See the difference ~ Shantideva

Is there need for lengthy explanation?
Childish beings look out for themselves,
While Buddhas labor for the good of others.
See the difference that divides them!

Religious freedom is an innate right ~ 17th Karmapa

Spiritual practice must be a way for each of us as, an individual in touch with our own mind, to give meaning to our life and come to an understanding of the fundamental meaning and value of our life. Having access to a religious tradition should feel like an opportunity to explore our inner world and develop our spiritual values, and not like something that has been imposed upon us. Religious leaders have the responsibility, therefore, to make people aware of this inner search and also to present the fact that religious freedom is an innate right, and not something that can be given or withheld.

Confusing Charisma with Wisdom ~ Jack Kornfield

Another source of spiritual misunderstanding is our confusion of charisma with true wisdom. Certain spiritual leaders possess the ability to evoke extraordinary states. Amplified by our hopes, feelings of bliss and transcendence arise easily around these charismatic ministers, priests, Zen masters, mystics, rabbis, and gurus. It is easy to mistake such spiritual powers as definite signs of wisdom or enlightenment or divine love. We forget that power and charisma are just power and charisma, that these energies can just as easily serve demagogues, politicians, and entertainers.

It is possible for someone to be charismatic but not wise. Conversely, wisdom is not necessarily flashy or powerful – it can manifest in a humble and simple heart, and in the most ordinary-seeming of lives. In communities where special spiritual power is highly valued, students should take special care: when secret teachings or ancient lineages are evoked, when one group is chosen to be saved or awakened above all others in the world, spiritual communities are ripe for becoming cults. This does not always happen, of course, but it is particular risk within the blinding arena of charisma. Wise traditions include safeguards against such misuse, often by the creation of a network of elders, respected teachers able to watch over one another’s spiritual condition and behavior.

Supplication and devotion ~ Sera Khandro

Respectfully supplicating the master enables us
To cast away self-cherishing pride.
Devotedly praying to our masters enables us
To discard the aggression that comes from attachment and aversion.
Respectfully supplicating the master enables us
To cast away jealousy coming from competitiveness.
Devotedly praying to our masters enables us
To discard wrong views coming from our disturbing emotions.

Becoming unstuck ~ Pema Chödron

We hear a lot about the pain of samsara, and we also hear about liberation. But we don’t hear much about how painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality, like changing our DNA. We are undoing a pattern that is not just our pattern. It’s the human pattern.

Basic decency ~ Chögyam Trungpa

If you have awareness in whatever you do, you always have a sense of basic decency. You do not cheat. You do not do things just because they are traditional, and you don’t just do something this year simply because you did it last year. You always try to practice your discipline as genuinely and honestly as possible — to the point where the honesty and genuineness begin to hurt.

Outer display of guru devotion ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Oftentimes, students are not aware of the possible negative consequences of being overly enthusiastic about their guru devotion. Instead of inspiring others, such enthusiasm could actually put others off.

For example, some older students in Bhutan instruct completely new beginners to do things like eat the guru’s leftover food and put socks on the guru’s feet and tie up the guru’s shoelaces. It’s fine when the Bhutanese do this when among themselves, but making a display of it in front of someone who is just beginning to be inspired by the Buddha’s teaching is unskillful. The newcomers may not necessarily be open to the path of seeming sycophants.

We are in an age where we need to inspire people in a very different way. Creating situations that put people off from the tantric wisdom tradition is so unfortunate. So watch your behavior: you may be the direct cause of breaking a connection to a potentially good student.

A thing you call the self ~ Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

From time to time try to look for a singular thing you call the self. You will see continuous movement, atmospheric moods coming and going like weather, ideas flickering but not really staying in any one particular place, and although they arise vividly – sometimes with intensity – all this experience will elude you when you search for it. As hard as you try, you won’t be able to identify where the self ends and the world begins. In other words, there is just this continuous dance between what you may identify as your outer and inner worlds but you will not be able to separate them or say they are the same. “You” will not be able to identify a singular, permanent, or independent self.

Individualism or interdependence ~ 17th Karmapa

Put simply, we can see ourselves as independent individuals or we can acknowledge our interdependence on one another and on the planet. A great deal is at stake in which of these two views — individualism or interdependence — we choose to adopt. We experience our lives differently, we relate to others differently, and the very society we create differs based on whether we believe ourselves to be fundamentally separable and independent, or fundamentally connected and interdependent.

It is not that one of these two paradigms is absolutely bad and the other good. However, I feel that greater opportunities derive from seeing ourselves as interdependent, or interconnected. In the end, the individualistic view places more limits on us than interdependence. When we experience ourselves as interconnected in infinite ways to others, we have many options as to how we can relate. By contrast, adopting individualism as our path in life leads us to compare our personal situation to that of other individuals, as if we were separate entities. In such comparisons, one or the other always come up short. We then end up striving to make sure we are not on the losing end of the comparison.”

Without rushing toward the future ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.