Quote Archives: 17th Karmapa

Compassion based on wisdom ~ 17th Karmapa

The great compassion taught in Buddhism is not merely an emotional response tinged with sadness or fear that comes and goes in response to a temporary situation. It is not superficial in this way but deep and, therefore, stable as well. This profound stability is due to our compassion being based on wisdom and reasoning. […]

A main condition for our selfishness ~ 17th Karmapa

However autonomous we may feel ourselves to be, we could not even begin our lives without two specific people who therefore are not entirely distinct from or ‘other’ to us. Once born, we eat food from others, learn from others, and are clothed and cared for all our lives by others. Just a few steps […]

Nothing is intrinsically bad ~ 17th Karmapa

Nothing is intrinsically or ultimately bad. Any situation that arises is only relatively good or bad based on many factors, including — most significantly — how you perceive the situation and how you respond to it. 17th Karmapa

Collective actions and attitudes ~ 17th Karmapa

We not only share the world; many of us also share similar attitudes and behaviors. When enough people think and act in similar ways, the effect of those actions is amplified. We can refer to this dynamic as cumulative action or collective action. In Buddhist terms we call this collective karma, which in this case […]

Discipline ~ 17th Karmapa

The downside of the perfection of discipline is called “the demon of austerity” — taking on discipline as a hardship and making it into a struggle. Done right, discipline is taken on joyfully and with a clear understanding of why engaging in it is good… Whatever we give up or whatever we do, we should […]

Noticing the collective effects of our individual actions ~ 17th Karmapa

Seeing ourselves as fundamentally separate and independent inclines us to underestimate or altogether ignore the connections between ourselves and others. As happens in our use of electronic connectivity, we feel that we are here, while everyone else is over there, apart from us. We even imagine that we can do whatever we wish with no […]

Social action ~ 17th Karmapa

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, […]

An important source of closeness and love ~ 17th Karmapa

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 […]

Remaining indifferent to the suffering of animals ~ 17th Karmapa

Yet for all the ease with which we connect and feel close to our pets and other animals, we all too often remain indifferent to the suffering of animals in general. As we smile at our pet’s antics or admire the qualities other animals display in the videos we enjoy so much, I think it […]

We need space to grow and learn from our own mistakes ~ 17th Karmapa

I have noticed that some people can be very critical of themselves. When people have low esteem or a tendency to judge themselves harshly, there is a danger that confronting their own faults can just end up reinforcing an unhealthy self-image. A negative fabricated identity can come to seem even more real and solid, and […]

The full vividness of direct contact ~ 17th Karmapa

We see pixels on a screen and hear the digital reproduction of someone’s voice and think, “I see them, they see me, and we can talk.” But when you get right down to it, there is no one there. It is an electronic and therefore artificial representation we are gazing at and talking to. This […]

Let the moon be the keeper of my love ~ 17th Karmapa

I want to share with you a feeling I have. I feel that my love does not have to remain within the limitations of my own life or body. I imagine that if I am no longer in the world, my love could still be present. I want to place my love on the moon […]

Recollecting kindness ~ 17th Karmapa

Take the initiative to seek out information, and then merge what you learn with your feelings. This is a way to use the Internet wisely, to allow you to feel your connectedness. You could read about the daily lives of people in that country. You could do a search for images of factory workers. When […]

The impulse to connect ~ 17th Karmapa

The impulse to connect arises naturally in human beings, as is clearly visible in us when we are children. Later, as we become adults, this ability is eroded by doubts, fears, and suspicions. For example, if there are two families living in an apartment building and each has a young child, the parents might pass […]

Our innate ability to connect with others ~ 17th Karmapa

In terms of our nature — our constant yearning to be happy and to be free of suffering — we are profoundly the same and close. Yet through habituation and conditioning, we grow distant. We invest tremendous importance in our differences — our different beliefs, different cultural assumptions, and different identities. We cover our sameness […]

The kindness we receive from others ~ 17th Karmapa

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 […]

Naturalness ~ 17th Karmapa

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, […]

Everything and everyone is benefiting you ~ 17th Karmapa

You can train yourself in this way to feel surrounded on all sides by goodness and benefit. Everything and everyone is benefiting you. The whole world becomes your personal benefactor and is part of you. You have not only been benefited in material terms. Those whose ideas you find useful, who brings out the best […]

Interdependent individuals ~ 17 Karmapa

As I mentioned earlier, although the idea of being interdependent may be gaining widespread recognition only recently, we have always been interdependent. Nothing has changed in that regard. Nor is there any conflict between being an individual and being interdependent. The contradiction lies in the gap between our assumptions about how we exist as individuals […]

His Loneliness ~ 17th Karmapa

I know what loneliness feels like. Many people use the title His Holiness to refer to me, but I sometimes joke that His Loneliness would be more accurate. In my own case, although I do not connect to people online, I do have lots of people surrounding me all day long, supporting me in different […]