Rigpa Glimpse of the Day
When your mind is trained in self-discipline, even if you are surrounded by hostile forces, your peace of mind will hardly be disturbed. On the other hand, if your mind is undisciplined, your mental peace and calm can easily be disrupted by your own negative thoughts and emotions. The real enemy is within, not outside. Usually we define our enemy as a person, an external agent, whom we believe is causing harm to us or to someone we hold dear. But such an enemy is dependent on many conditions and is impermanent. One moment, the person may act as an enemy; at yet another moment, he or she may become your best friend. This is a truth that we often experience in our own lives. But negative thoughts and emotions, the inner enemy, will always remain the enemy. They are your enemy today, they have been your enemy in the past, and they will remain your enemy in the future as long as they reside within your mind.
This inner enemy is extremely dangerous. The destructive potential of an external enemy is limited when compared to that of its inner counterpart.... In a time when every country is a potential target for the nuclear weapons of others, human beings still continue to develop defense systems of greater and greater sophistication. I do not know if it will ever be possible to create a defense system capable of guaranteeing worldwide protection against all external forces of destruction. However, one thing is certain: as long as those destructive internal enemies of anger and hatred are left to themselves unchallenged, the threat of physical annihilation will always loom over us. In fact, the destructive power of an external enemy ultimately derives from the power of these internal forces. The inner enemy is the trigger that unleashes the destructive power of the external enemy.
Shantideva tells us that as long as these inner enemies remain secure within, there is great danger. Shantideva goes on to say that even if everyone in the world were to stand up against you as your enemies and harm you, as long as your own mind was disciplined and calm, they would not be able to disturb your peace. Yet a single instance of delusion arising in your mind has the power to disturb that peace and inner stability.
--from "The Compassionate Life" by Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
At every moment in our lives we need compassion, but what more urgent moment could there be than when we are dying? What more wonderful and consoling gift could you give to dying people than the knowledge that they are being prayed for, and that you are taking on their suffering and purifying their negative karma through your practice for them?
Even if they don’t know that you are practicing for them, you are helping them and in turn they are helping you. They are actively helping you to develop your compassion, and so to purify and heal yourself. For me, all dying people are teachers, giving to all those who help them a chance to transform themselves through developing their compassion.
Again and again we need to appreciate the subtle workings of the teachings and the practice, and even when there is no extraordinary, dramatic change, to persevere with calm and patience. How important it is to be skillful and gentle with ourselves, without becoming disheartened or giving up, but trusting the spiritual path and knowing that it has its own laws and its own dynamics.
Planning for the future is like going fishing in a dry gulch;
Nothing ever works out as you wanted, so give up all your schemes and ambitions.
If you have got to think about something—
Make it the uncertainty of the hour of your death.
Bereavement can force you to look at your life directly, compelling you to find a purpose in it where there may not have been one before. When suddenly you find yourself alone after the death of someone you love, it can feel as if you are being given a new life and are being asked: “What will you do with this life? And why do you wish to continue living?”
My heartfelt advice to those in the depths of grief and despair after losing someone they dearly loved is to pray for help and strength and grace. Pray that you will survive and discover the richest possible meaning to the new life you now find yourself in. Be vulnerable and receptive, be courageous and patient. Above all, look into your life to find ways of sharing your love more deeply with others now.
The more often you listen to your discriminating awareness, the more easily you will be able to change your negative moods yourself, see through them, and even laugh at them for the absurd dramas and ridiculous illusions that they are.
Gradually you will find yourself able to free yourself more and more quickly from the dark emotions that have ruled your life, and this ability to do so is the greatest miracle of all.
The Tibetan mystic, Tertön Sogyal, said that he was not really impressed by someone who could turn the floor into the ceiling or fire into water. A real miracle, he said, was if someone could liberate just one negative emotion.
The successive existences in a series of rebirths are not like the pearls in a pearl necklace, held together by a string, the ‘soul,’ which passes through all the pearls; rather they are like dice piled one on top of the other. Each die is separate, but it supports the one above it, with which it is functionally connected. Between the dice there is no identity, but conditionality.
H. W. SCHUMANN
THE HISTORICAL BUDDHA
One of the greatest of Tibet’s many woman masters, Ma Chik Lap Drön, said: “Alert, alert; yet relax, relax. This is a crucial point for the View in meditation.”
Alert your alertness, but at the same time be relaxed, so relaxed in fact that you don’t even hold onto an idea of relaxation.
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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.