The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step


The jailkeeper is ignorance

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Gautama felt as though a prison which had confined him for thousands of lifetimes had broken open. Ignorance had been the jailkeeper. Because of ignorance, his mind had been obscured, just like the moon and stars hidden by the storm clouds. Clouded by endless waves of deluded thoughts, the mind had falsely divided reality into subject and object, self and others, existence and non-existence, birth and death, and from these discriminations arose wrong views—the prisons of feelings, craving, grasping, and becoming. The suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death only made the prison walls thicker. The only thing to do was to seize the jailkeeper and see his true face. The jailkeeper was ignorance. And the means to overcome ignorance were the Noble Eightfold Path. Once the jailkeeper was gone, the jail would disappear and never be rebuilt again.

The hermit Gautama smiled, and whispered to himself, “O jailer, I see you now. How many lifetimes have you confined me in the prisons of birth and death? But now I see your face clearly, and from now on you can build no more prisons around me, you shall build no house (for me) again. How can you? I have destroyed the very materials by which you build it. All your rafters are broken, your roof-tree is destroyed. My mind has reached the unconditioned (i.e., Nibbana); the end of craving (Arahatta Phala) has been attained. And I am eternally awake.

– Dharmacakrapravartana Sūtra

When ego breaks down

Ignorance is the binding factor in the development of ego, but it also has a subtle relationship with the basic intelligence of buddha nature. Ignorance is not solid but is based on sparks or flashes of ignorance operating on some ground. Between two sparks of ignorance is the ground of intelligence on which this process of ignorance is operating. Sometimes, ignorance forgets for a moment to maintain itself, so that the awakened state comes through. So a meditative state of mind occurs spontaneously when, occasionally, the efficiency of ego’s administration breaks down.

– Chögyam Trungpa

from the book “Glimpses of Abhidharma”

Just Dharma Quotes

The lack of comprehension of reality

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As the contemporary Tibetan master Chögyam Trungpa explains, ‘When we talk of ignorance, it has nothing to do with stupidity. In a way, ignorance is very intelligent, but it is an intelligence that works exclusively in one direction. That is, we react elusively to our own projections instead of simply seeing what is there.’This fundamental ignorance is linked to the lack of comprehension of reality, that is, the true nature of things, free from mental fabrications we superimpose upon it. These fabrications hollow out a gap between the way things appear to us and the way they are: we take as permanent what is ephemeral and as happiness what is usually a source of suffering – thirst for wealth, power, fame and fleeting pleasures.

We perceive the external world as totally autonomous entities to which we attribute characteristics that seem to us to belong to them by their nature. Things appear to us as intrinsically ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’ and we rigidly divide people into ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘friends or ‘enemies’, as if these were characteristics inherent to people. The ‘self’, of the ego that perceives them, seems to us equally real and concrete. This mistake gives rise to powerful reflexes of attachment and aversion, and as long as our mind remains obscured by this lack of discernment, it will fall under the sway of hatred, attachment, greed, jealousy, or pride and suffering will always be ready to appear.

– Matthieu Ricard

from the book “Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World”

Overpowering images of the mind’s lucidity

When we watch a television program, we have no trouble identifying places, persons, animals, mountains, and so on. Through becoming involved with the program, we identify with what we are seeing and begin to feel an emotional response. Actually what we are looking at are not places, persons, animals, or mountains, but points of light on a tube in a little box. The confusion that is necessary to enjoy a television program is similar to bewilderment or ignorance, where the very vividness or intensity of the images of the mind’s lucidity overpowers the mind.

– Thrangu Rinpoche

from the book “A Song for the King: Saraha on Mahamudra Meditation”

Just Dharma Quotes

Beginning Anew

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 Beginning Anew is not to ask for forgiveness. Beginning Anew is to change your mind and heart, to transform the ignorance that brought about wrong actions of body, speech and mind and to help you cultivate your mind of love. Your shame and guilt will disappear, and you will begin to experience the joy of being alive. All wrong doings arise in the mind. It is through the mind that wrong doings can disappear.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh💙

Understanding and Love are not two separate things

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“Understanding and Love are not two separate things, but only one. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

The Working of Faith

Source: The Working of Faith | Great Middle Way


Jan 9, 2018

25550261_1692926904098152_6839728789231099887_nIt is so, Venerable Sir, that any noble disciples who have faith, who have aroused energy and established awareness, and who are concentrated, will understand reality thus: “This samsara is without discoverable beginning. Any first point for beings roaming and wandering on, blinded by ignorance and bound by craving cannot ever be seen.”

But what can indeed be experienced is the traceless fading and ceasing of ignorance, this massive darkness. That is the peaceful state, that is the supreme state … that is, the stilling of all mental construction, the relinquishment of all acquisition, the elimination of all craving, complete disenchanting disillusion, the end of suffering, Nirvana.

Their unique comprehension is rooted in the ability to understand. And, Venerable Sir, when they strive again and again along this very way, repeatedly recollect in that way, again and again concentrate the mind in exactly this way, over and over again understand only this in this very way, then the noble disciples gain complete faith thus: “Regarding things that I previously had only heard about, now I dwell having contacted them with my senses, and having penetrated them by understanding, I now see and directly experience. That conviction, Venerable Sir, is the ability of faith working.”

“Sadhu! Sadhu! Good, true and well-spoken, Shariputra!,” said the Buddha.

―Samyutta Nikaya

Zen is not a particular state but the normal state

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Zen is not a particular state but the normal state: silent, peaceful, unagitated. In zazen, neither intention, analysis, specific effort nor imagination can take place. It’s enough just to be without hypocrisy, dogmatism, arrogance–embracing all opposites.
– Teisen Deshimaru

Dalai Lama: There is no such thing as a Muslim terrorist

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“Buddhist terrorist. Muslim terrorist. That wording is wrong,” he said. “Any person who wants to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Buddhist or genuine Muslim, because it is a Muslim teaching that once you are involved in bloodshed, actually you are no longer a genuine practitioner of Islam.”

“All major religious traditions carry the same message: a message of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self-discipline – all religious traditions”.

Source: Dalai Lama: There is no such thing as a Muslim terrorist | The Independent

Fighting inner demons

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Esoteric Empyre