Why is bodhicitta necessary for success in meditation? Because of selfish grasping. If you have a good meditation but don’t have bodhicitta, you will grasp at any little experience of bliss: ‘Me, me; I want more, I want more.’ Then the good experience disappears completely. Grasping is the greatest distraction to experiencing single-pointed intensive awareness in meditation. And with it, we are always dedicated to our own happiness: ‘Me, me I’m miserable, I want to be happy. Therefore I’ll meditate.’ It doesn’t work that way. For some reason good meditation and its results — peacefulness, satisfaction and bliss — just don’t come.
Awareness contains impermanence, not the other way around. But they have this in common: Our liberation comes from recognition.
To ease loneliness we first need to find friends within ourselves. We can start by connecting with our own positive qualities, such as love and compassion. We can learn to treasure and value these inner qualities and draw our strength from them first and foremost. These qualities are our inner conditions for interdependence and are our closest and most reliable allies in negotiating the outer conditions of our interdependence.
Why should I smile when there is no joy in me? The answer to that is: Smiling is a practice. There are over three hundred muscles in your face. When you are angry or fearful, these muscles tense up. The tension in these muscles creates a feeling of hardness. If you know how to breathe in and produce a smile, however, the tension will disappear – it is what I call “mouth yoga.” Make smiling an exercise. Just breathe in and smile – the tension will disappear and you will feel much better.
This is the essence of practice:
Pray to your Lama and, while praying, blend your mind inseparably with your Lama’s wisdom mind. Having merged inseparably, settle in the state of naturalness, the nature of mind.
To be settled in the state of naturalness, this fresh knowing
Uncontrived and unaltered, is luminous naked awareness.
When thoughts arise within that nature,
Recognize them on arising, and relax within that recognition.
Their arising and liberation occur simultaneously, like a drawing on the water’s surface.
When thoughts do not arise, that is non-meditation free from thoughts.
Emptiness, beyond meditator and object of meditation,
Is called ultimate wisdom present from the beginning.
Give up hope and fear; hold to the natural state of awareness.
Thoughts are delusion; stop following after them.
Hope and fear are obstacles; don’t go to greet them.
If you can rest within the nature that is beyond intellect and activity,
You will definitely discover the dharmakaya in your own heart.
Ideally, advice is instruction tailored to the circumstances, both immediate and long-term. The person giving advice should have the motivation to help others and the wisdom to distinguish right from wrong. The person receiving it should have the intelligence to understand it and the willingness to follow directions. It should be presented in just the right way, so that it is relevant to the situation at hand and easy to understand. Whatever it takes – either gently or harshly! Once the recipient sees both the benefits and the drawbacks of a course of action, the advice has accomplished its purpose.
Expect no reward for an act of charity. Expecting something in return leads to a scheming mind. So an ancient once said, “Throw false spirituality away like a pair of old shoes.”
Those who seek happiness in pleasure, wealth, glory, power, and heroics are as naive as the child who tries to catch a rainbow and wear it as a coat.
Do like this if you want to practice the true Dharma! Keep your master’s oral instructions in mind. Don’t conceptualize your experience, as it just makes you attached or angry. Day and night, look into your mind. If your stream of mind contains any nonvirtue, renounce it from the core of your heart and pursue virtue.
Moreover, when you see other people committing evil, feel compassion for them. It is entirely possible that you will feel attachment to or aversion for certain sense objects. Give that up. When you feel attachment towards something attractive or aversion towards something repulsive, understand that to be your mind’s delusion, nothing but a magical illusion.
When you hear pleasant or unpleasant words, understand them to be an empty resounding, like an echo. When you encounter severe misfortune and misery, understand it to be a temporary occurrence, a deluded experience. Recognize that the innate nature is never apart from you.
To obtain a human body is extremely difficult, so it is foolish to ignore the Dharma once having found it. Only the Dharma can help you; everything else is worldly beguilement.