His Holiness the Dalai Lama talks about a non sectarian approach to spiritual practice
His Holiness the Dalai Lama talks about a non sectarian approach to spiritual practice
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives some practical advice on dealing with negative states
In this interesting transcript of a talk about Lama Zopa Rinpoche, he explains what a hero is within a spiritual context:
The real bravery, the real hero is the person who can fight anger, and can overwhelm and climb over anger. The real hero is the person who can face the most difficult and dangerous enemy—the inner enemy.
One person’s anger can kill sixty million people. That is how dangerous anger is—it is much more dangerous than an atomic bomb. There is no comparison between one person’s anger and an atomic bomb. Anger is much more harmful than an atomic bomb.
The danger of an atomic bomb is that it harms others and it can destroy the whole earth—more than half of the world—millions and millions of human beings and creatures. There are so many creatures—uncountable numbers in the water, under the ground, in the bushes and in the sky. There are so many, it is unbelievable. All this gets destroyed—not only human beings, but also creatures and so many buildings, bridges and cities. All these things that thousands and thousands of people for many years planned and spent so much money on, and worked so hard in order to collect the money to give to the workers—all these enjoyments, all the rich and comfortable apartments and the huge buildings, took so much time and effort. People put so much effort into building all this and in just one minute or one hour, it all gets destroyed. In so many of these cities, it is unbelievable how much effort people put into these things. They suffered so much to construct all this, then in one day or in one hour, it is all completely destroyed.
The danger of the atomic bomb comes from anger. If there is patience and no anger, this destruction would not happen.
An interesting article about why so many Americans views Buddhism as just a philosophy. An excerpt:
Other Beat poets, hippies and, later, New Age DIY self-helpers have also paradoxically mistaken Buddhism for a kind of self-indulgent narcissism, despite its teachings of selflessness and compassion. Still others have commercially exploited its exotic appeal to sell everything from “Zen tea” to “Lucky Buddha Beer,” which is particularly ironic given Buddhism’s traditional proscription against alcohol and other intoxicants.
As a result, the popular construction of nonreligious Buddhism has contributed much to the contemporary “spiritual but not religious” phenomenon, as well as to the secularized and commodified mindfulness movement in America.
We may have only transplanted a fraction of the larger bodhi tree of religious Buddhism in America, but our cutting has adapted and taken root in our secular, scientific and highly commercialized age. For better and for worse, it’s Buddhism, American-style.
In this interesting transcript from a talk by Lama Yeshe, he explains that refuge isn’t simply an act, but a way of thinking. He mentions:
When you take refuge in Buddhadharma, the important point is that you have recognized your own profound potential, and from the beginning can see that, “I can do something, I can take the responsibility of liberating myself.” This is different from the attitude we normally have: “I’m hopeless, I’m hopeless; maybe God, maybe Buddha, maybe Lama can do something for me.” This sort of human attitude is wrong. From the Buddhist point of view it is wrong to think, “I’m hopeless, Buddha can do something for me.” That attitude is wrong because it’s not true. By believing that you are hopeless you have already decided that you are nothing, you have already put a limit on your profound quality. The important thing in taking refuge is to have the understanding that you can do something to solve the problem of everyday life by relying, with confidence and trust, on the Buddha’s wisdom—or you can also call it your own activated wisdom—to liberate you from confusion and suffering. So it is really worthwhile. The real significance of taking refuge in Dharma wisdom is that it is the entrance to the path to enlightenment.
In an interesting letter to a student, Lama Zopa Rinpoche talks about transforming obstacles. He mentions:
The basic thing is “Subdue one’s own mind: This is the teaching of the Buddha.” From that comes every happiness—the happiness of today and of the next life, freedom from samsara and the peerless happiness of enlightenment. Everything comes from our mind. Therefore, it’s totally up to us. We always have to use our mind in a way that is positive because it’s the cause of all our happiness. Not in a negative way, which is the cause of all our suffering. We don’t like suffering, so we have to abandon that mind. Subduing the mind, that is what is called Dharma practice. What I’ve explained is not only what the Buddha said; if we check, it is according to our own experience.
You have to understand that the real retreat is not being in a cave in a remote place. The real retreat is keeping the mind in the right place, taking care of the mind. The mind has to be in retreat, not the body. You have to understand this; maybe you are forgetting this.
In this interesting transcript of a talk that Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche gave, he mentions how our increasing use of technology often alienates ourselves from one another. This however can be countered by being in a spiritual community, where one can foster inner peace. He mentions:
The prevalence of technology in modern society presents us with a dilemma: the more dependent we become, the greater the chances that 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 further and further; there is no way around it. Only in small pockets of communities built around alternative lifestyles, which offer an opportunity to relate to one another in a different way, would this occur less.
There are the Amish, for example, who follow an 18th or 17th century lifestyle, which I am sure protects their minds. But for how long will they be able to remain like that? They are on the verge of losing their lifestyle and I am sure they feel incredibly threatened.
In alternative communities in general, however much they do offer a different way of life, there will always be the initial foundation of egotism as well and the never-ending problems that arise from that.
Only in the case of the Sangha, which we define as a noble community of people who base their mind on the way of life on the Dharma, could this isolation not occur. But even in a Sangha, we have actually to fulfill the potential of living life according to the Dharma if we are to avoid the pitfalls of technological culture and egotism; it does not happen on its own. To achieve this takes a process.
So check up now. Wisdom is unemotional in nature. Fear of illness, impermanence and death is emotional; that’s why you cry. That’s why you can’t sleep. You think, “I’m going to die tomorrow,” and your stupid, relative emotions pump you up and push you so that you can’t sleep. True understanding wisdom sees illness and death as natural, so there’s no emotional nervousness upon hearing about impermanence and death.
Parents need to learn how to take care of their children properly. Whether you are a mother or father, or even if you are not a parent but are involved in taking care of children, your attitude should be the very same: you should consider those children to be your main object of practice or meditation. Since you spend so many years of your life with them, it is important to make them the focus of your Dharma practice. But, by saying this, I am not suggesting that everyone have children! My point is that if you are planning to have children, you should be really careful and, before having children, learn how to make their lives as beneficial as possible. Of course, there is still no guarantee that everything will work out; your children will have their own karma. But, because children spend so much time with their parents, you can potentially have an enormous influence on them. Therefore, parents have a huge responsibility. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about this and so don’t plan what they are going to do with that new life after giving birth to it. Instead they tend to think that having children will be pure bliss, without a single problem, like a wonderful dream come true.