The point is that Dharma is intended to benefit the mind, so whatever one does in Dharma is likewise intended to benefit the mind. If a particular practice is beneficial to the mind, then it is positive. Therefore, if practices such as doing prostrations and setting up an altar and making offerings and repeating the Dorje Sempa [Vajrasattva] mantra benefit the mind, one should definitely do them. They can all benefit the mind.
Buddha Shakyamuni said that all phenomena are an expression of the mind. The mind is the most important thing to work with in Dharma. So one’s basic frame of reference in any Dharma practice is working with and transforming the mind, and whatever furthers that intention is an appropriate activity in Dharma.
When you feel authentic love toward others, you will be deeply moved to act. You will not rest until you have found ways to secure the happiness of all those you are able to include in your feelings of love. As you learn to love more and more widely, your love will motivate you to act to benefit not just the few people in your inner circle, but your whole society, and eventually, the whole world.
Most Vajrayana students are convinced they have boundless devotion for their guru, but in reality what they feel is more like admiration, in the same way they might admire a political candidate whose ethical and moral standing reassures them.
Not only is that not devotion, it’s actually quite dangerous. If the politician ignores you or does something slightly unsavory, even just once, the next chance you get, you will probably not vote for him. Likewise, if the guru at some point ceases to reassure you, you will want to switch gurus. This fickleness is what keeps politicians on a continuous campaign trail, trying to prove their worth and distributing freebies to make people feel special. No guru should have to campaign in order to fish out devotion from a student.
Some admiration may come naturally at the beginning of a guru-disciple relationship, but how do you get beyond merely liking the guru to true devotion? You can start by checking your motivation. Forget about enlightening all sentient beings; you should be following the guru because, at the very least, you’re seeking your own enlightenment. Yet many people approach the guru with a less straightforward motivation.
Clinging cannot be limited;
even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment
is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way
and there will be neither coming nor going.
At present we have achieved the perfect human body of freedoms and riches. We have met the precious teachings of the greater vehicle. We now have the independence to genuinely apply the sacred dharma, so do not squander your life on pointless things. Instead, pursue the lasting goal.
The plants and flowers
I raised about my hut
I now surrender
To the will
Of the wind.
If one trains for a long time in the union of the two truths, the stage of acceptance (on the path of joining), which is attuned to primordial wisdom, will arise. By thus acquiring a certain conviction in that which surpasses intellectual knowledge, and by training in it, one will eventually actualize it. This is precisely how the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas have said that liberation is to be gained.
What makes an action good or bad? Not how it looks, nor whether it is big or small, but the good or evil motivation behind it. No matter how many teachings you have heard, to be motivated by ordinary concerns — such as a desire for greatness, fame or whatever, is not the way of the true Dharma.
To understand the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen equally
the timeless Self-essence is reached.
No comparisons or analogies are possible
in this causeless, relationless state.
Consider motion in stillness
and stillness in motion;
both movement and stillness disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality
no law or description applies.
The Way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.