The key thing is to enjoy the goodness of what you are doing and feeling. Enjoy the sensation of filling your own heart with love and then offer it to others. You begin by first savoring the warm-heartedness that you give rise to, and only then expressing and extending it toward others. If it is not warming for you, how can you know it will be warming for others?
Lessons on impermanence are not absorbed overnight. Our habits are too entrenched. We learn, have insights, but we do not apply them, or are too threatened by them. The Buddha identified mistaking impermanence for permanence as one of the primary causes of suffering. Known as the Supreme Physician, he offered a cure for the sickness of samsara. But until we identify this sickness for ourselves, we will not accept the cure.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
According to the Dzogchen teachings, the state of primordial enlightenment has never been confused. The basic state of buddhas is like pure gold that is not covered by any dirt. Dirt is the example for the confused thinking that temporarily takes place. If the gold always remains pure, there is no cleaning to be done and there is no achievement of purity, because it already is like that from the beginning. That is the analogy for the state of primordial enlightenment of self-existing wakefulness that was never confused. If, first of all, there is no being confused then how can you use the phrase ‘being liberated’? It is impossible, because liberation is totally dependent upon having been confused. Since the awakened state of the buddhas are not confused, you cannot really say that buddhas become liberated either. It is only because of being mistaken that confusion can be cleared up. Unless there is confusion it is not possible to be liberated.
Appearance in itself does neither good nor harm,
But clinging to appearance binds you in existence.
Thus there is no need to search through manifold appearances.
Just cut the root of mind that clings to them.
In reality we are dying all the time, but our mind is not letting us know this.
If we do not let ourselves die, we cannot be reborn.
I learn that dying is rebirth. Death is life.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Any peace talks should begin with making peace with ourselves. First we need to recognize our anger, embrace it, and make peace with it. You don’t fight your anger, because your anger is you. Your anger is the wounded child in you. Why should you fight your anger? The method is entirely nonviolent: awareness, mindfulness, and tenderly holding your anger within you. Like this, your anger will transform naturally.
This mind that knows emptiness
Is itself the awakened mind, bodhichitta.
The buddha potential is just this.
The sugata essence is just this.
Because of tasting what is,
It is also the great bliss.
The understanding of Secret Mantra is just this.
Means and knowledge are just this.
The vast and profound is just this.
Samantabhadra and consort are just this.
This space and wisdom, perceiving while being empty,
Are what is called “knowing original enlightenment.”
This self-knowing, though one is still deluded,
Does not depend on other things,
So self-existing wakefulness is just this.
Being aware, it is cognizance,
A natural knowing that is free of thought.
This self-knowing cannot possibly form thoughts.
Without conceptualizing a “mind,”
Since it is not something to be conceived,
This original wakefulness, cognizant yet thought-free,
Is like the wisdom of the Buddha.
Therefore, it is taught, “Realize that luminous mind
Is the mind of original wakefulness,
And don’t seek an enlightenment separate from it.”
Nevertheless, this mind does become disturbed
By the defilement of momentary thoughts.
Like water, gold, or the sky,
It may be either pure or impure.
It is true that when we look at our minds, we have afflictions and thoughts, we have all kinds of suffering and problems. But at the same time, we always have the innate potential to transcend these. The reason why we have this innate potential is that the nature of the mind and the nature of everything that arises in the mind is emptiness. Regardless of what is passing through our mind, our mind is always the boundless space of emptiness. The innate potential of our minds lies in the very fact that our minds are empty. While emptiness is indeed the nature of the mind, the nature of that emptiness is wisdom; it is the innate potential for the arising of all qualities. In Buddhist scriptures this innate potential is called Buddha nature.
The concept of interdependence may seem jarring when we first apply it to ourselves personally. Sometimes when people first hear the idea that they are interdependent, they think that this somehow negates their individuality. This is far from the case. Our individuality is not threatened by interdependence. On the contrary, it is interdependence that has allowed us to develop the personality traits that define us in unique ways
The Buddha is the awakened one, and we too are buddhas. We are the awakened one — the one who continually leaps, who continually opens, who continually goes forward. Being a buddha isn’t easy. It’s accompanied by fear, resentment, and doubt. But learning to leap into open space with our fear, resentment, and doubt is how we become fully human beings. There isn’t any separation between samsara and nirvana, between the sadness and pain of the setting sun and the vision and power of the Great Eastern Sun, as the Shambhala teachings put it. One can hold them both in one’s heart, which is actually the purpose of practice.
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
Until pure compassion arises, there is no way to overcome limitations and sectarianism. However, there are many practitioners who reach a point after a while where they consider themselves like deities and treat others as opposing evil spirits, thereby strengthening their limitations and further accentuating attachment and hatred. Though they talk a lot about Mahamudra and Dzogchen, at the level of behavior, they are only becoming more expert and refined in acting according to the “eight worldly concerns”. This is a concrete sign that genuine compassion has not arisen and that, at the most fundamental level, the true and only root of compassion, the presence of awareness, has never arisen.
The less we know about the chattering, muttering voice in our heads that tell us what to do, what to believe, what to buy, which people we should love, and so forth, the more power we grant it to boss us around and convince us that whatever it says is true.
Tulku Thondup Rinpoche
Enlightened mind sees all but without grasping at the “self.” Because we are not grasping at “self,” there is no dividing into duality, no clash and conflict between the rigid surfaces of the mind’s dualistic concepts and its mental objects. When we see all with an open mind, we see all in oneness, unity. We see infinite phenomena simultaneously, as a result of the omniscient quality of the mind’s nature. Since there are no clashes or conflicts, all is in a state of oneness, a state of ultimate peace, joy, and universal love; all is absolute loving-kindness.
The attainment of Buddhahood, the path through which it is attained, really begins with the generation of bodhicitta, which is the intention to attain liberation so that one can bring all beings to that same state. Since this is the motivation with which the path is begun, when the result of the path, buddhahood, is attained, it is naturally spontaneous, impartial, and nonconceptual compassion. Therefore, we regard buddhas as having an awareness that is responsive to the needs of beings, so they are open and accessible to our prayers and supplications.
In addition to the two basic qualities a teacher must possess — altruistic intention and a sound knowledge of Dharma — three qualities are necessary on the part of a disciple. The first is perceptivity — attending closely, clarity of attention. The second quality is having an aspiration to put the teachings into practice. You aren’t receiving teachings merely to accumulate knowledge, or because the lama is charismatic, your friends are going, or other reasons. You have come because you really want to practice. Otherwise you are wasting the teacher’s time, which is a grave thing to do. The third quality is to attend to the teachings without prejudice, especially the prejudice of uncritically believing that your own ideas are true, while any assertion that differs from your beliefs is suspect. In other words, it’s imperative to have an open mind, one willing to critically reassess even your own most cherished assumptions. These three qualities, like those necessary in a teacher, are crucial.
Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche
That is the key: through understanding emptiness one is able to overcome attachment, clinging, and grasping. The Bodhisattva seeks to overcome attachment, not so as to become detached or indifferent to the world, but in order to get even more involved with the world. There is no longer that duality existing between the Bodhisattva and others — between the self and the world — because the self and the world both have the same nature, which is emptiness. Therefore, Bodhisattvas are able to execute their compassionate activities in a much more beneficial and far-ranging manner.
3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche
Confusion has no beginning, since as such it does not exist; this is beginningless samsara. The same is true also for the end of confusion. On the one hand, confusion has no end, since it does not exist; on the other hand, one can actually put an end to it in the sense of liberating oneself from the state of confusion. This is called “putting an end to samsara.
One morning at the end of zazen, Suzuki spoke to the students still facing the wall, repeating an old theme with a new twist: “When you hear the wake-up bell, you should jump out of bed right away. You shouldn’t lie there. Otherwise, how can you ever face death, which always comes suddenly? But don’t jump out of bed the way I did this morning. I knocked over my kerosene lamp.”
Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche
We need to travel on the path of healing and wholeness. That will take time. We may start out expecting quick relief from samsaric suffering. When that is not forthcoming, we may become disappointed, resentful, or indignant. We may even rail against the Dharma or abuse it. We cannot digest the powerful medicine of the Dharma in one dose, but as we treat ourselves in a stepwise fashion, our capacity to absorb Dharma increases. Then we can take — and ought to take — more and more powerful doses. When we can do that, we soon come to see the Dharma’s true potency and its healing power. It is the most powerful medicine for counteracting dukkha.
The Buddha had the insight to recognize that in essence all beings have the same potential to become equally realized, and to become fully awakened Buddhas. The Buddha saw that the potential of sentient beings is like a treasure hidden from sight. Unfortunately, we continually fail to recognize this potential, or Buddhanature as it is called, buried within each of us. Because of our habitual patterns and bewilderment, we find ourselves constantly involved with and entertained by the superficial appearances of pleasure and happiness. For instance, we usually think of increased popularity and fame or the accumulation of material wealth as sources of happiness. The Buddha pointed out that these aspects of the relative phenomenal world are perpetually subject to change, deceptiveness, and impermanence. As a result, while it is possible to be temporarily entertained or distracted, we constantly meet with obstacles and limitations in our pursuit of transitory pleasures. This is due to our failure to direct our efforts toward the unraveling of our own confusion and bewilderment.