Changing habits

Mingyur Rinpoche talks about how to change habits, which is a skillful preparation for meditation.

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Buddhism as just philosophy

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.

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Refuge as a state of mind

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.

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6 lessons from Patrul Rinpoche

In an interesting excerpt from a book by Phachok Rinpoche, there is a discussion of 6 essential instructions from Patrul Rinpoche, the reknown 19th century master. Patrul Rinpoche mentions:

  • “THE PROUD WILL NEVER BE PLEASED”

  • “THE JEALOUS WILL NEVER BE HAPPY”

  • “THE GREEDY WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED”

  • “THE HATEFUL WILL NEVER BE RECONCILED”

  • “THE STINGY WILL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH” 

  • “THE IGNORANT WILL NEVER ACCOMPLISH”

Click here to read about the lessons in more detail

 

Transforming obstacles

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.

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Being in real retreat

In this interesting reply to an old student, Lama Zopa explains the meaning of being in retreat.

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.

Click here to read the reply