In private interviews, I hear about problems with family members, partners, and employers. When you listen, the problems sound so small. But if you think about that problem again and again, it gets bigger and bigger. Making a mountain out of a molehill is the monkey’s specialty. This is the nature of the restless monkey-mind. Generally we do not observe the mind itself, so this encounter with the monkey can be confusing. But actually we are beginning to recognize awareness and all the thoughts, feelings, and impulses that are constantly moving through it. If people come to meditation in order to get rid of thoughts, this encounter with the monkey-mind might be disheartening. But we do not have to get rid of the monkey-mind. Ignoring this thought-factory never works, and suppressing it is impossible. But we can befriend it. How do we do this? By hanging around. We’re not aggressive. We do not try to conquer or control our new friend, but if we want to get to know its qualities, we have to stay present for the encounter. When we begin to meditate, no matter what style or tradition we follow, we will surely meet the monkey. But with awareness meditation, we give the monkey a constructive job to do.
Young people think their lives will last a long time; old people think life will end soon. But we can’t assume these things. Our life comes with a built-in expiration date. There are many strong and healthy people who die young, while many of the old and sick and feeble live on and on. Not knowing when we’ll die, we need to develop an appreciation for and acceptance of what we have, while we have it, rather than continuing to find fault with our experience and seeking, incessantly, to fulfill our
If we find ourselves worrying whether our nose is too big or too small, we should think, “What if I had no head – now that would be a problem!” As long as we have life, we should rejoice. If everything doesn’t go exactly as we’d like, we can accept it. If we contemplate impermanence deeply, patience and compassion will arise. We will hold less to the apparent truth of our experience, and the mind will become more flexible. Realizing that one day this body will be buried or burned, we will rejoice in every moment we have rather than make ourselves or others unhappy.
– Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
from the book “Gates to Buddhist Practice: Essential Teachings of a Tibetan Master”
ISBN: 978-1881847311 – http://amzn.to/2eEFsO0
Lama Jampa Thaye
Nowadays some people regard themselves as Buddhist but at the same time think that it is good to practice Christianity or another religion at the same time. Is this possible?
I am afraid that when people attempt to do this, they are actually ignoring a very basic Buddhist teaching. There are three different trainings we should follow in order to maintain and strengthen the sense of connection we develop with the Three Jewels in taking refuge. Having taken refuge in the Buddha, we should not take refuge in other teachers or gods. The reason for this is that taking refuge in the Buddha means to see him as the supremely skillful teacher, the one who has clearly discriminated the true nature of phenomena and the one who is able to lead us out of the cycle of suffering. Relating to the Buddha in this way implies that we regard his wisdom as unequaled by other religious teachers and figures. We cannot honestly say we are following Buddha, with his particular explanation of the nature of the universe, and simultaneously follow a teacher who has, for instance, a theistic vision of the universe, a view contradictory to the Buddha’s non theistic vision. By attempting to follow two ultimately contradictory systems, we will be split in half.
Having said that, there is of course much to admire in non-Buddhist religious systems. For instance, in some of the moral teachings and social services of modern religions we find a great deal of virtuous behaviour. We should appreciate those characteristics and praise them. When we have made the decision, based upon intelligent understanding of Buddha’s teachings, to practice Buddhism, we cannot then contradict the fundamental teachings by attempting to rely upon other religious systems. In this way, we uphold the distinctiveness of Buddhism, the very thing that attracted us to it in the first place, but we also show kindness and tolerance to the followers of other religious traditions.
by Lama Jampa Thaye
“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our “biography,” our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?
Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?”
“We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all.”
“We need to reflect very deeply, with a strong attitude of not giving up. Then a definite impact can be made on the mind. The ability to think more skillfully and the ability to sustain one’s mind with a positive attitude are inherent capabilities.
But how do you get somebody interested in reflecting deeply enough to discover those inherent capabilities without their getting burned out from the frustrations and disappointments that arise from seeing their own minds?
Somehow, students have to gain a greater confidence in their potential than in the confusion that oppresses them. That confidence is buddhanature. We need to encourage a kind of self-esteem in the student—not ego self-esteem, but buddhanature self-esteem.
Trust in our basic goodness is very important. Teachers must do whatever they can to instill this in their students, and students must do whatever they can to instill it in themselves.”
~Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche
Author “It’s Up to You”
Excerpt from “Let’s Be Honest” (Conversation with Pema Chödrön and Dzigar Kongtrül) https://www.lionsroar.com/pema-chodron-and-dzigar-kongtrul-lets-be-honest/