|Thought for the day: August 2, 2008
Many accomplished teachers, particularly of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition,
have been teaching Westerners for a number of years now. Many of these
teachings have been made into books. Often these discourses form the best
study resource because they have come from masters who truly live the
teachings and understand them beyond a mere intellectual grasp. HH Dilgo
Kheyentse's, Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, public commentary on
Patrul Rinpoche's teachings is an example. HH Dali Lama's public teachings
which are now in book form, is another example. Thrangu Rinpoche's books
are also excellent in the same way. Because these and other masters
understand and practice Buddhism and are skilled in presenting it to
Westerners, it is my view that they offer the best resource for study.
|Thought for the day: August 7, 2008
Intellectual reasoning may help win arguments about the dharma; but it
won't help you live it.
|Thought for the day: August 8, 2008
Reflect for a moment when anger took over and how you felt; next reflect on
a moment when a feeling of deep appreciation of another person arose within
you and how that made you feel. Now, consider for a moment that the same
mind gave rise to both these experiences; there is not an angry mind and a
loving mind. The mind is the same; the difference is in how it is used.
|Thought for the day: August 9, 2008
As Buddhist, we do not want to study all the nuances of Buddhist philosophy
just for the sake of being well versed in Buddhist doctrine. This may give us
great skill in debate, or land us a job at a college; but it won't help us achieve
the aim of Buddhism, which is to attain enlightenment and help others to do
the same. Unlike scientists, whose discoveries are often in the hands of
governments and corporation; the fruits of our study of Buddhism is in our
own hands. Either we will become a scholar or a practitioner. As lay people
we want to constantly check ourselves and make sure that we are using the
dharma we study to change the way we live and think, and are not merely
practicing to accumulate knowledge. Knowledge by itself is nothing. It must
be a tool to cut through disturbing emotions and afflictions.
|Thought for the day: August 11, 2008
Our daily lives are constantly giving us pop quizzes that offer humbling
reminders how far we have to go.
|Thought for the day: August 17, 2008
Our minds work a little like mass media. Mass media deals in trivialities to
distract the public from real problems that might put their government in
the spotlight; or news that people simply want to hear; sensational stuff that
will distract them from their own problems.
|Thought for the day: August 18, 2008
Even though we cannot privately own our experiences; we are under the
delusion that we do. And, from this false, deeply ingrained notion, we make
every effort to possess things, people, experiences. Until we realize that we
have no experiences of our "own" without the notion of others; we will
continue to be obstructed by selfishness. If, on the other hand, we can
begin to take apart this private world we have created under the
misconception that we have our own, private experiences, the world will
become a less hostile place, for we will own less.
|Thought for the day: August 19, 2008
If you wish to be smart with words, use fewer of them.
|Thought for the day: August 22, 2008
Their is a difference between looking and seeing; especially in the context of
meditation. When we meditate we are not looking for something; but rather
preparing the canvas of our mind for seeing. This is an actively passive
state; or in technical terms samatha /vipasana. We are actively making
ourselves vulnerable to the meditative experience of seeing the nature of the
The idea of vulnerability is very important to correct meditation. Since it is
not an imputed state of mind; if we are to see it we must be open to it and
we cannot be open to see something (new) that we are looking for.
|Thought for the day: August 23, 2008
In order to develop a correct intention that will be of lasting benefit, we
must not only study the techniques of meditation, but also what its goals
are. Otherwise, the force of our meditation will increase to out own
determent, like a dam that bursts with its collected water left to flow
Broadly speaking, the aim of meditation is to decrease desire and negative
emotions. If desire and negative emotions do not decrease; then we have to
analyze our motivation and align it with the path. While we may feel our
meditation sessions are going well; it is how we are as individuals in our
daily lives that best reflects how well our meditation is going. That is why
many great Masters instruct their students to pay particular attention to the
post meditation experience. It is best mirror of our progress or lack of it.
|Thought for the day: August 25, 2008
A monk asked his Teacher; "How can I be free?" The Master replied:
"What binds you up?"
This simple exchange between a student and his teacher is beautiful in its
simplicity and yet points out the inquiry the student must pursue if he
wishes to attain his goal.
|Thought for the day: August 27, 2008
Bad habits, in thought and deed, have a good deal of energy behind them
or they would not be habits. That is why breaking them is so difficult.
Because of the powerful 'habit energy" that empowers unprofitable actions
and thought patterns, it is essential when breaking them, to redirect the
energy behind them into something positive. In Buddhism this is called
substitution of opposites. If we don't take this precaution, we are likely to
find ourselves exchanging one bad habit for another.
|Thought for the day: August 28, 2008
Keep company with those who lift you up and challenge you. Be aware that
strength and guidance can come from unexpected sources. Ordinary
interactions with people, whether they are dharma practitioners or not,
often contain opportunities to learn. The ordinary world speaks the dharma
and if we listen we can learn a good deal from everyday exchanges. Even
those standing in the mud can instruct us, but keep in mind that we don't
have to get in the mud to listen.
|Thought for the day: August 29, 2008
The time to help others often comes when we feel least obligated.