When our mind is totally aware there’s no I on these aggregates, then whether somebody praises us or puts us down, it doesn’t affect us, it doesn’t bring our life up or down. There’s continual inner peace, happiness and tranquility. We don’t suffer due to the external conditions, we don’t create negative karma by delusions arising and we don’t create the cause of suffering.
Stop living a false and empty life.
Drop those deceptions of your own mind
And endless projects that you don’t need!
Don’t make your head spin with the burden
Of strings of ideas that never come true
And endless distracting activities —
They’re just waves on water.
Just keep quiet.
Siddhartha was right to think that teaching would be no easy task. In a world that is driven by greed, pride, and materialism, even teaching basic principles such as love, compassion, and philanthropy is very difficult, let alone the ultimate truth of emptiness. We are stuck with our short-term thinking and bound by practicality. For us, something must be tangible and immediately useful in order to be worth our investment of time and energy. By those criteria, emptiness as defined by Buddha seems completely useless.
Buddhism frequently speaks of overcoming dissatisfaction and discontentment, as if these experiences are always undesirable. In certain respects, however, discontentment is necessary. No matter what we have achieved in the past about which we may justiﬁably feel proud, we should not be satisﬁed with that but should look to develop and improve ourselves further. This is an ongoing process. We should have the enthusiasm to want to go further and further in relating to others and developing ourselves on a spiritual and psychological level. Our normal experiences of dissatisfaction, incompleteness, deprivation, privation, or sense of lack can and must be sublimated into spiritual ones. We should never be satisﬁed with our spiritual progress, thinking, ‘‘This will do,’’ or ‘‘That is enough.’’ We should always have hunger for deeper, higher, richer experiences on the path.
When you think death, you make death. When you think life, you make life. When you are not thinking, there is no life and no death. In empty mind, is there a you? Is there an I?
Every day, priests minutely examine the Dharma
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by
The wind and rain, the snow and moon.
In short, all the inﬁnite phenomena of samsara and nirvana are nothing else than the projection of one’s own mind and are therefore an illusion. Nothing is truly existent and permanent. When you understand this, you will realize that everything is unborn like space, that its nature is emptiness. It is with this realization — that you yourself, the teacher, and all phenomena are like a dream and illusion — that you should practice the meditation on the wisdom deity and recite the mantra. And if you ever have a sign of accomplishment, even a vision of the yidam, you should continue to recognize its illusory nature and avoid the error of feeling attached or proud. To be conceited and think, “I have achieved a sign of accomplishment” is an obstacle, a demon.
However high your realization may be, you must never be proud of any signs such as clairvoyance that you may experience, but remain free from clinging and see their dreamlike nature. Otherwise, if you are attached to such things, it will be impossible for even the most basic qualities of the path to develop in your mind. As the great siddha Saraha said, “Wherever there is attachment, there will be a downfall.” Even the husk of a sesame seed’s worth of attachment will create great suffering in the mind. So if you have any result in your practice, you should simply think that it is the natural consequence of doing the practice and not be proud of it. As we read in Parting from the Four Attachments, the four-line teaching that Mañjushri gave in a vision to the great Sakyapa teacher Jetsun Trakpa Gyaltsen: As long as there is clinging, there is no view.
What are the main teachings of the Buddha? The teaching is that one should pacify one’s mind. So one should generate inner peace in one’s mind. Buddha taught three different gradual paths to help us realise inner peace within our minds. They are Hinayana, Mahayana and the Secret Vajrayana. This is all the different of Buddhist teachings brought into three special points.
So why is it necessary that the Buddha taught in three different ways or three different paths? He presented the teaching in such a way because sentient beings of the world have different types of mind, different characteristics. Some people have very open, vast minds, some people have a very closed type mind. For that reason the Buddha taught varying techniques, not just one. However, if one reaches the very end of any of the three paths, the result is the same, the final result is complete enlightenment.
Our interdependent lives are shaped not only by material conditions but also by our emotional states, by the strength of inner qualities like patience, love, or wisdom, and by the beliefs and perceptions that influence our decisions — in short the whole suite of cognitive and affective forces at work within us. When I speak of the inner world, I do not have in mind an inner world that is totally distinct from the outer world. However, between our outer and inner conditions, I would argue that these inner conditions have more influence in shaping our world than the outer. This is because our inner world is constantly shaping the way we perceive and respond to the circumstances we find ourselves in. How do external situations appear in your mind? Is your mind disturbed? Do you feel happy? Your inner world has a powerful role in determining how you experience your external conditions and respond to them. There are people whose external conditions appear to be fine or even great, yet they may be holding sadness and experiencing a great deal of darkness within. Conversely, some who live in seemingly abject circumstances may experience contentment and joy.
A mindfulness that is gentle and watchful means an alert mindfulness that is just enough. In other words, there is just enough intentional effort that you do not become distracted. If you maintain that, then over time the recognition of the lucid nature of mind will occur.