RE: Rigpa Glimpse of the Day
- It wouldn't be bad if you didn't have statues, but it has become
indispensable to have Buddhist texts which deal with the structured path to
train our mind. If you have Buddhist texts, read them for yourselves and to
friends who visit. That way you can help others to understand Buddhist
ideas. For instance, it is interesting to read Milarepa's life story and
songs. We find in them many enlightening lessons. Buddha's image alone will
not purify us of karmic obscuration.... It is very important to study the
scriptures. They are not to be just stacked up on the altar. They must be
cultivated in our mind. ...[we] take great interest in having the symbolic
representations of Buddha's body, speech and mind. I feel it is more
important to acquire and read scriptures, the symbolic representations of
his speech. You can pay homage to them, you can make offerings to them;
above all, you should study them.
--from "Generous Wisdom: Commentaries by H.H. the Dalai Lama XIV on the
Jatakamala" translated by Tenzin Dorjee edited by Dexter Roberts
Is karma really so hard to see in operation? Don�t we only have to look back
at our own lives to see clearly the consequences of some of our actions?
When we upset or hurt someone, didn�t it rebound on us? Were we not left
with a bitter and dark memory, and the shadows of self-disgust? That memory
and those shadows are karma. Our habits and our fears too are also due to
karma, the results of our past actions, words, and thoughts. If we examine
our actions, and become really mindful of them, we will see that there is a
pattern that repeats itself. Whenever we act negatively, it leads to pain
and suffering; whenever we act positively, it eventually results in
Meditation is bringing the mind back home, and this is first achieved
through the practice of mindfulness.
Once an old woman came to Buddha and asked him how to meditate. He told her
to remain aware of every movement of her hands as she drew water from the
well, knowing that if she did, she would soon find herself in that state of
alert and spacious calm that is meditation.
Evoking the power of compassion in us is not always easy. I find myself that
the simplest ways are the best and the most direct. Every day, life gives us
innumerable chances to open our hearts, if we can only take them. An old
woman passes you with a sad and lonely face and two heavy plastic bags full
of shopping she can hardly carry. Switch on a television, and there on the
news is a mother in Beirut kneeling above the body of her murdered son, or
an old grandmother in Moscow pointing to the thin soup that is her only
food. . . .
Any one of these sights could open the eyes of your heart to the fact of
vast suffering in the world. Let it. Don�t waste the love and grief it
arouses. In the moment you feel compassion welling up in you, don�t brush it
aside, don�t shrug it off and try quickly to return to �normal,� don�t be
afraid of your feeling or be embarrassed by it, and don�t allow yourself to
be distracted from it. Be vulnerable: Use that quick, bright uprush of
compassion�focus on it, go deep into your heart and meditate on it, develop
it, enhance and deepen it. By doing this you will realize how blind you have
been to suffering.
All beings, everywhere, suffer; let your heart go out to them all in
spontaneous and immeasurable compassion.
Open people ask me: �How long should I meditate? And when? Should I practice
twenty minutes in the morning and in the evening, or is it better to do
several short practices during the day?� Yes, it is good to meditate for
twenty minutes, though that is not to say that twenty minutes is the limit.
I have not found in the scriptures any reference to twenty minutes; I think
it is a notion that has been contrived in the West, and I call it Meditation
Western Standard Time.
The point is not how long you meditate; the point is whether the practice
actually brings you to a certain state of mindfulness and presence, where
you are a little open and able to connect with your heart essence. And five
minutes of wakeful sitting practice is of far greater value than twenty
minutes of dozing!
Because in our culture we overvalue the intellect, we imagine that to become
enlightened demands extraordinary intelligence. In fact, many kinds of
cleverness are just further obscurations. There is a Tibetan saying: �If you
are too clever, you could miss the point entirely.�
Patrul Rinpoche said: �The logical mind seems interesting, but it is the
seed of delusion.� People can become obsessed with their own theories and
miss the point of everything. In Tibet we say: �Theories are like patches on
a coat, one day they just wear off.�
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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.