Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Imagine a beautiful casket so finely crafted that once it is shut, the seam between the lid and the base is entirely invisible. It appears to be a single, exquisitely worked piece of wood, not a casket at all, and nothing about it suggests any possible opening. This casket is exactly like samsaric life. Day after day, year after year, lifetime after lifetime, samsara has been so intricately contrived by the ego, the master craftsman, that the notion it can be broken open never suggests itself. If we stopped for a moment and took a long, hard look at our version of the world, we might detect a few tiny cracks here and there, but for the most part the thought doesn’t enter our heads.
If, by some chance, a tiny crack were to be discovered and someone managed to open the casket just a little, the entire system that is samsara would be disrupted. Nothing would ever be the same again, and the one who achieved this monumental feat would have shuffled one step closer to enlightenment. Of course, you would still be stuck with a partially open casket, but its workings would no longer seem so utterly mysterious.
A multitude of inexpressible things can open the casket anytime, anywhere, triggered by the most ridiculous situations — if you have merit, devotion, and pure perception. This opening is usually initiated by the guru — by a remark, a gesture, or perhaps a note.
Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Let your body settle, without moving about or fidgeting.
Let your speech settle, following the flow of the breath.
Let your mind settle, without pursuing thoughts or ideas.
Spaciously, from deep within, settle and relax in natural ease.
Wherever we are, whatever we do, all we need to do is recognize our thoughts, feelings and perceptions as something natural. Neither rejecting nor accepting, we simply acknowledge the experience and let it pass. If we keep this up, we’ll eventually find ourselves becoming able to manage situations we once found painful, scary, or sad. We’ll discover a sense of confidence that isn’t rooted in arrogance or pride. We’ll realize that we’re always sheltered, always safe, and always home.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
If sometimes we practice with diligence and at other times just take it easy, we will not be able to develop confidence in our meditation on the view. What must we do to develop this confidence? We must understand that day and night, throughout the entire dimension of our lives, there is no difference between the meditation experience and the postmeditation experience.
The basic teaching of Buddhism is the teaching of transiency, or change. That everything changes is the basic truth for each existence. No one can deny this truth, and all the teaching of Buddhism is condensed within it. This is the teaching for all of us. Wherever we go this teaching is true. This teaching is also understood as the teaching of selflessness. Because each existence is in constant change, there is no abiding self. In fact, the self-nature of each existence is nothing but change itself, the self-nature of all existence. There is no special, separate self-nature for each existence. This is also called the teaching of Nirvana. When we realize the everlasting truth of “everything changes” and find our composure in it, we find ourselves in Nirvana.
Glimpses of pristine awareness can be transformative, but it takes work to stabilize the view. This is why we say, “Short moments, many times”.
One’s own awareness, fresh and uncontrived,
Is the primordially present ultimate Lama
From whom you have not been separated for even an instant.
This meeting with the original abiding nature — how amazing!
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye
If contentment does not arise within your mind
Even if you have everything you could ever want, you’ll be like a beggar.
Those who are content and rid of clinging
Are always rich even without possessions.
Our life is like a vast net connecting us to all other lives on this planet, and each part of this net is linked to all of the rest. The essence of our life is not limited within the confines of our bodies but rather is distributed across all the people and things that we are connected to. To think about our life in a way that treats it as our individual property is too limited and too small, and leads us to miss seeing its full value.
Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche
Not thinking of things in a dualistic fashion means seeing them as existing in relationships, not as existing independently. This means not seeing things in terms of subject and object, “perceiver” and “perceived” (Tib. dzin yul; Skt. grahaya and grahayaka).
When we see things dualistically, we think that there is a perceiver here, as a subject, and a perceived object out there, something that is external to the perceiver, something that is “other.” According to Buddhism, the perceiver and the perceived are dependent phenomena, as is everything else.
So if everything is a dependent phenomenon, everything is empty of inherent existence. This is what emptiness means. From that, we are able to eschew our fixation on things as having some kind of self-sufficient existence. This, in itself, according to Buddhism, can free or liberate us from the distorted ways of thinking we entangle ourselves in.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
The worst obstacle for a practitioner is when crowds of followers begin to gather and say,
“You are so wonderful, you’re such a great practitioner, you are very special. Please give us teachings. Please guide us.”
Starting to have a great following causes the most difficult kind of obstacle because, unless one is the foremost type of practitioner, one will think,
“Hey, maybe I am special. Maybe there is something to what they say.”
Only the foremost type of practitioner will not be carried away by such positive conditions.
Like a wild elephant, the untamed mind can inflict enormous damage on ourselves and those around us. In addition to oscillating between an attention deficit (when we’re passive) and hyperactivity (when we’re active), the normal, untrained mind compulsively disgorges a toxic stream of wandering thoughts, then latches on to them obsessively, carried away by one story after another. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders and obsessivecompulsive disorders are not confined to those who are diagnosed as mentally ill; the normal mind is prone to such imbalances, and that’s why normal people experience so much mental distress! Such disturbances are symptoms of an unbalanced mind.
It is the naturally originating pristine cognition, uncreated by anyone – how amazing!
This radiant awareness has never been born and will never die – how amazing!
3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche
How things appear is my being;
how things arise is my reality;
there is no phenomenon that is not me
in the whole universe.
Someone once asked me, “What would it feel like to have burned up all those seeds, to be a person who no longer has any aggression?” The person who asked this was thinking that such a person might be pretty boring. No juice, no passion. I answered that I really wouldn’t know from personal experience, but I imagine that such a person would be great company. If you dissolved your aggression, it would mean that other people wouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around you, worried that something they might say would offend you. You’d be an accessible, genuine person. The awakened people that I’ve known are all very playful, curious, and unthreatened by things. They go into situations with their eyes and their hearts wide open. They have a real appetite for life instead of an appetite for aggression. They are, it seems, not afraid to be insecure.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Even to hear the teachings is something very rare, which only happens once in aeons. That you have met the Dharma now is not just coincidence. It results from your past positive actions. Such an opportunity should not be wasted. If your mind is in accord with Dharma, you will not experience any problems with the things of this life; while if you are constantly preoccupied with your ordinary pursuits, your problems will increase, and nothing will be accomplished.
Tai Situ Rinpoche
Proper generosity is to give whatever we have and there are many wonderful, inspiring stories of great Bodhisattvas who have given their own flesh to nourish starving animals. Whatever we can manage to give, we give to those who need it, paying particular attention to help those who represent the Three Jewels, those who have helped us – our parents especially – whose who are sick and unprotected, and also those who are our particular enemies or rivals. The way in which we make our gift to them should be joyfully, respectfully, with a compassionate heart and without regret. It is better to give with one’s own hand rather than through others, to give at just the right time, and, of course, to give without harming others. Impartial giving is best and a wise person gives just what is needed.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Expecting a lot from people, you do a lot of smiling.
Needing many things for yourself, you have many needs to meet.
Making plans to do first this, then that, your mind’s full of hopes and fears.
From now on, come what may, don’t be like that.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
None of your assumptions about who you are, who you make-believe you are, or the labels you attach to yourself is the real ‘you’; it’s all guesswork. And it is this very guesswork – assumption, make-believe, labelling and so on – that creates the illusion of samsara. Although the world around you and the beings within it ‘appear’, none of it ‘exists’; it’s all a fabricated illusion. Once you fully accept this truth – not just intellectually but practically – you will become fearless. You will see that just as life is an illusion, so is death. Even if you cannot fully realize this view, becoming familiar with it will reduce your fear of death exponentially.
Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
If we are attracted to objects which affect us, we must remember that it is not external reality which affects us, but only our previous habit of the reality of those objects reflecting back to us.
As long as we have dualistic mind, we always think objects affect each other, but these effects are only the activity of habit created by the passions.
For example, when we are awake, if we are attracted to someone through the habit of a previous karmic connection and create more habit through our attraction, we may begin to dream about this person.
Also, just as our waking phenomena affect our dream phenomena, our dream attachment affects our waking phenomena. If we dream that we are separated from the person to whom we are attracted, we may awaken feeling sad, and if we dream we are united with this person, we may awaken feeling happy.
The strength of karmic effects depends on the strength of the passions formed by the mind’s reflections and the energy of intention. For example, the winner of a game may be satisfied by winning, while the loser may think continuously about his frustrated desire to win. The loser, therefore, trains his mind with the energy of strong intention, which creates the new karmic form of the habit of winning.
In a future game, the loser may conquer his opponent with the new energy he has created from his reaction to his previous defeat. But samsaric losers and winners never realize that they are only playing against their minds’ apparitions, making what does not exist seem to exist through the deluded power of habit.