The ultimate source of success in life ~ 14th Dalai Lama

From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.

14th Dalai Lama

Dharmata ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

When we speak about dharmata, or things as they really are, we are speaking about the absence of the confusion and mistaken appearances that ordinary people experience most of the time. When we talk about the mind itself (Tib. semnyi), or mind as it is, we are referring to the inseparability of luminosity and emptiness. If we just meditate without having identified dharmata, the meditation will make us more peaceful, gradually causing us to understand the view, but it will not cut the root of the disturbing emotions. Therefore, we need to find out what the dharmata is and rest our mind there.

Thrangu Rinpoche

Just space ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Imagine a clay pot. It is both surrounded by and filled with space. When the pot breaks, the space that had been inside the pot mixes with the space that had been outside of it and the two become inseparable. It is not possible to tell the “inside” space from the “outside” space; space is just space and there is no way of knowing where any part of it originated. This is how the practitioner and the guru dissolve into each other to become inseparable.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Guru ~ Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche

From the relative perspective the guru appears in human form, turns the wheel of Dharma, and shows the path. Develop unchanging faith in your teacher and then mingle your mind with his. By remaining in that state and maintaining the natural flow of awareness — perfect simplicity without any fabrication — you will realize the true nature of mind. Your mind will become one with your teacher’s mind. At that point, from the absolute point of view you will see him as the dharmakaya, the state of great evenness.

Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche

The wheel of Dharma ~ Buddha Shakyamuni

At that time the Blessed One spoke these verses:

The wheel of Dharma has been turned,
Which is profound, hard to behold, and subtle.
It is not understood by the extremists,
Nor by the demons.

The wheel of Dharma has been turned,
Which is without an all-ground and beyond concepts,
Unborn and without origination,
Unique and empty of inherent nature.

The Buddha has turned the wheel
That teaches the Dharma of equality,
Without anything to accept and reject,
Causeless and without characteristics.

The Protector of the World
Has turned the wheel that is like
An illusion, a mirage,
A dream, an echo, or a moon reflected in water.

It leads beyond conditioned phenomena;
It is not nihilistic and neither is it permanent,
But cuts through all views‍—
So is the wheel of Dharma described.

It is an infinitely vast teaching,
Ever equal to space,
Luminous and nonconceptual‍—
So is the wheel of Dharma described.

It is free from existence and nonexistence,
Beyond self and no self,
A teaching that is naturally unborn‍—
That is what we call the wheel of Dharma.

In the truth of suchness,
It is the final end, yet it is without an end,
This nondual teaching of the Dharma‍—
That is what we call the wheel of Dharma.

The eye is essentially empty,
So are the ear and the nose.
The tongue, the body, and also the mind
Are empty and inert.

Such a wheel is the wheel of Dharma
That has now been turned.
He awakens unawakened beings;
That’s why he is called the Awakened One.

By myself have I realized this nature‍—
The nature defined as Dharma‍—
Without instructions from others,
And so I am the self-arisen possessor of the wisdom eye.

Buddha Shakyamuni

The Four Considerations for Choosing a Teacher ~ Mingyur Rinpoche

The four considerations for choosing a teacher are: an examination of the lineage, the teacher’s practice history, the teacher’s compassion and willingness to take care of the student, and the teacher’s discipline with regard to maintaining whatever vows he or she has taken. This is not information that you can look up on the Internet. You need to do a little work. But if our assessments check out and there is a heart connection between you and the teacher, our efforts will be worthwhile.

Mingyur Rinpoche

Share well-being ~ Pema Chödron

Usually we try to ward off feeling bad, and when we feel good we would like that to last forever. In tonglen, though, not only are we willing to breathe in painful things, we are also willing to breathe out our feelings of well-being, peace, and joy. We are willing to give these away, to share them with others.

Pema Chödron

Encountering the wind of adversity ~ Gyelse Tokme Zangpo

Whenever you encountered the wind of adversity
It only strengthened the fires of twofold bodhicitta,
Consuming the wood of karma and the kleśas—
Precious lord of Dharma, to you I pray.

Gyelse Tokme Zangpo

Integrating one’s practice with one’s life ~ Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

In order to be able to truly integrate one’s practice with one’s life, a few sessions of sitting meditation a day are simply not enough, because we live a twenty-four hour day, and an hour or two of practice just won’t give the right results. “Integrating”, on the other hand, means understanding the condition of “what is” in relation to life itself, without correcting it, so that every circumstance of one‘s life becomes an occasion for practice.

Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

Free of fixation ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

Pure awareness, the empty essence, the union of clarity and wisdom, the essence of clarity and wisdom — all these can be synonyms for wisdom or awareness. This is the essence that is present with in all sentient beings, yet we do not recognize it. We have the instructions to recognize it, and if we do, we should not fixate on it. Pure awareness is without fixation. We should not cling or fixate on it in any way. It is like a rainbow in the sky above, and when we are free of this fixation, experiences arise unimpeded, meaning without any blockages.

Thrangu Rinpoche

The ground of being ~ Alan Wallace

How can one know whether it is possible through practice to transcend the sense of duality, to transcend language, to transcend experience mediated by concepts? The only way to know is to do it, and that is the challenge. The Buddha declared it is possible. You are not locked into your own personal history, your own conceptual and cultural framework. You have your own personal history but it’s not the whole story. There is also a transcendent element to your being that can be accessed experimentally, and it goes beyond all concepts. The experience is frequently described as pure awareness, but it’s not awareness as part of a duality, such as mind and matter. It does not fit into the Cartesian game plan. If you access that experience by delving into the nature of awareness, then, coming out of it, you might describe it as unborn, spontaneous, nondual, uncontrived, unfabricated awareness. Moreover, when people come out of this experience, they tend to speak of the entire world, with all of its myriad diversity, arising from this primordial awareness. Such nonduality is the ground of being.

Alan Wallace

The three higher trainings ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

If we wish to practice the Dharma authentically but we do not have faith, however much we listen, reflect, and meditate, it will not bear fruit. Our practice will be without light, like the world before dawn when there is no sun.

We also need to use the field of pure discipline. To practice the Dharma, it is essential to have the solid foundation of the Pratimoksha, Bodhisattva, and Secret Mantrayana vows. Without these it is impossible to practice the Dharma, just as it is impossible to build a big house without having firm ground to build on.

Once we have this well-prepared field, we can plant in it the seeds of concentration from which experiences and realization will grow. We also have to take care of the field properly, to till the earth, spread manure, and water it; and the sun must shine on the field to warm it.

If all these conditions are brought together properly, then the crop of wisdom will grow without difficulty. And just as a good harvest brings wealth, with these three trainings, the trainings of discipline, concentration, and wisdom, it is certain we will attain liberation.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Shame ~ Pema Chödron

Shame is a loaded word for Westerners. Like most things, it can be seen in a positive or negative light. Negative shame is accompanied by guilt and self-denigration. It is pointless and doesn’t help us even slightly. Positive shame, on the other hand, is recognizing when we’ve harmed ourselves or anyone else and feeling sorry for having done so. It allows us to grow wiser from our mistakes. Eventually it dawns on us that we can regret causing harm without becoming weighed down by negative shame. Just seeing the hurt and heartbreak clearly motivates us to move on. By acknowledging what we did, cleanly and compassionately, we go forward.

Pema Chödron

The Buddhist concept of karma ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

The third contemplation in Mind Training is on the infallibility of karma, which is cause and effect. The word karma is often understood as a fate that is impossible to change or alter. But that is not the Buddhist concept of karma. The Buddha taught that one can do something about one’s karma. Happiness and suffering are created by karmic actions: they are the results of actions, and the actions are the result of our choice of what we do. We cannot change the results immediately, but we can still change the new causes that we create with our behavior.

Thrangu Rinpoche

Nothing more than the natural function of the mind ~ Mingyur Rinpoche

If I were to become aware of my habitual thoughts, perceptions, and sensations, rather than being carried away by them, their power over me would begin to fade. I would experience their coming and going as nothing more than the natural function of the mind, in the same way that waves naturally ripple across the surface of a lake or ocean.

Mingyur Rinpoche

Just like a dream ~ Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche

The phenomenal world is just like dream. Phenomena appear solid, but they do not exist in the same way as they appear. There is no solid reality behind them; from the very beginning, they are empty of intrinsic existence. There is nothing but a dynamic stream of ever-changing, interdependent relationships.

Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche

Smile and say nothing ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Having developed trust and belief in your guru, you may well go the extra mile and try to accomplish whatever he asks, as a way of accumulating merit and dismantling your ego and self-clinging. If you have developed a certain level of spiritual maturity, when your guru asks you to do his gardening for him, you will be more than happy to help. Or perhaps your guru will instruct you to go on a pilgrimage.

“Make a pilgrimage to London’s Bond Street every day, then keep the whole concept of ‘Bond Street’ a complete secret. Don’t tell anyone that Bond Street even exists.”

It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? The whole world already knows about Bond Street, but in the context of this custom-made practice, that detail is irrelevant. From now on, you must keep Bond Street a closely guarded secret. As crazy as it sounds, having consciously and soberly chosen to follow the Vajrayana teachings, going to Bond Street every day has now become your path.

If your guru gives you this kind of practice, don’t make an exhibition of it. Unless your guru tells you otherwise, no one needs to see you practise or know when and if you are practising – including your vajra brothers and sisters. Your worldly friends are sure to ask you why, come rain or shine, you walk up and down Bond Street every day, but you must say nothing. No matter how embarrassed you feel, or how often your friends make fun of your obsession or accuse you of having a screw loose, smile and say nothing. By doing so, your practice will accumulate far more merit than if you talked about it.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Watch the illusory spectacle ~ Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

Oh son, watch the illusory spectacle!
All birth and death is projected by delusion, not existing in reality.
I am beyond coming and going.
Let your fixation on distinction embrace the expanse!

Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

Recognizing pride ~ Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

When pride arises, do not be controlled by it; return to the recognition of the fundamental awareness. Pride can be very gross, as one can see in arrogant people, or it can take a subtle form that is felt inwardly but does not have a strong outward manifestation. It is important to recognize pride at the moment of its arising. When one has recognized it, one should neither follow nor control it, but return to the condition of awareness. Pride will suddenly disappear together with its object — some knowledge or skill with which one identifies — and what will be left will be the wisdom of equanimity.

Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Crush the eggshell of the mind ~ Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

Crush the eggshell of the mind and unfold your wings in the open sky. Destroy the hut of duality and inhabit the expansive mansion of pure awareness. There are no other enemies or obstacles to overcome and vanquish. Ignorance – dualistic thinking – is the great demon obstructing your path. Slay it right now and be free!

Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche