When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don’t know what’s really going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don’t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don’t know. We never know if we’re going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.
The short-term benefits of meditation are more than mere peace of mind, because our physical health as well depends to a great extent upon our state of mind. Therefore, if you cultivate a state of mental contentment and peace, then you will tend not to become ill, and you will tend to heal easily if you do become sick. The reason for this is that one of the primary conditions that brings about illness is mental agitation, which produces a corresponding agitation or disturbance of the channels and energies within the body.
Enlightenment, inherent though it is in the mind, seems so difficult to unveil. But if you develop fervent devotion and fuse the guru’s enlightened nature with your ordinary mind, enlightenment can be realized. Truly, to meditate on the benevolent teacher is a spiritual practice more profound than any other.
Don’t expect others to follow your direction. When it happens that others go along with you, it results in pride. So an ancient once said, “Use your will to bring peace between people.”
Our life’s work is to use what we have been given to wake up. If there were two people who were exactly the same — same body, same speech, same mind, same mother, same father, same house, same food, everything the same — one of them could use what he has to wake up and the other could use it to become more resentful, bitter, and sour. It doesn’t matter what you’re given, whether it’s physical deformity or enormous wealth or poverty, beauty or ugliness, mental stability or mental instability, life in the middle of a madhouse or life in the middle of a peaceful, silent desert. Whatever you’re given can wake you up or put you to sleep. That’s the challenge of now: What are you going to do with what you have already — your body, your speech, your mind?
People everywhere try so hard to make the world better. Their intentions are admirable, yet they seek to change everything but themselves. To make yourself a better person is to make the world a better place.
The precious relative bodhichitta is compassion and the precious ultimate bodhichitta is emptiness. With compassion and emptiness, enlightenment is unavoidable. All the sutras, tantras, scriptures and oral instructions are contained within this. It is not all right to say, ‘I don’t need devotion, I don’t need compassion for beings, just meditation is sufficient.’ With compassion and emptiness, the view is automatically like a blazing fire. When this happens, the profound emptiness, self-existing wakefulness, very quickly arises in one’s being. This is unfailing, unfabricated, unobscured, the straight path for attaining enlightenment within rigpa.
In his infinite wisdom the Buddha Shakyamuni recognized that although beings may be bewildered and struggling with the results of their bewilderment, their situation is not hopeless. As he saw the workability of the human condition, the Buddha’s compassion became overwhelming. Had the plight of beings been hopeless, if there was nothing that could have been done, the situation would have been entirely different.
I see that samsara is suffering, but crave it still.
I fear the abyss of the lower realms but continue to do wrong.
Bless me and those who have gone astray like me
That we may sincerely renounce the things of this life.
In order to understand the profound aspects of the Four Noble Truths, the principal doctrine of Buddhism, it is crucial to understand what are known as the “two truths.” The two truths refer to the fundamental Buddhist philosophical view that there are two levels of reality. One level is the empirical, phenomenal, and relative level that appears to us, where functions such as causes and conditions, names and labels, and so on can be validly understood. The other is a deeper level of existence beyond that, which Buddhist philosophers describe as the fundamental, or ultimate, nature of reality, and which is often technically referred to as “emptiness.”