Benefits of study in Buddhist practice

In an interview with Mandala magazine, Ven George Churinoff explains the benefits of in depth study. He mentions:

There’s this famous adage that you’ve probably heard that to try to meditate without having heard or studied is like someone trying to climb up a craggy cliff with no arms.

Sometimes when people get excited about Buddhism and meditation, they think, “I’m just going to meditate. All that study is for scholars.” But in order to meditate, you have to have something to meditate about. And hopefully what we’re going to meditate on is a correct understanding, not a blurry, or, even worse, a wrong understanding.

Click here to read more from the interview

Lama Zopa Rinpoches Prayers after the 2016 Election

Following the 2016 election and the unrest, Lama Zopa Rinpoche requested a prayer for the United States and the world:

My most dear, most kind, most precious wish-fulfilling ones,

In regard to the recent election in the United States, I wanted to suggest that you make prayers that loving kindness, compassion, and bodhichitta be generated in the heart of Mr. Trump, all the government people and everybody else in the country, and even in the heart of people in other countries. In that way everybody in the United States and in the world can enjoy perfect peace and happiness.

Pray also to pacify war, famine, disease, economic problems, and the dangers of fire, wind, water, earthquakes, and tsunamis in the United States and the whole world—may these things never happen and may there be perfect peace and happiness in the United States and the rest of the world.

Pray that America will help and bring harmony to other countries and cause perfect peace and happiness to them and to help everyone to develop the correct wisdom that pacifies suffering and brings ultimate, everlasting happiness.

Prayer has power since everything is created by the mind; everything comes from the mind. So prayer does have power. As the Buddha said, “The results of whatever prayers are done will happen.”

We all need to develop the correct ultimate wisdom realizing emptiness and bodhichitta. If we ourselves do not wish to suffer, we need to be free from samsara. That is why wisdom is so important.

The Buddha also said, “Do not engage in unwholesome actions [because you don’t like suffering], engage in perfect wholesome actions [since you wish for happiness] and subdue your own mind.”

Don’t harm yourself and don’t harm others—practice the good heart towards others. This will bring peace and happiness to all living beings in this world, to the United States, to your own family and lastly, to you yourself. You are the last one.

Thank you very much,

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Transcribed by Ven. Holly Ansett, November 14, 2016. Edited by Nicolas Ribush and by Mandala for inclusion on FPMT.org.

Recognizing Mind’s Essence

In this interesting transcript of a talk by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, he explains how recognizing one’s mind essence brings peace and the state of enlightenment. He mentions:

If you simply recognise your essence, you are immediately face to face with the three kayas. It is so simple that it’s actually incredibly easy. There is no way you could miss it. The problem, in fact, is that it’s too easy! It’s too close to oneself. Some great masters have said the fault lies in not that it is complicated, but that it is too simple. People don’t trust it. They think, ‘This is just my present state of being awake, so what use is it? It’s not very special. I want something astounding, something totally different. Something that is far superior to this pres­ent state of wakefulness. Something with amazing lights and great splendour.’ And they ignore their present natural state of mind and hope that something extraordinary will happen, maybe coming down from above. They are right: this present state is not that special. But by sitting and hoping like that, they turn their backs to the innate three kayas. If you recognise your own mind, on the other hand, in the mo­ment of seeing, there is freedom. You are liberated from any thought involvement at that time. That itself is the essence of nirvana. If, however, we ignore that fact and chase after something else—some kind of altered state we believe to be superior to the present nature of mind—it is going to very difficult to ever find the buddha mind.

Read more from the article here.

Why Have a Spiritual Guru

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Lama Yeshe, in this transcribed teaching, describes why someone would need a spiritual guru. He explains:

Why do we need a guru? Because in order to cure our diseased minds, we need the help of someone who knows how to do it. Since it is extremely difficult to understand how the mind works, we need the guidance of an expert in this area.

Furthermore, gaining liberation, or inner freedom, is not an easy thing. Everything we have ever said or done on this trip we call life has had its origin in the mind, and in the same way, the entire path to liberation and enlightenment depends on the mind.

However, if we think of all our life’s experiences, how convinced are we that they have all come from the mind? In order to really understand how this is true, we need someone with the right kind of knowledge to explain it to us. In other words, we need a guru.

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