RE: Rigpa Glimpse of the Day
- A tantric yogi who has gained control of the subtle energies of the body and the subtle levels of consciousness will have control over the inner and outer elements and consequently can transform his or her ordinary samsaric form into a joyous rainbow body. But until we can do this, we have to accept the fact that our physical basis is a magnet attracting every kind of discomfort and pain.
...This samsaric body keeps us running all of our lives. We have to run to fulfill its endless needs, to keep it away from things that may harm it, and to protect it from anything unpleasant. We have to give it pleasure and comfort. We become ordained, and at first this is very satisfactory; but soon our body makes it so difficult for us that we think our practice would be less disturbed if we were to live as a layperson. So we give up and return to ordinary life; but then we end up with a family to support, leaving us with no time or energy for meditation. We have the pressing tasks of feeding, clothing, and sheltering our children, and of arranging their education and so forth.
Our lives are spent alternating between work and worry, with occasional short periods of pleasure, and then we have to die; but even this we cannot do in peace, for, when we lie down to die, our last thoughts are worried ones concerning the family we are leaving behind. Such is the nature of worldly existence.
...To care for our old people--these ones who have given us our body, our life, and our culture--is a sacred duty of humanity. But most humans act more like animals than people, and often we see old people who have been abandoned by their families. Family units were very strong in Tibet, and old people were usually cared for directly by relatives. The national care for the old that we see in the West is something very good, a healthy sign, although perhaps here the spiritual and psychological basis is somewhat lacking.
The suffering of old age is something we all must face, unless we die prematurely. There is nothing we can do about it. Gone will be that false sense of personal ability and strength that made us so proud when we were young. Instead, helpers or friends will bathe us, dress us, spoonfeed us, and have to take us to the toilet. Rather than live under the delusion of permanence, we should engage in spiritual training so that we can enter old age at least with the grace of wisdom.
...So we can see that this body indeed causes us much grief in this life and, sadly, in their quest to satisfy its many needs, most people just collect an endless stream of negative karmic instincts that will lead them to lower rebirths in the future. These are the sufferings of the human world.
...The important point here is to become aware of the third type of suffering, the subtle suffering that pervades all imperfect existence, the all-pervading misery concomitant with having a perishable, samsaric base.... [All are] enmeshed in suffering because the nature of their body and mind is bound with compulsive cyclic processes. Until we develop the wisdom that is able to free the mind from these compelling forces, there is no doubt that we shall experience suffering throughout our lives, and that we shall continue to wander endlessly in the wheel of birth, life, death, and rebirth where the presence of misery can always be felt.
--from "The Path to Enlightenment" by H.H. the Dalai Lama, edited and translated by Glenn H. Mullin, published by Snow Lion Publications
Once there was a Dzogchen yogi who lived unostentatiously, surrounded, however, by a large following of disciples. A certain monk, who had an exaggerated opinion of his own learning and scholarship, was jealous of the yogi, whom he knew not to be very well read at all. He thought: "How does he, just an ordinary person, dare to teach? How dare he pretend to be a master? I will go and test his knowledge, show it up for the sham it is, and humiliate him in front of his disciples, so that they will leave him and follow me."
One day he visited the yogi and said scornfully: "You Dzogchen bunch, is meditate all you ever do?"
The yogi’s reply took him completely by surprise: "What is there to meditate on?"
"You don’t even meditate then," the scholar brayed triumphantly.
"But when am I ever distracted?" said the yogi.
One of the greatest Buddhist traditions calls the nature of mind "the wisdom of ordinariness." I cannot say it enough: Our true nature and the nature of all beings is not something extraordinary.
The irony is that it is our so-called ordinary world that is extraordinary, a fantastic, elaborate hallucination of the deluded vision of samsara. It is this "extraordinary" vision that blinds us to the "ordinary," natural, inherent nature of mind. Imagine if the buddhas were looking down at us now: How they would marvel sadly at the lethal ingenuity and intricacy of our confusion!
I remember a middle-aged American woman who came to see Dudjom Rinpoche in New York in 1976. She came into the room, and sat in front of Dudjom Rinpoche, and blurted out: "My doctor has given me only a few months to live. Can you help me? I am dying."
To her surprise, in a gentle yet compassionate way, Dudjom Rinpoche began to chuckle. Then he said quietly: "You see, we are all dying. It’s only a matter of time. Some of us just die sooner than others."
With these few words, he helped her to see the universality of death, and that her impending death was not unique. This eased her anxiety. Then he talked to her about dying and the acceptance of death. And he spoke about the hope there is in death. At the end, he gave her a healing practice that she followed enthusiastically. Not only did she come to accept death, but, by following the practice with complete dedication, she recovered her health.
The real glory of meditation lies not in any method but in its continual living experience of presence, in its bliss, clarity, peace, and, most important of all, complete absence of grasping.
The diminishing of your grasping is a sign that you are becoming freer of yourself. And the more you experience this freedom, the clearer the sign that the ego and the hopes and fears that keep it alive are dissolving and the closer you will come to the infinitely generous "wisdom of egolessness." When you live in that wisdom home, you’ll no longer find a barrier between "I" and "you," "this" and "that," "inside" and "outside"; you’ll have come, finally, to your true home, the state of nonduality.
One technique for arousing compassion for a person who is suffering is to imagine one of your dearest friends, or someone you really love, in that person’s place.
Imagine your brother or daughter or parent or best friend in the same kind of painful situation. Quite naturally your heart will open, and compassion will awaken in you: What more would you want than to free your loved one from his or her torment? Now take this compassion released in your heart and transfer it to the person who needs your help: You will find that your help is inspired more naturally and that you can direct it more easily.
All the spiritual teachers of humanity have told us the same thing, that the purpose of life on earth is to achieve union with our fundamental, enlightened nature. It says in the Upanishads:
There is the path of wisdom and the path of ignorance. They are far apart and lead to different ends. . . . Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither like the blind led by the blind. What lies beyond life shines not to those who are childish, or careless, or deluded by wealth.
It is said that when Buddha attained enlightenment, all he wanted to do was to show the rest of us the nature of mind and share completely what he had realized. But he also saw, with the great sorrow of infinite compassion, how difficult it would be for us to understand.
For even though we have the same inner nature as Buddha, we have not recognized it because it is so enclosed and wrapped up in our individual ordinary minds.
Imagine an empty vase. The space inside is exactly the same as the space outside. Only the fragile walls of the vase separate one from the other. Our buddha mind is enclosed within the walls of our ordinary mind. But when we become enlightened, it is as if the vase shatters into pieces. The space "inside" merges instantly into the space "outside." They become one: There and then we realize that they were never separate or different; they were always the same.
As Buddha said: "What you are is what you have been, what you will be is what you do now." Padmasambhava went further: "If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition; if you want to know your future life, look at your present actions."
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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.