Dharma Blog - all posts

In this world, the Buddha Shakyamuni displayed twelve deeds and Guru Rinpoche eleven. The Buddha demonstrated passing into parinirvana – the twelfth deed – but Guru Rinpoche did not and will remain until the universe is destroyed at the end of the kalpa. This is why Guru Rinpoche is, for Nyingmapas, the most precious of all masters. Where our meditation is not stable, Guru Rinpoche’s meditation was stable. And not only that, it remains unchanging to this very day. No-one can affect it. If even a billion mara armies tried to alter it, they wouldn’t make the slightest impact. This is the calibre of meditation that Guru Rinpoche mastered, and it is known as the ‘vajra-like samadhi’.

Making Friends with the Mind: An Approach to Egolessness of Self

One of the points that has helped me as a pratictioner when I am out in the world, traveling, or simply not in retreat or the supportive context of, for example, a sangha event, is to constantly come back to egolessness of self. Not egolessness of dharma, not egolessness of other people and the emptiness of other things. But rather, to reflect more deeply upon a sense of selflessness. How I approach selflessness is from the perspective of being friends with myself. 

- Excerpted from the introduction to A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems, in which Sogyal Rinpoche recounted the teachings of Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche.

“One who is in harmony with emptiness is in harmony with all things.” – Nagarjuna

The prevalence of technology in modern society presents us with a dilemma: the more dependent we become, the more we begin to see technology as a sort of savior, as something that will become our ultimate friend, our source of joy and comfort. Our love affair with technology increases day by day, and we rely on it far beyond its original, practical application; it’s place in our lives is at this point beyond our control. At this moment, human society is at risk of losing its moral and ethical basis as we work less and less with one another as fellow human beings. Unless something changes dramatically in this co-dependence between people and technology, the isolation between fellow human beings will only increase. The prevalence of technology in modern society presents us with a dilemma: the more dependent we become, the more we begin to see technology as a sort of savior, as something that will become our ultimate friend, our source of joy and comfort. Our love affair with technology increases day by day, and we rely on it far beyond its original, practical application; it’s place in our lives is at this point beyond our control. At this moment, human society is at risk of losing its moral and ethical basis as we work less and less with one another as fellow human beings. Unless something changes dramatically in this co-dependence between people and technology, the isolation between fellow human beings will only increase. 

It seems that, week after week, we often feel the same, even though so many things happen in a week. But this feeling of sameness and being stuck has causes and conditions. If we examine the causes and conditions of feeling stuck, the first and most important thing to know is that we are only stuck in our mind. We don't get stuck anywhere else. Often we are attached to familiar situations, and familiar feelings even when the environment and feelings are not that great, we prefer them because at least they are familiar. 

As human beings we share in common our universal tender heart. Every move and response we make comes from our tender heart.  This responsiveness has no beginning nor end.  As we begin to generate some awareness of our universal tender heart, but are not yet able to extend ourselves to others, my advice is: at least try to stay humble.  Aspire to stay within the boundary of not consciously ignoring the fact that we are all in the same boat and same shoes, and instead notice that our universal tender heart is always, moment-to-moment trying to call us and aspire to respond to it's call.

As human beings, we naturally desire to be happy and free from suffering.  In America, this desire translates into an expectation of guaranteed rights:  the right to happiness, prosperity, freedom, and so forth. This guarantee of rights is an idealistic view, and it fosters a lot of resentment among Americans.  We assume we have the Constitutional rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  How do we interpret these rights?  Does it mean we have the right to own a machine gun if that makes us feel content and secure?   Does it mean we have the right to a decent place to live with a decent job? These “rights” in the Constitution are open to wide interpretation, they do not mean the same thing to all people. “Equal rights” is a nice concept, but it does not correspond to reality at all.  We have different responses when there is a seeming inequality of rights, but it is due to our karma that there is no such thing as a guaranteed right of equality. If we understand the laws of karma, the causes and conditions, we can become more comfortable with our limitations and strengths and not be so frustrated or resentful towards the seeming inequalities. And instead work towards cultivating the right causes and conditions for change.

Power, in it's many forms, affects our daily lives.  It exists both in nature and in our man-made systems -- political, social, and economic.  It is important for us to be able to distinguish natural power, from power that is man-made.  In this way, our responses to power can be beneficial rather than harmful.

Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness does not come on demand. Even though we may want it, we won't get this kind of happiness or peace by willing it or trying to arrange conditions of life from outside. If you demand the phenomenal world makes you happy, it's very difficult to achieve such a perfect arrangement with the outside world. Secondly, if we demand that people make you happy, it's even worse and just a set-up to make yourself miserable. When the authority of ego who makes the choices and actually picks and rejects, itself is the cause of your suffering, who is going to be the one to raid that authority itself. That authority of ego has no ability to self reflect, because it is the epitome of stupidity. When self reflection begins to happen, it is the beginning of wisdom.

Pages