Feelings like Clouds

“Whatever arises in our mind—whether it’s a thought, an emotion, a sensation, or a perception—is the arising of coemergent wisdom. It is the radiation of the mind’s emptiness and clarity. Every arising is a temporary arising—one thought comes and goes, then another thought comes and goes.

All our thoughts and emotions just appear and disappear.

This is very important, because we usually grasp at whatever occurs. For instance, when sadness arises, we hold on to this feeling and think, “I am so sad, I am so depressed.” But from the Mahamudra point of view, what has happened?

A feeling has arisen in the mind, like a cloud. Like a cloud, it appears and then it disappears, and that’s all there is to it. This time it is sadness arising, the next time it may be happiness, the next time it may be anger, and later it may be kindness. All sorts of things arise, like wildflowers in a spring meadow. All sorts of flowers grow; all sorts of thoughts and emotions arise. They are all okay; they’re nothing special.

When we understand what our thoughts and feelings are, and we experience them in this way, we are able to let them come and let them go.”

~ Confusion Arises as Wisdom: Gampopa’s Heart Advice on the Path of Mahamudra by Ringu Tulku

Quote of the Week

“When a rainbow appears vividly in the sky, you can see its beautiful colors, yet you could not wear it as clothing, or put it on as an ornament. It arises through the conjunction of various factors, but there is nothing about it that can be grasped. Likewise, thoughts that arise in the mind have no tangible existence or intrinsic solidity. There is no logical reason why thoughts, which have no substance, should have so much power over you, nor is there any reason why you should become their slave.

The endless succession of past, present, and future thoughts leads us to believe that there is something inherently and consistently present, and we call it “mind.” But actually… past thoughts are as dead as a corpse. Future thoughts have not yet arisen. So how could these two, which do not exist, be part of an entity which inherently exists?

However, that void nature of mind is not just a blank emptiness like empty space. There is an immediate awareness present. This clarity of mind is like the sun, illuminating the landscape and allowing you to see mountain, path, and precipice—where to go, and where not to go.

Although the mind does have this inherent awareness, to say there is “a mind” is to give a label to something that does not exist—to assume the existence of something that is no more than a name given to a succession of events. One hundred and eight beads strung together, for example, can be called a rosary, but that ‘rosary’ is not a thing that exists inherently on its own. If the string breaks, where did the rosary go?”

~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, The Heart of Compassion

Quote of the Week

“Ultimately there is light and love and intelligence in this universe. And we are it, we carry that within us, it’s not just something out there, it is within us and this is what we are trying to re-connect with, our original light and love and intelligence, which is who we are, so do not get so distracted by all this other stuff, you know, really remember what we are here on this planet for.”

~ Tenzin Palmo

Quote of the Week

“At present we have this rare and good human life of freedom and fortune, but it won’t last forever. We are certain to die and don’t know when. At death nothing at all but our spiritual practice will be of any use to us. That is the only thing worth doing—everything else is a futile waste of energy. We tire ourselves for the sake of reward and reputation and in our search for the kind of companions we prefer, but we can take none of these with us when we die. They must be left behind and only the imprints of negative actions we have performed in the process of trying to acquire them accompany us to our next rebirth. This is not hard to understand, but we must remember it and think about it till it affects the way we think and feel.”

~ Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, by Geshe Sonam Rinchen, edited and translated by Ruth Sonam, page 31.

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Greed is a form of desire. However, it is an exaggerated form of desire, based on overexpectation. The true antidote of greed is contentment.

For a practicing Buddhist, for a Dharma practitioner, many practices can act as a kind of counterforce to greed: the realization of the value of seeking liberation or freedom from suffering, recognizing the underlying unsatisfactory nature of one’s existence, and so on. These views also help an individual to counteract greed. But in terms of an immediate response to greed, one way is to reflect upon the excesses of greed, what it does to one as an individual, where it leads. Greed leads one to a feeling of frustration, disappointment, a lot of confusion, and a lot of problems.

When it comes to dealing with greed, one thing which is quite characteristic is that although it arises from the desire to obtain something, it is not satisfied by obtaining it. Therefore, it becomes limitless or boundless, and that leads to trouble. The interesting thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, as I pointed out, even after obtaining the object of one’s desire, one is still not satisfied. On the other hand, if one has a strong sense of contentment, it doesn’t matter whether one obtains the object or not; either way, one is still content.(p.32)

–from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications

Quote of the Week

“Developing a sense of good cheer in the face of adversity, you can specifically use adversity as the support for refuge and true spiritual development. I am discussing how you relate to your suffering, how you relate to your adversity, as it affects you in life and on the path.

Now, as you know, whenever you are suffering by way of the body, speech, and mind, be it physical illness or a mental affliction, this is a very big deal to you. Usually it appears as something major. Even if it’s minor, you make it into some great distress. If you lose a little money or if someone speaks nastily to you, it invokes a strong reaction. This is called “appearances arising as the enemy.” When your habituation to adversity reaches such a point that you actually fall prey to appearances arising as the enemy, it means that you no longer have patience for suffering.

…If you can’t bear the minor aspects of adversity in this, the best rebirth in cyclic existence, the precious human rebirth, what will you do when you’re reborn in the three lower realms? Samsara is so vast, so deep and limitless, and the number of sentient beings within samsara are equal to that. All of them want to be free; all of them desire liberation. You should consider then how unnecessary or pointless it is to think that your small problems in this fortunate life are so great, when in fact they really are not.

Any rebirth in this ocean of cyclic existence will by nature bring this type of discontent or suffering. Since you’ve been in this cycle of rebirths from beginningless time until now and you are still not free, it points out the fact that help is needed. Refuge is necessary. Adversity then becomes the support for training in refuge, which demonstrates that adversity is used to your advantage.”

~ Gyatrul Rinpoche, Meditation, Transformation, and Dream Yoga

Pointing Out the Dharmakaya

learn-meditation2

“If you continue to practice meditation, then your experience will gradually increase and there will be greater and greater stability and greater and greater lucidity. However, the experiences that can arise in meditation can take various different forms. And in spite of the fact that the person has a real recognition of the mind’s nature, there is still the possibility or probability of fluctuation in experience even after that.

Sometimes you may feel that you have amazing, tremendous meditation, and at other times you may feel that you have no meditation at all. This characterizes meditation experience, which fluctuates a great deal. Realization, which is distinct from experience, does not change, but experiences can fluctuate a great deal or alternate between good and bad. There will still be times when you will have what you regard as good experiences and, in contrast, what you regard as bad experiences. When that occurs, just keep on looking. Don’t get distracted or sidetracked by the experience. Whatever meditation experience arises, you should recognize that it is transitory. As is said, “meditation experience is like mist, it will surely vanish.”

Experiences are different from the actual fact of the recognition itself. Because they are ephemeral experiences, they aren’t worth investing in. So if you have a bad meditation experience, do not be alarmed, because it too will vanish. If you have a good meditation experience, you need to continue; if you have a bad meditation experience, you need to continue. In either case, you simply need to continue to rest in this recognition of the mind’s nature.”

~ from Pointing Out the Dharmakaya by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, foreword by the Dalai Lama, introduction by Lama Tashi Namgyal, published by Snow Lion Publications

Shantideva: Far-reaching Mental Stability

(10) One moment, they’re friends;
In an instant, they’re enemies.
At a time for being delighted, they fall into a rage:
Ordinary beings are so difficult to please.

(11) Told what’s of benefit, they get enraged
And cause me to turn from what’s of benefit too.
But, if their words aren’t listened to,
They fall into a rage and go, then, to a worse rebirth state.

(12) They’re envious of superiors, competitive with equals,
Arrogant toward inferiors, conceited when praised,
And hateful when told what they don’t want to hear:
When is there benefit from infantile beings?

(13) If I associate with infantile people,
Then destructive behavior inevitably arises among infantile folk,
Such as praising myself and belittling others,
And prattling on about the pleasures of samsara.

(14) From entrusting myself to others in this way,
Nothing but loss comes about in the end,
For they’ll be, in fact, no-good for me
And I’ll be, in fact, no-good for them.

(15) So let me flee far away from infantile folk;
But if encountered, I’ll please them with pleasantries,
And without becoming overly familiar,
I’ll conduct myself nicely, merely as an ordinary person would.