Page six




Compassion and happiness


We may say, and even half-believe, that compassion is marvellous,
but in practice our actions are deeply uncompassionate
and bring us and others mostly frustration and distress, and not the happiness we are all seeking.

Isn’t it absurd that we all long for happiness,
yet nearly all our actions and feelings lead us directly away from that happiness?

What do we imagine will make us happy?
A canny, self-seeking, resourceful selfishness, the selfish protection of ego,
which can as we all know, make us at moments extremely brutal.

But in fact the complete reverse is true:
Self-grasping and self-cherishing are seen, when you really look at them,
to be the root of all harm to others, and also of all harm to ourselves.

Sogyal Rinpoche



For meditation to happen


For meditation to happen, calm and auspicious conditions have to be created.
Before we have mastery over our minds, we need first to calm their environment.

At the moment, our minds are like a candle flame: unstable, flickering, constantly changing,
fanned by the violent winds of our thoughts and emotions.
The flame will burn steadily only when we can calm the air around it;
so we can only begin to glimpse and rest in the nature of mind
when we have stilled the turbulence of our thoughts and emotions.

On the other hand, once we have found a stability in our meditation,
noises and disturbances of every kind will have far less impact.

Sogyal Rinpoche



The Treasury of Teachings


Know the essence of mind.
Its intrinsic essence is pure clarity
It is essentially the same as a Buddha.

Know the functions of mind.
Its functions produce the treasury of teachings.

When its activity is always silent,
Myriad illusions become suchness.

Tao-hsin (580-651)





Always observe impermanence,
never forget it.

This urges on the will
to seek enlightenment.

Keizan Jokin (1264-1325)





Train yourself in doing good
that lasts and brings happiness.

Cultivate generosity, the life of peace,
and a mind of boundless love.

Itivuttaka, 16



One "simple" question


It has often intrigued me how some Buddhist masters I know
ask one simple question to people who approach them for teaching:

“Do you believe in a life after this one?”

They are not being asked whether they believe in it as a philosophical proposition
but whether they feel it deeply in their hearts.

The master knows that if a man believes in a life after this one,
his whole outlook on life will be different,
and he will have a distinct sense of personal responsibility and morality.

What the masters must suspect is that there is a danger
that people who have no strong belief in a life after this one
will create a society fixated on short-term results,
without much thought for the consequences of their actions.

Could this be the major reason why we have created a world like the one we are now living in,
a world with hardly any real compassion?

Sogyal Rinpoche



Enlightening Teachings


If you forget your feelings
about things of the world,
they become enlightening teachings.

If you get emotional
about enlightening teaching,
it becomes a worldly thing.

Muso Kokushi (1275-1351)



A way not to follow


There is ultimately no means
of safeguarding anything in this world;
anything you gain can be lost,
destroyed, or taken away.

For this reason
if you make the acquisition and retention
of goods or status your aim in life,
this is a way to anxiety and sorrow.

Muso Kokushi (1275-1351)



No form, no emptiness


The true empty mind is before thinking.
Your substance is before thinking.
Your substance is universal substance.

Before thinking, there is no speech and no language.
There is no God, no Buddha,
no mountain, no river, nothing at all.

Thus, no form, no emptiness.

Zen Master Seung Sahn



Buddhist doctrine


The Buddhist doctrine for this world
Is not to be separated from worldly knowledge.

To search for enlightenment apart from this world
Is equivalent to seeking horns on a rabbit!

Ven. Hui Neng



Impure and pure mind


When your mind is pure,
your thought is pure,
and your speech is pure,
and your deeds are pure.

purifies your mind.

Desmond Chong



Do not forget


Once you have decided to live Buddhism
Do not forget to live.

Check you breathing frequently
So you will not forget.

Des boo ngoh



The First Principle


Bodhidharma said, 'I don't know.'
'I don't know' is the First Principle. Do you understand?

The First Principle cannot be known in terms of good or bad,
right or wrong, because it is both right and wrong.

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi



Instructions for use


Whatever meditation method you use, drop it, or simply let it dissolve on its own,
when you find that you have arrived naturally at a state of alert, expansive, and vibrant peace.

Then remain there quietly, undistracted, without necessarily using any particular method.
The method has already achieved its purpose.

However, if you do stray or become distracted,
then return to whatever technique is most appropriate to call you back.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Peace is present here and now


Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see.
The question is whether or not we are in touch with it.

We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living.
We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma,
and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on.

But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive at the present moment,
the only moment there is for us to be alive.
Every breath we take, every step we make,
can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity.

We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment

Master Thich Nhat Hanh



Mindful speech


Do not ever speak harsh and angry words.
Such is always retaliated with angry talk.
Painful indeed is arrogant speech.
The inevitable retaliation invariably falls
back on such proud boaster.

If silent as a broken bell,
such one is close to Nibbana,
and far away from arrogance.

Dhammapada 133-134





“Look, it’s like this:
When the past thought has ceased, and the future thought has not yet risen, isn’t there a gap?”

“Yes,” said disciple Apa Pant.

“Well, prolong it: That is meditation.”

Master Jamyang Khyentse





How much substance
does any memory have in the present?

So when you explore memory, just observe that memories come and go;
and when they’re gone consciousness is what remains.

Consciousness is now.
This the path, here and now, the way it is.

Use what is happening now as the path,
rather than going along with the idea that you are somebody from the past
who needs to practice to get rid of all your defilements in order to become enlightened in the future.
That is just a self you create and believe in.

Ajahn Sumedho



Engaged Zen


Engaged Zen is a practice,
not a thought or a set of rituals.

We practice in the world
for the benefit of the world.

Master So Daiho



This moment


Bring your attention to this moment, here and now.
Whatever you’re feeling physically or emotionally,
whatever its quality, this is the way it is.

And this knowing of the way it is is consciousness;
it’s how we experience the now.

Be aware of this.
When we’re fully conscious, aware of here and now with no attachment,
then we’re not trying to solve our problems,
remembering the past, or planning for the future.

And if we are doing these things, then we stop and recognize what we’re doing.
Non attachment means that we’re not creating anything more in our minds; we’re just aware.
This is reflecting on the way it is.

Ajahn Sumedho



Walking Meditation


Usually in our daily life we walk because we want to go somewhere.
Walking is only a means to an end,
and that is why we do not enjoy every step we take.

Walking meditation is different.
Walking is only for walking.
You enjoy every step you take.

So this is a kind of revolution in walking.
You allow yourself to enjoy every step you take.

Dhyana Master Thich Nhat Hanh



Bodhicitta is the powerful solution


The entire world is built on attachment,
but the Buddha explained that even one moment's thought of Bodhicitta,
the mind dedicated to enlightenment for the sake of others,
can destroy a hundred thousand lifetimes' negative karma.

We have attachment that makes us tight and uncomfortable.
But even a tiny spark of Bodhicitta's heat makes the heart warm and relaxed.

Bodhicitta is the powerful solution,
the energy that destroys the kingdom of attachment.

Lama Thubten Yeshe





If one religion cannot tolerate another how can it teach to tolerate anything in this world?
Religious intolerance and narrow-mindedness among Church and religious leaders
have let down many of their adherents who call themselves "free thinkers".

These are not the benefits of religious practice,
but the failure to understand and practice religion.

Lama Choedak



I simply am


When I am in the nature of mind, the ordinary mind is no longer there.
There is no need to sustain or confirm a sense of being: I simply am.

A fundamental trust is present.
There is nothing in particular to do.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Who dies?


In meditation we can go deeply into the mind
to investigate who it is that we really are.

Who dies? Because what dies is not who we are.

Sister Medhanandi



Essential Teaching


Searching for words, hunting for phrases,
When will it end?

Esteeming knowledge and gathering information,
Only maddens the spirit.

Just entrust yourself to your own nature,
Empty and illuminating.

Beyond this, I have nothing to teach.

Master Bankei



Natural and spacious


In meditation, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible.

Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self,
release all grasping, and relax into your true nature.

Let peace work on you and enable you to gather your scattered mind
into the mindfulness of Calm Abiding,
and awaken in you the awareness and insight of Clear Seeing.

Sogyal Rinpoche



I have arrived. I am home


I have arrived. I am home.
In the here. In the now.
I am solid. I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.

To take an in-breath, to smile, and to touch the conditions of happiness that are available,
is something that all of us can do.
Because of that we can stop and establish ourselves in the present moment.
That is the teaching of living happily in the present moment.

Please train yourself to make the present moment,
the here and the now, your true home.
That is the only home that we have.
That is the only place where we can touch life.

Dhyana Master Thich Nhat Hanh



Child of illusion


It is essential to realize now, in life, when we still have a body,
that its convincing appearance of solidity is a mere illusion.

The most powerful way to realize this is to learn how,
after meditation, to become a “child of illusion”:
to refrain from solidifying, as we are always tempted to do,
the perceptions of ourselves and our world;
and to go on, like the “child of illusion,” seeing directly, as we do in meditation,
that all phenomena are illusory and dreamlike.

This practice deepens our body’s illusory nature realization,
and is one of the most profound and inspiring insights to help us to let go.

Sogyal Rinpoche



True Nature


I explain to you matters pertaining to enlightenment,
But don't try to keep your mind on them.

Just turn to the ocean of your true nature
And develop practical accord with its essence.

Master Yangshan



Real happiness


The Buddha discovered that real happiness
includes not only being fed and clothed well,
but above all maintaining a peaceful mind.

The Buddha was able to realize transcendental wisdom because his mind,
free from disputes and material desires, was tranquil and serene.
The Buddha's teachings are derived from his personal experiences and realization.
He was able to realize the truth by mindful contemplation.

Dhyana Master Cheng-Yen



The Meditative Mind


The more we know of the Dhamma, the more we can watch whether we comply with its guidelines.
There is no blame attached to our inability to do so.
But the least we can do is to know the guidelines and know where we're making mistakes.

Then we practice to get nearer and nearer to absolute reality,
until one day we will actually ”be” the Dhamma.

Ayya Khema



Maintaining concentration


For adepts the principle of maintaining concentration and insight is not a matter of effort;
it is spontaneous and effortless, with no particular time frame.

When seeing and hearing, they are just so;
when dressing and eating, they are just so;
when conversing with people, they are just so.

Whatever they are doing,
walking, standing, sitting, reclining, speaking, silent, rejoicing,
at all times and in everything they are thus.

Master Chinul



Mind in meditation


What should we “do” with the mind in meditation?
Nothing at all. Just leave it, simply, as it is.

One master described meditation as
“Mind, suspended in space, nowhere.”

Sogyal Rinpoche



Remember the view


Wrong views and wrong convictions can be the most devastating of all our delusions.
On the other hand, the heart of Buddha’s teaching is to see
“the actual state of things, as they are,” and this is called the true View.

It is a view that is all-embracing, as the role of spiritual teachings
is precisely to give us a complete perspective on the nature of mind and reality.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Present moment


If students really have the intention to seek to be sages,
Then they must seek to focus their attention on this present moment.

This is the basis for becoming a sage.

Master Zou Shouyi



In daily life


In daily life, you have opportunities for continuous illumination.
When you cook an opportunity to reach enlightenment.
When you clean the floor you have a chance to reach enlightenment.

Whatever you do, have it, therefore, expect no help from anyone.
Do not waste our forces to seek a place of refuge.
Protect yourself and grow right up to heaven, is all.

Suzuki Roshi



Returning to silence


When you really want to know who you are or what the real significance of human life,
human suffering is, very naturally you come back to silence,
even though you don't want to, you return to an area of no-sound.

It cannot be explained, but in this silence you can realize, even if only dimly,
what the real point is that you want to know.
Whatever kind of question you ask or whatever you think,
finally you have to return to silence.

This silence is vast; you don't know what it is.

Suzuki Roshi



Put the Teaching into practice


Little though he recites the sacred texts,
but puts the Teaching into practice,
forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion.

With true wisdom and emancipated mind,
clinging to nothing of this or any other world
he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.

Dhammapada 20



Loving-kindness for yourself


Don’t forget to have loving-kindness for yourself.

You are also a living being who deserves,
who needs love and compassion.
In fact, you can’t really love others
until you learn to love yourself.

That doesn’t mean being selfish and egotistical.
It means being a friend to yourself,
accepting yourself as you are with your faults and limitations,
knowing that you can change and grow.

Ven. Sangye Khadro





Again and again we need to appreciate
the subtle workings of the teachings and the practice.

And even when there is no extraordinary, dramatic change,
to persevere with calm and patience.

Sogyal Rinpoche





When you are Empty
You are not fearful of giving
Because you are not giving
A part of yourself.

You have realized emptiness.

When you are preoccupied with yourself
And feel full of yourself
You will feel fear to give away
A part of yourself.

Des Boo-ngoh





The vagaries of life
though painful,
teach us not to cling
to this fleeting world.

Master Ikkyu



Pain and Practice


If you feel pain,
I need to practice
again and again.

Dharma Master





The compassionate wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all others,
is called Bodhicitta in Sanskrit.

We could translate it as “the heart of our enlightened mind.”
In our tradition we pray with such urgency:

“Those who haven’t yet given birth to precious Bodhicitta,
May they give birth soon,
Those who have given birth,
May their Bodhicitta not lessen
but increase further and further.”

Sogyal Rinpoche



To live by example


The best way to teach
is to live by example.

Buddha taught not so much by words,
but by the way He lived.

Des Boo-Ngoh



I will not run away from suffering


The times when you are suffering can be those when you are open,
and where you are extremely vulnerable can be where your greatest strength really lies.

Say to yourself:

“I am not going to run away from this suffering. I want to use it in the best and richest way I can,
so that I can become more compassionate and more helpful to others.”

Suffering, after all, can teach us about compassion.
If you suffer, you will know how it is when others suffer.
And if you are in a position to help others,
it is through your suffering that you will find the understanding and compassion to do so.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Wholesome transformations


In the Patthana Pali it is said,

"Akusalo dhamma kusalassa dhammassa upanissaya paccayena paccayo
unwholesome mental factors too, can however support the formation of wholesome mental factors."

So even small unwholesome mental attachments can lead to good states of mind.
In this view, teachers and preachers should teach the Dhamma
with sincerity and goodwill to promote such developments.

And disciples and devotees, on their part, should properly practise what is taught,
so as to get beneficial results.

Ashin Janakabhivamsa
Selangor Buddhist Vipassana Society



Compassion and pity


Compassion is a far greater and nobler thing than pity.

Pity has its roots in fear and carries a sense of arrogance and condescension,
sometimes even a smug feeling of “I’m glad it’s not me.”

As Stephen Levine says:

“When your fear touches someone’s pain it becomes pity;
when your love touches someone’s pain, it becomes compassion.”

To train in compassion is to know that all beings are the same and suffer in similar ways,
to honour all those who suffer, and to know that you are neither separate from nor superior to anyone.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Twenty minutes


Often people ask me:

“How long should I meditate? And when?
Should I practice twenty minutes in the morning and in the evening,
or is it better to do several short practices during the day?”

Yes, it is good to meditate for twenty minutes,
though that is not to say that twenty minutes is the limit.
I have not found in the scriptures any reference to twenty minutes;
I think it is a notion that has been contrived in the West,
and I call it Meditation Western Standard Time.

The point is not how long you meditate;
the point is whether the practice actually brings you to a certain state of mindfulness and presence,
where you are a little open and able to connect with your heart essence.

And five minutes of wakeful sitting practice
is of far greater value than twenty minutes of dozing!

Sogyal Rinpoche



Refuges along the Path


Usually we think of Going for Refuge as the first step of Buddhist practice,
a formula that one recites at the beginning of one's life as a Buddhist,
but which afterwards drops away into the background.

However, the act of Going for Refuge can be used as a vehicle of practice,
a method of self-cultivation, because when one Goes for Refuge
what one is actually doing is giving a particular direction to the mind.

If it is done mindfully, slowly, and deliberately,
the Going for Refuge activates certain factors of the mind.
We will consider one way this happens in terms of five spiritual faculties (indriya).

The five faculties are faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom.
By Going for Refuge consciously, one is actually arousing, strengthening,
and reinforcing these five mental qualities to the point
where they become guiding factors of spiritual development.

Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi



The beginner’s mind


The beginner’s mind is an open mind, an empty mind, a ready mind,
and if we really listen with a beginner’s mind, we might really begin to hear.

For if we listen with a silent mind,
as free as possible from the clamour of preconceived ideas,
a possibility will be created for the truth of the teachings to pierce us,
and for the meaning of life and death to become increasingly and startlingly clear.

My master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said:

“The more and more you listen, the more and more you hear;
the more and more you hear, the deeper and deeper your understanding becomes.”

Sogyal Rinpoche





'How can this world be empty,
as I see beings all the time!?'

Don't misunderstand the term,
that's where you are having trouble, friend.

Beings exist,
along with their minds and bodies.
However, their minds and bodies are constantly changing,
in a flux, unstable, always changing
into something different than what it was before.

This what was meant by 'empty,'
not anything else.
Empty means 'empty of substance',
and not 'non-existent'.

I hope that makes sense.

Bhikkhu Samahita



The value of mistakes


How many mistakes,
can someone make,
in one lifetime?

How much knowledge,
can be gained,
from those very mistakes?

The light of experience,
makes all lives bright.

Bhikkhu Samahita



The key


Taking life seriously does not mean spending our whole lives meditating
as if we were living in the Himalaya Mountains or in the old days in Tibet.

In the modern world, we have to work to earn our living,
but we should not get entangled in a nine-to-five existence,
where we live without any view of the deeper meaning of life.

Our task is to strike a balance, to find a middle way,
to learn not to overextend ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations,
but to simplify our lives more and more.

The key to finding a happy balance in modern life is simplicity.

Sogyal Rinpoche



When you are practicing meditation


When you are practicing meditation,
it’s important not to get involved in mental commentary, analysis, or internal gossip.

Do not mistake the running commentary in your mind
(“Now I’m breathing in, now I’m breathing out”) for mindfulness;
what is important is pure presence.

Don’t concentrate too much on the breath; give it about 25 percent of your attention,
with the other 75 percent quietly and spaciously relaxed.

As you become more mindful of your breathing,
you will find that you become more and more present,
gather all your scattered aspects back into yourself, and become whole.

Sogyal Rinpoche



A flower in sunlight


Feeling the living presence of Buddha, of Padmasambhava, of your master,
and simply opening your heart and mind to the embodiment of truth,
really does bless and transform your mind.

As you invoke Buddha,
your own Buddha nature is inspired to awaken and blossom,
as naturally as a flower in sunlight.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Meditate with your breath


When you meditate, breathe naturally, just as you always do.

Focus your awareness lightly on the outbreath.
When you breathe out, just flow out with the outbreath.
Each time you breathe out, you are letting go and releasing all your grasping.
Imagine your breath dissolving into the all-pervading expanse of truth.

Each time you breathe out, and before you breathe in again,
you will find that there is a natural gap, as your grasping dissolves.

Rest in that gap, in that open space.

And when, naturally, you breathe in, don’t focus especially on the inbreath,
but go on resting your mind in the gap that has opened up.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Realize enlightenment


Even if you do cultivate myriad practices,
if you don’t know the mind,
you cannot realize enlightenment.

How can there be any way
to fulfil the way of the Buddha
if you don’t realize enlightenment?

Master Daikaku (1235 -1309)



Your heart is like a cup


If your cup is small,
a little bit of salt will make the water salty.

If your heart is small,
then a little bit of pain can make you suffer.

Your heart must be large.

Dhyana Master Thich Nhat Hanh



Bringing your mind home


Isn’t it extraordinary that our minds cannot stay still
for longer than a few moments without grasping after distraction?

We are fragmented into so many different aspects.
We don’t know who we really are,
or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in.

So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives
that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home.

Meditation, then, is bringing your mind home.

Sogyal Rinpoche



The nature of your mind


To recognize the nature of your mind
is to engender in the ground of your being
an understanding that will change your entire worldview
and help you discover and develop, naturally and spontaneously,
a compassionate desire to serve all beings.

As well as a direct knowledge of how best you can do so,
with whatever skill or ability you have, in whatever circumstances you find yourself.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Share your love


My heartfelt advice to those in the depths of grief and despair,
after losing someone they dearly loved is to pray for help and strength and grace.

Pray that you will survive and discover the richest possible meaning
to the new life you now find yourself in.

Be vulnerable and receptive, be courageous and patient.
Above all, look into your life to find ways of sharing your love more deeply with others now.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Looking at your life directly


Bereavement can force you to look at your life directly,
compelling you to find a purpose in it where there may not have been one before.

When suddenly you find yourself alone after the death of someone you love,
it can feel as if you are being given a new life and are being asked:

“What will you do with this life?
And why do you wish to continue living?”

Sogyal Rinpoche



There is always hope


In Tibet we say:

“Negative action has one good quality: it can be purified.”

So there is always hope.
Even murderers and the most hardened criminals
can change and overcome the conditioning that led them to their crimes.

Our present condition, if we use it skilfully and with wisdom,
can be an inspiration to free ourselves from the bondage of suffering.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Come and See


Buddhism is always a question of knowing and seeing,
and not that of believing.

The teaching of the Buddha is qualified as Ehi-Passiko,
inviting you to come and see, but not to come and believe.

Ven. Dr. W. Rahula



Enemy of religion


There is little of what we call dogma in the Buddha's teaching.

With a breadth of view rare in that age
and not common in ours, He refuses to stifle criticism.

Intolerance seemed to him the greatest enemy of religion.

Dr. S Radhakrishnan



No force


To force oneself to believe and to accept a thing without understanding
is political, and not spiritual or intellectual.

Ven. W. Rahula



Right Speech


Right speech thus becomes a part of the path to freedom.
This is not easy. Most people find it difficult.

We can easily believe deluded projections
and dismiss someone with insensitivity and unkindness.

Or we can believe in some petty complaint
and then poke someone in a heartless manner.

Or we might feel jealous of someone's success and tear them down behind their backs
so many ways to close the heart and get lost in wrong speech.
The empathy and love in the heart gets smothered and we end up feeling more and more alienated.

The precept on speech is a very useful mirror
to help us notice the motivations and intentions that lie behind our words.

Master Ajahn Viradhammo



Arising and passing away


You should practice bringing everything back to your own mind.
Look at your mind with this mindfulness and clear comprehension and develop this wisdom.

With these three conditions there will arise a ''letting go''.
You'll know the constant arising and passing away of all phenomena.

You should know that that which is arising and passing away is only the activity of mind.

Master Ajahn Chah





Emotions can and do cloud our minds.
When we allow our preferences to act as filters we only see filtered material.

From a Zen point of view then, life should be lived deeply in the raw.
Does this mean we should not love or hate? No.
It does mean that we should be aware that such emotions are of our own making
and act as blinders to reality.

It is this distortion that creates discord and disturbs our peace.
Both life and death, love and hate, like and dislike are not separate things,
but the same thing on a continuum.

One cannot be without the other.
Hate one, love the other, and we find ourselves arguing with reality itself.

Sodaiho Roshi



Strong mirrors


The Buddhist teaching around compassion and empathy
and affectionate participation in life puts up strong mirrors.

We try to have universal empathy but it can be a challenge.
The first monk I met said to me

'Don't worry about the parts of Buddhism you agree with.
It is the bits you find difficult to follow which are the tough ones'.

These are like mirrors which present a challenge to the mind.

Venerable Ajahn Viradhammo





To me community implies a sense of affection for one's place,
for the trees, for the water one uses, for the air one breathes, for the food one eats,
for governance, for the street one uses, for one's neighbour,
for the shoemaker, for the greengrocer and so on.

A Buddhist culture implies the sense of developing community
by being responsible for all these very real things.

Venerable Ajahn Viradhammo



Remain vulnerable


Whatever you do, don’t shut off your pain;
accept your pain and remain vulnerable.

However desperate you become, accept your pain as it is,
because it is in fact trying to hand you a priceless gift:
the chance of discovering, through spiritual practice, what lies behind sorrow.

“Grief,” Rumi wrote, “can be the garden of compassion.
If you keep your heart open through everything,
your pain can become your greatest ally
in your life’s search for love and understanding.”

Sogyal Rinpoche



The quality of thought


The quality of your life
The quality of your thought.

Think about it.

Des boo ngoh



Meditation as it is


Take care not to impose anything on the mind.
When you meditate, there should be no effort to control,
and no attempt to be peaceful.

Don’t be overly solemn or feel that you are taking part in some special ritual;
let go even of the idea that you are meditating.

Let your body remain as it is, and your breath as you find it.
Think of yourself as the sky, holding the whole universe.

Sogyal Rinpoche





Is consciousness something having to do with the brain?
We tend to think of it as some kind of mental state that depends on the brain.
The attitude of Western scientists is that consciousness is in the brain.

But the more you explore it with mindfulness and understanding you see that the brain,
the nervous system, the whole psychophysical formation here,
arises in this consciousness and it is imbued with this consciousness.
That is why we can be aware of the body.

Reflecting on the four postures — sitting, standing, walking and lying down.
Being aware of sitting as it is being experienced now,
you are not limited to something that is in the brain, but the body is in the consciousness,
you are aware of the whole body in the experience of sitting.

Ajahn Sumedho



Am I really being honest with myself?


Am I really being honest with myself?

Is a good question to pose at the right time,
for we never really like to see ourselves in our more negative orunlikeable modes.

But in fact, seeing clearly is not just a matter
of taking on board more honest perceptions of oneself;
rather, it is to see that all perceptions of self,
if grasped at and believed in,
distort the truth; creating only more deception and dukkha.

Ajahn Jitindriya



The beginning of the Path


When the Buddha taught the First Noble Truth,
he said that taking refuge in human existence is an unsatisfactory experience.

If one attaches to this mortal frame, one will suffer.
Not getting what you want is painful
    –  that’s quite easy to relate to  –  
Getting what you don’t want can also be painful.

But as we walk a little further in the footsteps of the Buddha,
even getting what we want is painful!

This is the beginning of the path of awakening.

Ajahn Sundara





A human being can experience a sustaining sense of well-being or happiness
that is not dependent on circumstances.

The Buddha's intention was not to create a religion,
nor to accumulate a great number of disciples,
but to help those who wished to be helped towards the simple goal of well-being.

Ajahn Sucitto



Truth: Agree to Disagree


The Buddha taught thus (D.I,164)

“Those things about which there is no agreement, let us put aside.
Those things about which there is agreement,
let the wise bring up, discuss, and examine.”

As one should amicably agree to discuss for truth if possible,
one should amicably agree to disagree only as a last resort.




A gap


In the ordinary mind, we perceive the stream of thoughts as continuous,
but in reality this is not the case.
You will discover for yourself that there is a gap between each thought.

When the past thought is past,
and the future thought has not yet arisen,
you will always find a gap in which the nature of mind, is revealed.

So the work of meditation is to allow thoughts to slow down,
to make that gap become more and more apparent.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Deep listening


Listening is a far more difficult process than most people imagine.
Really to listen in the way that is meant by the masters is to let go utterly of ourselves,
to let go of all the information, all the concepts, all the ideas,
and all the prejudices that our heads are stuffed with.

If you really listen to the teachings, those concepts,
which are our real hindrance,
the one thing that stands between us and our true nature,
can slowly and steadily be washed away.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Confidence: Triple Gem


Of what use is a confident doctor,
confident with his medicine,
confident with his nurses who serves it,
if the patients lack confidence in them?

The greatest doctor is the Buddha.
The greatest medicine is the Dharma he discovered.
The greatest nurses is the Arya Sangha he nurtured.
The doubtful patients are us?




A new day


Waking up in the morning,
I am aware of just how precious a new day is:
Its freshness should not be taken for granted.

So, what will I do with this day?
What will you do with this day?

Dharma Teacher



Undefiled love


What begins as defiled love may end in hatred.
Defiled love is the foundation of samsara.
If we cultivate undefiled, pure love, however,
we shall no longer generate the hatred
which arises out of the second nature of defiled love.

Untroubled by hatred, all beings can coexist peacefully,
free to strive even for liberation.

Dharma Teacher



The mind in meditation


What should we “do” with the mind in meditation?
Nothing at all.

Just leave it, simply, as it is.

One master described meditation as
“Mind, suspended in space, nowhere.”

Sogyal Rinpoche



Beginner's mind


You can't learn Buddhism
Without a beginner's mind.

If you act as though you are learned
You can't learn.

Desmond Chong



Taking impermanence to heart


Taking impermanence truly to heart is to be slowly freed from the idea of grasping.

At the beginning this may be painful to accept.
But as we reflect, slowly our hearts and minds go through a gradual transformation.
Letting go begins to feel more natural, and becomes easier and easier.

The more we reflect, the more we develop the view of letting go.
It is then that a complete shift takes place in our way of looking at everything.

Sogyal Rinpoche





Over the ages you have followed objects,
Never once turning back to look within.

Time slips away;
Months and years are wasted.

Master Kuei-Shan (771-854)



Like the sky


The nature of mind is the background to the whole of life and death like the sky,
which enfolds the whole universe in its embrace.

Sogyal Rinpoche



Happiness: the Four Immeasurables Minds


Loving-kindness: May all be happy.
Compassion: May all not be unhappy.

Appreciative Joy: May all be happy that others are happy.
Equanimity: May all be equally happy.




Karma: by Inaction


Usually, karma is taught to be created by intentional action,
but it is easily forgotten how our inactions can have effects too.
Intentional inactions create karma to some extent as willful “mental action” too - e.g.

Intentionally not clarifying a dispute (out of lack of loving kindness and compassion)
or not thanking (out of lack of gratitude),
or not apologizing (out of lack of humility; pride),
or not praising or rejoicing (out of lack of appreciative joy; or jealousy)
or not seeking understanding other’s mistakes (out of being needlessly judgmental)




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