meditation in the Middle Way School’ by Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche translated by Jules B. Levinson, published by Snow Lion Publications

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In the same way that the hands and other limbs are loved because they form part of the body, why are embodied creatures not likewise loved because they form part of the universe?

— Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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Mind is eclipsed by many different obscurations; if they are removed, mind’s fundamental nature, like the sun shining brightly in a clear, open sky, can manifest all the qualities of wisdom, compassion, and a Buddha’s abilities.

— Kalu Rinpoche, Luminous Mind

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The root of the entire Dharma is mental rejection of the concerns of this life.

— Jamgon Kongtrul Lödro Thaye, The Torch of Certainty

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When thoughts arise, recognize them clearly as your teacher.

— Gampopa

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Understanding that everything is impermanent, that happiness is transformed into suffering, and that all phenomena are lacking reality in themselves and are only projections of our mind, will permit us to counteract the first hindrance to meditation, that is, our attachment to this world.

— Bokar Rinpoche, Meditation: Advice to Beginners

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When we look to the future, we should learn to be positive. Always seeing the negative side of things will only help to increase our inner difficulties.

— Bokar Rinpoche, Meditation: Advice to Beginners

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In summary, maintain the motivation to help others whatever you are doing: eating, sleeping, walking, or sitting.

— Jamgon Kongtrul Lödro Thaye, The Great Path of Awakening

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Simply recognizing the nature of mind doesn’t make one a fully enlightened buddha any more than simply seeing gold dispels one’s hunger.  One must put the recognition to use.

— Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, The Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen

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Regardless of the emotion being experienced — be it desire, anger, pride, jealousy, envy, greed, or whatever — what is really going on is a shift in attention.  The mind is expressing itself in a different way.  Nothing implicitly requires one to presume that this emotion has any reality in and of itself…It is just that the mind is expressing itself in a different way than it was a moment ago.

— Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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Adverse conditions are spiritual friends.

Devils and demons are emanations of the victorious ones.

Illness is the broom for evil and obscurations.

Suffering is the dance of what is.

 — Jamgon Kongtrul Lödro Thaye, The Great Path of Awakening

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The mind-stream of sentient beings is like the ground. When soaked with the moisture of loving-kindness and compassion, if the seed of enlightenment is planted the thirty-seven branches of enlightenment grow, the fruit of perfect Buddhahood ripens, and all the peace and happiness for sentient beings arises.

— Gampopa, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation

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You can appreciate your life, even if it is an imperfect situation. Perhaps your apartment is run down and your furniture is old and inexpensive. You do not have to live in a palace. You can relax and let go wherever you are.  Wherever you are, it is a palace.

— Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

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In the practice of meditation, the way to be daring, the way to leap, is to disown your thoughts, to step beyond your hope and fear, the ups and downs of your thinking process.  You can just be, just let yourself be, without holding on to the constant reference points that the mind manufactures.

— Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

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One does not have to feel totally at the mercy of one’s emotion.  It is only when acquiescing to the emotion, or investing the emotion with the falsehood of reality, that one is forced to play out the consequences. 

— Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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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

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In the same way that the hands and other limbs are loved because they form part of the body, why are embodied creatures not likewise loved because they form part of the universe?

— Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

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The Buddhist notion of diligence is to delight in positive deeds.

— from Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Buddhism by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, edited and translated by Rosemarie Fuchs, published by Snow Lion Publications

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By understanding death and impermanence, the suffering of samsara and the karmic process, you spontaneously discover a commitment to pure Dharma practice.

— Kalu Rinpoche, The Dharma

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In general, most non-Buddhist religions meditate on the deity as being outside the physical body. In these cases the deity takes the form of a refuge, or of a protector or messenger. Thus do they meditate, and of course this is fine. In the Buddhist tradition, however, the deity is not meditated on as being outside of the physical body. One meditates on the deity as being one’s own essence expressing itself through oneself arising as the deity. One therefore thinks, ” I am the deity,” and with this conviction one meditates. Why is it justifiable to meditate in this manner? …our own mind is in essence exactly the same as the mind of a Buddha. In the philosophical treatises this is sometimes referred to as “sugatagarbha’ or ‘buddha-nature’.

— from Everyday Consciousness and Buddha-Awakening by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, translated and edited by Susanne Schefczyk, published by Snow Lion Publications

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After the awareness that there is nothing other than mind

Comes the understanding that mind, too, is nothing itself.

The intelligent know that these two understandings are not things.

And then, not holding onto even this knowledge,

They come to rest in the realm of totality.

— The Five Teachings of Maitreya

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Since the nature of the ground is primordial purity, isn’t it illogical for sentient beings to be deceived into cyclical life?  Since beings are intrinsically free, no real stains remain to be purified and no innate deception or freedom can be identified.  However, beings trick themselves into the freedom and deception cyclic life because, like the freedom and deception experienced in a dream, manifest as the simple play of intrinsic awareness….

— Jamgon Kongtrul Lödro Thaye, Myriad Worlds

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No sutra, tantra, or shastra speaks of any being ever attaining perfect buddhahood without having followed a spiritual teacher.

— Patrul Rinpoche, The Way of the Great Perfection

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Be ever mindful of the shortcomings of desire’s rewards, and know that all the phenomena of the cycle of existence are never still, like the ripples on a pond, and that these manifestations of delusion, which are no things in themselves, are like magic and dreams. When you have the determination to be free of samsara and are content with your material situation, you will be able to sit quietly with your mind happy and at ease.

— Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche, The Writings of Kalu Rinpoche

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We generally think that happiness and suffering come from external circumstances…From the Buddhist point of view, as well as that of meditation, happiness and suffering do not fundamentally depend on external circumstances, but on the mind itself.  A positive mental attitude engenders happiness; a negative attitude produces suffering.

— Bokar Rinpoche, Meditation: Advice to Beginners

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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, As It Is

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Devotion to the spiritual teacher brings us blessings when we practice the teachings of the lineage and trust in our innate Buddha nature.

 — Mingyur Rinpoche

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Mental calming implies as much clarity as possible, allied with a deep feeling of freedom.  When we contemplate the sea during the day we can see stones and seaweed deep down through the clear water.  Our meditation should have the same clarity, which allows us to be fully conscious of the present situation.

— Venerable Bokar Rinpoche, Meditation: Advice To Beginners

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Bodhicitta is the electricity of spiritual practice.  If it is cut, nothing works anymore. Animated with Bodhicitta, all ordinary activity, all works in the world become a path to awakening.

 — Bokar Rinpoche, Chenrezig Lord of Love

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The present always passes, and the past and the future do not exist.

You can look for them wherever you want, but you won’t be able to find them.

– Chandrakirti, Entering the Middle Way

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If you’re more relaxed, I think your brain functions more effectively.

— H.H. the XIV Dalai Lama, Words of Wisdom

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Childish sentient beings always cherish themselves and work for their own benefit, so they suffer.  The Buddhas cherished others and worked for their benefit, so they attained Buddhahood.

— Gampopa, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation

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Don’t aim to win.

— Jamgon Kongtrul, The Great Path of Awakening

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Whatever realization you gain from your practice of the Dharma should be valued and judged on the basis of whether your commitment to the law of karma has increased and, as a result, whether your practice of morality has become pure and whether the force of delusions, like ignorance, hatred, and desire, has decreased within you.

— HH The XIV Dalai Lama, The Way to Freedom

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We cannot work with our fixations if we do not acknowledge them and accept their existence. The more we accept them, the more we are able to let go of them.

— Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Heart of the Buddha

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The point of sacred outlook is to emphasize qualities and not defects, and especially to be free from the type of projection that causes you to see others’ qualities as defects.

— Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Commentary on the Essence of Creation and Completion

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The basic problem is that one believes that everything is real, and thus everything is treated as such.

— Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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To leave aside your own nature and search elsewhere is extremely deluded.

— Saraha, Three Cycles of Dohas

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When thoughts arise,

Instead of regarding them as faults,

Recognize them to be empty

And leave them just as they are.

— Gyalwa Götsangpa, quoted in H.H. the IX Karmapa in The Ocean of Definitive Meaning

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You are Buddha in your essence. Nothing can corrupt that, nothing can shake that. That is real confidence.

— H.E. the XII Tai Situ Rinpoche, commentary on The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra

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The training in recognizing mind essence is this: short moments repeated many times.  There is no other way.  A short duration guarantees it is actually the authentic mind essence, by itself.  Repeating this recognition many times ensures that we will get used to it.

— Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, As It Is

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Whatever thoughts arise, do not do anything contrived, such as deliberately abandoning or adopting them — look at their very essence.

— HH the IX Karmapa, The Ocean of Definitive Meaning

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We should not forget that the mind, whatever turn that we want to give it, is very flexible. To the extent that we train ourselves, we create a habit and the mind accepts the crease that we give it.

— Bokar Rinpoche, Profound Wisdom of the Heart Sutra

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We generally think that happiness and suffering come from external circumstances. From the Buddhist point of view, as well as that of meditation, happiness and suffering do not fundamentally depend on external circumstances, but on the mind itself.  A positive mental attitude engenders happiness; a negative attitude produces suffering.

— Bokar Rinpoche, Meditation: Advice to Beginners

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We should remember that the main obstacle which prevented us from generating bodhicitta before was the distinction we made between friends and enemies.

— Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, The Excellent Path to Enlightenment

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Do not discuss the faults of others.  Realize that their “faults” are actually your own impure projections.

— Jamgon Kongtrul, The Torch of Certainty

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Mental afflictions are frail and conquerable with the eye of wisdom.

— Shantideva, A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life

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At first, the mind will not seem to be able to rest firmly on the object. This is just the beginning of resting.  Then when your awareness has become somewhat more lucid, if it seems that thoughts have increased, they have not. Thoughts have always been arising but, since you were not meditating before, you did not notice them. Now, because your mind is resting evenly and your awareness is more lucid, you notice them.  By leaving thoughts alone — without trying to dam them up or chase them down — you will be able to recognize each one, without being carried away by the undercurrent of thoughts.

— H.H. the IX Karmapa, The Ocean of Definitive Meaning

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We must each lead a way of life with self-awareness and compassion, to do as much as we can.  Then, whatever happens, we will have no regrets.

— H.H. the XIV Dalai Lama, The Path to Tranquility

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The whole point is that what lubricates the samsaric mandala is a frivolous approach to samsara — not taking samsara’s game seriously enough.  We fail to regard samsara as something very powerful, very energetic. We tend to dismiss it as belonging to an area of mistake, not realizing that the mistake has been made seriously and meaningfully. Such mistakes bring about the sacrifice of many lives and a great deal of time.

— Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Orderly Chaos

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The only way to remove suffering is to remove the ignorance that causes clinging to self.

— Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness

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When you come to an understanding of something or receive some practical instructions, if you do not make use of it immediately, the desire to make use of it becomes less and less over time.

— Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, commentary on The Instructions of Gampopa

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When you meditate, do not try to have good thoughts, do not try to keep away bad thoughts, do not try to stop thoughts, and do not try to go after them. Rather, rest in a state of being aware of the thoughts as they arise.

— Kalu Rinpoche, Gently Whispered

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Mind functions singly. Once. And once. One thing at a time. The practice of mindfulness of mind is to be there with that one-shot perception, constantly…that is happening, now that is happening, now that is happening.

— Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Heart of the Buddha

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Do not take lightly small good deeds, believing they can hardly help: For drops of water one by one in time can fill a giant pot.

— The Sutra of the Wise and the Foolish

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Beings who finally recognize the emptiness of all phenomena, whether subject or object, realize the illusory nature of all things and cease to grasp.

— Kalu Rinpoche, Luminous Mind

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It is said that the awareness of a buddha is completely even, like the ocean, taking in equally the joys and sorrows of all people, friends, loved ones, relatives, and those never met. This is the meaning of a statement made by so many of the world’s great spiritual teachers, “Love your enemy.” It doesn’t mean love the person you hate. You can’t do that. Love those who hate you.

— from Buddhism with an Attitude: The Tibetan Seven-Point Mind-Training by B. Alan Wallace, published by Snow Lion Publications

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May my body, flesh, and blood,

Everything I am made of,

Contribute in the most appropriate way

To the welfare of sentient beings.

— Kalu Rinpoche, The Eight Aspirations of A Great Being

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People with a misconception about meditation believe that all thoughts should cease. We cannot, in fact, establish ourselves in a state devoid of thoughts. The fruit of meditation is not the absence of thoughts, but the fact that thoughts cease to harm us. Once enemies, they become friends.

–Venerable Bokar Rinpoche, Meditation: Advice To Beginners

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In actual reality, there is no Buddha apart from the mind, and you should not seek it anywhere other than in the realization of the nature of mind.

— HH the IX Karmapa, The Ocean of Definitive Meaning

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The mistaken ideas about the essence arise from fixated attachment that solidifies the present mind as being negative. You believe that noble and positive wisdom will be attained only if present mind is relinquished. This is a mistaken idea in the Mahamudra tradition, because there is no wisdom higher than present mind itself.

— Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Introduction to H.H the IX Karmapa’s Ocean of Definitive Meaning

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Compassion must start with seeing our own suffering. If it does not, then seeing the suffering of others will be merely conceptual. It will merely be a matter of having learned about suffering from a book or philosophy. We may intellectually know about the different types of suffering and so forth, but without inward reflection, our understanding will always be a theoretical knowledge that is directed toward the outside. Starting from our own experience of suffering becomes most important for the practice of open and genuine compassion.

— The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche from Trainings in Compassion: Manuals on the Meditation of Avalokiteshvara, published by Snow Lion Publications.

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When we pray to the lama, we imagine his body, his face, his familiar expression facing us, and we think it’s him. But truly, neither hisbody nor the expression of his face are quite the lama.  The lama is his mind and its own specific qualities.  When the lama dies, some people may experience great sadness. The thought of not seeing his physical form any more creates in their mind a painful feeling of separation. In fact, when the lama lets go of hisphysical form it is because he has finished transmitting what he wished to transmit to us. If we have developed the understanding that our mind is not different from his, there is no more separation. There is no more sadness even if the lama is no longer physically present.  That is true devotion.”

– Bokar Rinpoche in _Vie de Bokar Rinpoche, lama tibétain,

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Continue practice into everyday life with a single meditation, always keeping in mind the intention to help others in all activities, eating, dressing, sleeping, walking, or sitting.

— Jamgon Kongtrul, The Great Path of Awakening

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Childish sentient beings always cherish themselves and work for their own benefit, so they suffer.  The Buddhas cherished others and worked for their benefit, so they attained Buddhahood.

— Gampopa, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation 

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Liberation is not something you have to create; liberation is inside you.

— H.E. XII Tai Situ Rinpoche

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The point of sacred outlook is to emphasize qualities and not defects, and especially to be free from the type of projection that causes you to see others’ qualities as defects.

— Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Commentary on the Essence of Creation and Completion

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