RE: Rigpa Glimpse of the Day
- If you are able to think about the meaning of cyclic existence in general
and human life in particular, then it is possible to discipline the mind
through religious practice which is the process of becoming peaceful and
anxiety-free. Otherwise, if too much emphasis is put on the sufferings of
the hells and the imminence of death, there is a chance of falling into
paralysing fear. There is a story in Tibet about an abbot of a monastery who
went to give a discourse. A fellow asked the abbot's servant where the abbot
had gone, and the servant said, "He has gone to frighten old men and women."
If you fulfil the value of a human lifetime through engaging in religious
practice, then there is no point in worrying about death.
--from "Tantra in Tibet" by H.H. the Dalai Lama, Tsong-ka-pa and Jeffrey
Hopkins, published by Snow Lion Publications
After all, it is no more surprising to be born twice than it is to be born
�If we have lived before,� I�m often asked, �why don�t we remember it?� But
why should the fact that we cannot remember our past lives mean that we have
never lived before? After all, experiences�of our childhood, or of
yesterday, or even of what we were thinking an hour ago�were vivid as they
occurred, but the memory of them has almost totally eroded, as though they
had never taken place. If we cannot remember what we were doing or thinking
last Monday, how on earth do we imagine it would be easy, or normal, to
remember what we were doing in a previous lifetime?
To end the bizarre tyranny of ego is why we take the spiritual path, but the
resourcefulness of ego is almost infinite, and it can at every stage
sabotage and pervert our desire to be free of it. The truth is simple, and
the teachings are extremely clear; but I have seen again and again, with
great sadness, that as soon as they begin to touch and move us, ego tries to
complicate them, because it knows it is fundamentally threatened.
However hard ego may try to sabotage the spiritual path, if you really
continue on it, and work deeply with the practice of meditation, you will
begin slowly to realize just how gulled you have been by ego�s promises:
false hopes and false fears. Slowly you begin to understand that both hope
and fear are enemies of your peace of mind; hopes deceive you, and leave you
empty and disappointed, and fears paralyze you in the narrow cell of your
false identity. You begin to see also just how all-encompassing the sway of
ego has been over your mind, and in the space of freedom opened up by
meditation, when you are momentarily released from grasping, you glimpse the
exhilarating spaciousness of your true nature.
The times when you are suffering can be those when you are open, and where
you are extremely vulnerable can be where your greatest strength really
Say to yourself: �I am not going to run away from this suffering. I want to
use it in the best and richest way I can, so that I can become more
compassionate and more helpful to others.� Suffering, after all, can teach
us about compassion. If you suffer, you will know how it is when others
suffer. And if you are in a position to help others, it is through your
suffering that you will find the understanding and compassion to do so.
Sometimes when we see too much truth about ourselves suddenly mirrored in
front of us by the teacher or the teachings, it is simply too difficult to
face, too terrifying to recognize, too painful to accept as the reality
about ourselves. We deny and reject it, in an absurd and desperate attempt
to defend ourselves fromourselves,from the truth of who we really are. And
when there are things too powerful or too difficult to accept about
ourselves, we project them onto the world around us, usually onto those who
help us and love us the most�our teacher, the teachings, our parent, or our
How can we possibly penetrate the tough shield of this defensive system? The
very best solution is when we can recognize ourselves that we are living
duped by our own delusions. I have seen how for many people a glimpse of the
truth, the true View, can bring the whole fantastic construction of wrong
views, fabricated by ignorance, tumbling instantly to the ground.
In a sense everything is dreamlike and illusory, but even so, humorously you
go on doing things. For example, if you are walking, without unnecessary
solemnity or self-consciousness, lightheartedly walk toward the open space
of truth. When you sit, be the stronghold of truth. As you eat, feed your
negativities and illusions into the belly of emptiness, dissolving them into
all-pervading space. And when you go to the toilet, consider all your
obscurations and blockages are being cleansed and washed away.
It is essential to realize now, in life, when we still have a body, that its
convincing appearance of solidity is a mere illusion. The most powerful way
to realize this is to learn how, after meditation, to �become a child of
illusion�: to refrain from solidifying, as we are always tempted to do, the
perceptions of ourselves and our world; and to go on, like the �child of
illusion,� seeing directly, as we do in meditation, that all phenomena are
illusory and dreamlike. The realization that this deepens the body�s
illusory nature is one of the most profound and inspiring we can have to
help us to let go.
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If this elephant of mind is bound on all sides by the cord of mindfulness,
All fear disappears and complete happiness comes.
All enemies: all the tigers, lions, elephants, bears, serpents (of our emotions);
And all the keepers of hell; the demons and the horrors,
All of these are bound by the mastery of your mind,
And by the taming of that one mind, all are subdued,
Because from the mind are derived all fears and immeasurable sorrows.