Oneness ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The moment I die,
I will try to come back to you
as quickly as possible.
I promise it will not take long.
Isn’t it true
I am already with you,
as I die each moment?
I come back to you
in every moment.
Just look,
feel my presence.
If you want to cry,
please cry.
And know
that I will cry with you.
The tears you shed
will heal us both.
Your tears are mine.
The earth I tread this morning
transcends history.
Spring and Winter are both present in the moment.
The young leaf and the dead leaf are really one.
My feet touch deathlessness,
and my feet are yours.
Walk with me now.
Let us enter the dimension of oneness
and see the cherry tree blossom in Winter.
Why should we talk about death?
I don’t need to die
to be back with you.

Our preoccupation with external concerns ~ Gyaltsab Rinpoche

Most of our confusion is caused by our assumption that the causes of liberation must come from somewhere or something outside of ourselves. We assume that only by accumulating this or that, or only through associating with someone or something else, can we gain the cause of happiness. Our preoccupation with external concerns causes a tremendous sense of impoverishment, as though we were devoid of the slightest possibility of enlightened intelligence. Our bewilderment derives from our failure to turn inward and really examine the workings of our own minds. It is only when we begin working with our minds through meditation practice that we become practical as far as the search for enlightenment is concerned.

Awareness without Concept ~ Chögyam Trungpa

You have to start with what you are, where you are now. You are aware of the present state. You are now, you are not past, you are not future, but you are now. In that state of awareness, you don’t need to cling to a concept about who you are and what you will be. Concept cannot exist in the present state, but awareness is very much there.

The great seal ~ Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche

The Mahamudra Tradition encompasses many key Buddhist terms and presents them in a unique light. The Sanskrit word mahamudra literally translates as “great seal,” or “great symbol,” which suggests that all that exists in the conditioned world is stamped with the same seal – the seal of ultimate reality.

Ultimate reality is synonymous with the quintessential Buddhist term emptiness (shunyata), which describes the insubstantiality of all things – the underlying groundlessness, spaciousness, and indeterminacy that imbues all of our experiences of the subjective and objective world.

In the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the word mahamudra is also used to refer to the nature of the mind. The nature of the mind is a pivotal concept in this tradition. The essential quality of the mind is emptiness, but it is described as a luminous emptiness, for the mind has the inherent capacity to know, or to cognize.

When spiritual fulfillment is attained, this luminous emptiness is experienced as pervasively and profoundly blissful, and enlightenment is characterized as luminous bliss.

Confused appearances ~ Thrangu Rinpoche

Just as if we had taken hallucinogens, whatever happy or sad appearances we see are samsaric, confused appearances of the mind. Even when we are not intoxicated, everything we perceive in this life comes out of confusion that arises from the power of karma. Whether we have the perception of being a human or animal, whether we perceive the appearances of earth, water, fire, or air, whatever appearances we see, come out of the power of a mistaken mind. All the external forms we see or sounds we hear are just emptiness. Whatever appears internally within our mind is also emptiness — none of it is actually there. Thus, all of the different experiences of the six classes of beings, whatever they may be, are empty images, nonexistent, yet appearing.

Pure perception ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The guru must have pure perception of his own guru and, if possible, of all phenomena. On a more individual level, the guru must have pure perception of his or her students. Pure perception is the foundation of the Vajrayana. Even in the Mahayana, pure perception if the driving force behind working with a disciple. As Lord Maitreya said, a bodhisattva must know that other sentient beings have buddha nature and that they can be enlightened. So a guru must have confidence that the student’s defilements, no matter how hideous, are temporary; they can be purified and removed. No matter how long it takes, no matter how tedious a job, a guru with a strong view of pure perception will not give up on the student.

Arousing Bodhicitta ~ Patrul Rinpoche

I claim to be arousing bodhicitta, but still do not have it.
I have trained in the path of the six perfections, but have remained selfish.
Bless me and small-minded beings like me,
That we may train in the sublime bodhicitta.

Training in guru yoga ~ 14th Dalai Lama

It is frequently said that the essence of the training in guru yoga is to cultivate the art of seeing everything the guru does as perfect. Personally I myself do not like this to be taken too far. Often we see written in the scriptures, “Every action seen as perfect.”

However, this phrase must be seen in the light of Buddha Shakyamuni’s own words: “Accept my teachings only after examining them as an analyst buys gold. Accept nothing out of mere faith in me.” The problem with the practice of seeing everything the guru does as perfect is that it very easily turns to poison for both the guru and the disciple.

Therefore, whenever I teach this practice, I always advocate that the tradition of “every action seen as perfect” not be stressed. Should the guru manifest un-Dharmic qualities or give teachings contradicting Dharma, the instruction on seeing the spiritual master as perfect must give way to reason and Dharma wisdom.

Nothing is intrinsically bad ~ 17th Karmapa

Nothing is intrinsically or ultimately bad. Any situation that arises is only relatively good or bad based on many factors, including — most significantly — how you perceive the situation and how you respond to it.

The queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere ~ Pema Chödron

Anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness mark the in-between state. It’s the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid. Becoming intimate with the queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere only makes our hearts more tender. When we are brave enough to stay in the middle, compassion arises spontaneously. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what’s happening, we begin to access our inner strength.