Courage In The Face Of Illness
by His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin

As we all know, the Covid-19 virus is spreading across most countries of the world. At this critical juncture, the Central Tibetan Administration has asked several high lamas to talk about this topic. I was also requested to give some instructions on how to handle the crisis.

Generally speaking, from a Buddhist point of view, we should see the Buddha as a doctor, his teachings as medicine, ourselves as patients, and our negative thoughts such as anger as an illness. Studying and practising authentic teachings, and through this overcoming negative thoughts and gaining realisation is akin to following the doctor’s advice and recovering from our illness. It is with this perception that we should practise the Buddhadharma, whether we are monks, nuns or lay followers. Of course, whenever we fall sick, we should take medicine to cure our illness. Likewise, we have the disease of negative thoughts and therefore should take the appropriate medicine, which is the practice of the Buddhadharma.

We should think that the whole of samsara is essentially suffering – especially now, as we face so much hardship and sorrow – and that the way to relieve this suffering is by practising the Buddhadharma. Buddhadharma practice takes place in our own mind, and it is based on positive thoughts, peaceful thoughts, thoughts of non-violence. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has given us the advice not to become discouraged. If we become discouraged, we cannot overcome suffering. So whatever difficulties we may face, we should meet with great fortitude. His Holiness Gongma Trichen Rinpoche also strongly advises us not to worry, not to panic.

All these problems are caused by our own karma, and we should respond to them by taking good care of our own health, by cultivating positive thoughts, and by pacifying this virus by reciting prayers and mantras. For example, if a student needs to take an exam, if he just worries and feels discouraged, he can’t concentrate and won’t be able to get good results. To get good results, a student should not worry or feel discouraged; rather, with great fortitude, with great confidence, he should put great effort into his work; with such merit, he will obtain good results.

This also applies to our everyday activities. We need to put great effort into them, cultivate great fortitude and self-confidence, and with this, we can make them very successful. And now, at a time when we are facing this daunting challenge to overcome the Covid-19 virus, we should all arm ourselves with fortitude and self-confidence, both individually and collectively.

At the moment, we are retreating from worldly activities, many of us are unable to perform our normal activities, and so we have a lot of time on our hands. This provides us with a great opportunity to practise the dharma, especially to cultivate good thoughts, positive thoughts.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has often said that he considers himself just one among 7 billion human beings. His Holiness always stresses that although there are huge numbers of human beings, we are all from one big human family. His Holiness also says that the human form is a peaceful one, it doesn’t have fangs or claws like tigers and lions do. And so our mind should also be peaceful. When our mind is disturbed, when we feel anger, we should remember this. His Holiness says that a peaceful mind, a kind mind, is the best offering that we can make. And so, we should follow this advice all the time, especially at this critical time.

So, as we all know, we humans are all somewhat different from each other, yet we all belong to a great big human family. Just like lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, pumas and black panther belong to the cat family, we, in spite of all our different traits and characteristics, belong to the human family. And so we should focus and ponder deeply on the oneness of humanity. Not only do we have the same form, with one face and two hands and all, but we also all have the same wish to gain happiness and to overcome all our suffering and problems, and so it is important for all of us to focus on the oneness of humanity.

As the great Bodhisattva Shantideva said in his Bodhicharyavatara, we should practise equality, which means that we are all the same and we should care for each other. This is important, and when we have the feeling of oneness, then it is easy for us to take care of others, easy to think of others’ welfare and well being. This is particularly important at a time when the Covid-19 virus is spreading across nearly everywhere in the world. As of today, 4th of April, the number of patients worldwide has reached almost 1.1 million. The numbers are increasing daily with great margins, for example from yesterday to today there has been an increase of 80,000 new patients. So, at this time we should focus on all these patients, without any exception, and think ‘May all these patients fully recover from this virus.” If we have a strong feeling of oneness, we cannot discriminate between these patients, we cannot think that one particular patient should recover, while another one shouldn’t.

As it is said in the Bodhicharyavatara, if we pray that “May all the suffering of the world be overcome”, this thought is a very meritorious deed and is of great benefit. Similarly at this moment, if we focus on all these patients and pray “May all these patients gain full recovery from their sickness, then this thought will also be a very meritorious deed and will be of great benefit.

This critical time is an opportune moment for us to practise loving-kindness, compassion and bodhicitta, not only toward these patients but also to all those people whose lives are affected by this virus, directly or indirectly. And then we should extend our focus and pray “May all beings be free from suffering.” If we practise loving-kindness, compassion and bodhicitta in this way, our practice will become very powerful and will help us to cultivate positive thoughts. So many people are suffering at the moment, and we should take this as an opportunity to practise loving kindness, great compassion and bodhicitta with a strong feeling, not just paying lip service. Then this terrible situation can become a blessing in disguise. The Buddha himself, as do all the great masters, teaches us how beneficial and meritorious is the practice of loving-kindness, compassion and bodhicitta.

From a worldly point of view, in order to overcome this virus, we should follow the advice of our doctors, nurses and medical experts. And we should follow the guidelines set out by the country in which we live to control the spread of the virus. It is the responsibility of each one of us to overcome this virus, and so we need to fully understand the nature and purpose of these guidelines, and we need to follow them closely.

So I entreat all of you to follow these guidelines, and I also appeal to you to pray for all our doctors, nurses and other medical workers who are risking their lives every day, fully aware that they are constantly in great danger of contracting the virus and yet bravely fighting on in their efforts to save the lives of others. I truly admire their noble work, and I pray that it be rewarded with complete success.

Great numbers of people have lost their lives to this virus, including doctors and nurses. I pray that all those who have succumbed to it be free from the fear of the bardo state, and that they may gain temporary and ultimate happiness in their future lives.

We can be stronger in the face of the virus if we pray. We can pray to the Buddha, to Tara, to Avalokiteshvara, or to any other deity. When we do so, we should think that the Buddha or the deities are right in front of us. If we stare at statues or paintings just seeing them as statues or thangkas, then our prayer won’t have much effect. But if we really see them as the Buddha or the deities, then we will obtain great results. Even if we have no images for support, if we can just visualise them in front of us and really believe that they are there, then we will receive very strong blessings. The same happens if we pray to our gurus with this kind of perception. By thinking that our gurus are right in front of us and praying fervently to them, we can obtain very strong blessings and gain enormous benefit.

Finally, I would like to add that when we use this precious time to practise and to perform virtuous deeds, and thereby gather great merit, we should remember to dedicate all our merit to the eradication of this virus and to our attainment of Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings.

As Shantideva said in his Bodhicharyavatara, “May all who are sick quickly be freed from their illness and may all disease in the world never occur again.” I too fervently make this prayer. And lastly, we should dedicate all our merits to the long life and good health of our root Guru His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and to that of all our great masters.

Khöndung Ratna Vajra Rinpoche 5.

Displaying brocade before a blind person, adorning a cow with coral garland around its neck and giving teachings to the faith-less, all these are but a waste of time.

— Jigme Lingpa

Jigme Lingpa 12.

佛菩薩如何幫助苦難眾生
淨空法師

我們都知道,最近這些年災難愈來愈多,眾生生活愈來愈苦,往後還要嚴重。有人來問我,佛菩薩大慈大悲,如何來救度苦難的眾生?這些話說得沒錯,正確的意思往往被人曲解。諸佛菩薩慈悲救度,是不是眾生缺少食物,佛就送糧食來;缺少衣服,佛就送衣服來?不是。   

佛怎樣救度?佛是幫助眾生破迷開悟,這是真正的救度一切眾生。讓眾生自己明瞭災難是怎麼來的,然後能夠把這些災難的原因消除,就沒有災難了。我們要想得到幸福美滿、自在快樂,這也是果報,果必有因, 佛菩薩教我們修因,善因一定得善果,這才是真實的救度。   

世尊確實慈悲,從什麼地方表現?從他老人家一生生活當中表現給我們看。我們知道佛是福慧二足尊,這是講智慧圓滿,福報也圓滿。一個福報圓滿的人為什麼不享福?   

每天都是三衣一缽,樹下一宿,日中一食。他示現這個樣子給我們看,這就是大慈大悲的落實。世間畢竟富貴的人少,貧賤的人多,如果佛示現富貴的身分,貧賤的人看到佛只有仰慕,不敢親近。佛示現貧賤到極處, 讓一切貧賤之人看到佛都感到非常親切,佛跟我們一樣,我們沒房子住,佛也沒房子住;我們沒得吃,佛也沒得吃。這是佛的慈悲,我們要能體會到這個意思。

佛一生沒有求過人,每天托缽也只托七家,七家都托不到,那今天就餓一天。這種示現教導我們知足常樂, 世間人的病就是貪婪,貪婪才招來無量無邊的禍害。   

學佛就是向佛學習,無論我們是什麼身分,從事哪一種行業,都要學習佛的精神、佛的理念、佛的慈悲, 把佛的教導落實在自己生活當中。做人要樸實、要懂得知足,有多餘的就分享出去。這是佛菩薩跟世間人理念不相同,佛菩薩是有福大家享,凡夫有福是自己享,自私自利。   

佛的福報可以說是全部貢獻出來讓大家分享,自己過最簡單的生活。佛不僅以言語教導我們,他老人家自己做到,那我們還有什麼話說?他真看破,世出世間一切理事、因果他都通達明瞭;他真放下,世間一切名聞利養、五欲六塵都不沾染。

許多同修覺得自己業障很重,災難很多,那要如何消除業障,化解災難?實在講,釋迦牟尼佛一生示現的就是,我們要學會了,不但眼前的災難可以消除,無始劫來的業習都能夠斷掉。   

由此可知,我們學佛實在是粗心大意。佛法沒有隱瞞、沒有祕密,完全呈現在我們眼前,為什麼看不出來?   

佛菩薩的形像在我們面前,經論在我們面前,我們也拜佛,也讀經、也聽經,但就是不懂經上講的義趣,就是不能將這些義理落實在自己生活當中,得到真正的利益。這不能怪佛菩薩不慈悲,不能怪佛菩薩沒有幫助我們,而是我們不懂,沒有領會,這個過失在自己,所以自己要反省、要懺悔,從反省懺悔當中去學習。   

為什麼這樣做?就是要克服自己的煩惱習氣,這就是我們天天希求的消業障。什麼是業障?煩惱習氣是業障,能夠克服煩惱習氣就是消業障。用什麼方法克服? 方法很多,佛家常講八萬四千法門,法就是方法,門就是門徑;克服煩惱的方法,消除業障的門徑無量無邊。

世尊在世的時候,四十九年所說的一切法無非就是為這麼一樁事情。在這麼多法門裡面,世尊告訴我們,以念佛法門最為方便,最簡單、最容易、最直捷。可是念佛的理論我們要懂得,對於念佛就不會懷疑,佛號念得就有效果、有力量,能夠消業障,能夠斷煩惱。   

我們天天念佛,為什麼煩惱斷不掉,還天天在增長?是不是佛法不靈?如果說佛法不靈,為什麼有些人念的時候他真消掉,效果很殊勝?關鍵就在如法不如法,會念不會念。不會念,與念佛的理論、方法、 境界不相應,没效果;會念的人如理如法,效果非常殊勝。   

所以經不能不明白,不但要明白,佛常常教弟子「 深解義趣」,對於經教解得愈徹底愈好,我們的信心愈堅定。信心能轉境界,《金剛經》上講得很好,「 信心清淨,則生實相」。這講的是什麼意思?信心真的到清淨,轉十法界成一真法界,一真法界是實相。 能夠把十法界轉變成一真法界,這豈不是佛常常講的境隨心轉嗎?   

所以佛怎麼救度一切眾生?讓我們自己轉境界, 佛不能幫我們轉境界。為什麼?境界是自己造成的, 不是別人造成的。自己造成的,只有自己能解決,任何人幫不上忙,諸佛菩薩也不行。   

我們在《楞嚴經》上看到阿難尊者遭了難,佛能 不能幫助他?不能。佛只能把遭難的前因後果告訴我們,什麼原因會有這個災難,然後說明怎樣來化解。 自己明白通達,把心轉變過來,行為轉變過來,境界就轉變了,災難就消除了。   

一念惡心起來,善境界就變成惡境界;一念善念起來,惡境界就變成善境界。最明顯的是十法界,一念平等心,佛法界現前;一念六度心,菩薩法界現前; 一念貪瞋、十惡這種心起來,我們生活的環境就是五濁惡世;一念清淨心現前,世界清泰安雅,就是極樂世界。   

佛常常說「凡所有相,皆是虛妄」,因為相是虛妄的,我們的念頭才能轉境界;如果這個境界是真實的,念頭怎麼能轉動它?因為它是虛妄的,這種虛妄就像夢境一樣。經上講,一切法如夢幻泡影,一點都不錯。   

所以佛在經上說,「種種心生,種種法生;種種法生,種種心生」,說明宇宙人生的真相,又告訴我們「 一切法從心想生」。真正能夠透徹理解這個道理,我們心怎麼想,世界環境就怎麼變;大環境會變,小環境是我們的身體、容貌,也會隨著改變。

佛怕我們印象不夠深刻,所以多次宣講,這真是大慈大悲,提醒我們。境界沒有不能轉變的,不能轉變是因為我們對理論不透徹,方法不清楚,再加上沒有耐心, 這就收不到效果。如果如理如法,哪有轉不了的境界?   

佛法的殊勝、佛法的微妙,世出世間一切法沒有能跟它相比的。我們這一生太幸運了,能得人身,能聞佛法,能對於甚深的義理稍微明白一些,稀有難逢!一定要認真努力來修學。所謂修學,就是認真實踐佛陀的教義,給一切眾生做出好榜樣。幫助一切眾生覺悟才是真正幫助眾生,要把佛法以這樣的方式傳下去。

Ven Jin Kong 59.

The best paths is the Eightfold Path. The best of truths are the Four Sayings. Non-attachment is the best states. The best bipeds is the Seeing One.

— The Buddha

Buddha 581.

Facing My White Privilege
by Tara Brach

Until eight or nine years ago, I would have said that I was pretty conscious about race; I also would have assumed that Buddhist sanghas were welcoming to everyone. My father was an attorney who practised a lot of civil rights law, and he had a very racially mixed group of friends, which was quite unusual at the time. In grammar school, I was one of five white kids in an otherwise African American school. I’ve also lived for extended periods of time as an outsider, including wearing religious garb — all-white clothing and a turban — for ten years. So I assumed that I was somewhat awake to these issues, but I got the rug pulled out from under me thanks to some friends of mine in the D.C. area who started letting me know what life was really like for people of colour, beyond my bubble of experience.

One of them is a friend in a diversity-focused sangha who described driving around with her father when she was growing up. Periodically, he’d be pulled over by the police for nothing, just because he was a Black man. She described how painful it was to see the humiliation he felt every time she witnessed that happen, to know that he felt his dignity was taken away in her eyes. If that had happened to my father, if I had watched him be humiliated like that, it would have shaken my world as a young person.

Another friend came to a dharma class where I was talking about raising our children, mirroring their goodness and giving them a sense of confidence in themselves and in their capacity to be all they can be in the world. My friend raised her hand and said, “I’ll tell you, I want to give my son fear. I want him to be afraid because I am scared to death that he’s going to either get arrested or killed every time he leaves the house.” She didn’t want her son being cocky or oblivious to the risks he faced as a young African American male — she’d rather he be scared and alive. I had assumed that doors would open for my son, that he’d have opportunities and that he could take advantage of those opportunities if he trusted himself. I realised that my assumption was white privilege.

One of the things I’ve noticed when the subject of racism comes up is how white Buddhist practitioners will say, “Oh yes, this is important,” but without a feeling that it really involves them, their life, or their spiritual path. And yet, you can’t be part of a population where there has been deep trauma and not be involved. We’re all involved. Slavery in its formal expression may no longer exist in the United States, but there are new strains that we can see in the disparity of access to a host of resources — in education, housing, and jobs. Twice as many Blacks as whites are unemployed in the U.S., and nearly six times as many Blacks as whites are incarcerated.

The legacy of racism doesn’t just affect access to resources in our society. It affects our psyche and has a powerful effect on our sense of identity. Those who don’t have easy access to resources commonly face feelings of inferiority, disempowerment, and threat. But what happens if you’re the one who does have access? Identity becomes more unconscious — there is an unconscious sense of privilege and superiority, of being deserving and taking what’s due. It’s very common for white people to refer to others who aren’t white by saying, “They’re African American” or “They’re Asian.” We don’t identify other Caucasians by saying, “Oh, they’re white” because it’s given that white is the default and everyone else is different. Toni Morrison writes, “In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” We do this in the sangha as well.

Living in a white-dominant context, white people experience their centrality constantly: in history textbooks, in media advertising, in role models and heroes, in everyday conversations about “good neighbourhoods” and “good schools,” who’s in them and who’s not. We watch popular TV shows centred around groups of friends who are commonly all white, and we are exposed to religious iconography that shows God, Moses, Jesus, and other key figures as white. And at dharma centre after dharma centre, we see white Buddhist teachers. If you’re white, you don’t tend to notice this backdrop, but if you’re not white, you do.

In order to feel that the trouble “others” are having isn’t “out there” in the world, separate from us, we have to get close. The trouble is “in here,” and it wants our attention. Shortly after Ferguson, I attended a vigil of grieving mothers in Washington, D.C. There were about fifteen women from all over the country whose sons had been killed by the police. They travelled the nation sharing their stories. One of them told us how her son got shot the day before her birthday. He had been planning her party. Another shared that after her son was shot, he said to the police, “I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Why did you shoot me?” One woman’s son was about to get married; another was shot yards from a hospital, but the police refused to take him to the emergency room. These mothers’ stories broke my heart. They would break the heart of anyone who got close enough to listen. As white people, we can live for decades without being exposed to this reality and not care enough to be part of the healing. We have to let our hearts be broken or else we’re going stay in a very insulated identity. We have to pay attention.

White people need to be aware of white privilege, to notice how many doors open for us in this life. The current that gives access to money, power, and success supports us; there’s a feeling of fitting in, of being part of the culture that’s on top. And it isn’t just in society out there—it happens in spiritual communities every bit as much.

An African American man attending one of our meditation classes for the first time wrote about feeling singled out and unwelcome because he was Black:

When I arrived, I was a little early, so I sat down at the end of the second row and began to read a book I had purchased waiting for the meditation. The building slowly filled to capacity and it seemed that by the time the meditation began, every seat in the house was filled except one — the one next to me. I became a little set off by this until the ghost of racist past sat down next to me. He said, “Empty seats are devoured in this hall, so why am I sitting next to you?”

His rap filled my mind with anger and frustration. I ignored and tried to focus on the meditation. I couldn’t. He said, “Why am I the only person to sit next to you? Do they think you’d rob them?”

“No, that’s absurd,” I replied. “I don’t think they felt that way.”

The ghost responded, “Well, maybe you have an awful smell?”

“No, I’m clean.”

“You look intimidating?”

“I don’t believe a forty-one-year-old Black man in dress pants and a button-down creates fear and intimidation.”

“Is it because you’re new?”

“I don’t know.”

This situation bothered me for the rest of the evening to the point that I didn’t and couldn’t follow the rest of the dharma talk. I remember the teacher announcing that volunteers were needed with the tea and snack table. It was my intention to help out, but I thought to myself:

They don’t want a Black man to help.

So right after the service was over, the ghost of racist past escorted me out.

That was about four years ago. The unusual and beautiful end of the story is that he and I became friends, and he now serves on the board of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW); he also serves on an advisory committee of people of colour that is helping us examine how to evolve IMCW’s culture in a way that is more inclusive, diverse, and equitable. He didn’t go away. But that’s not what usually happens, and I can understand why. It’s painful to know that for all our best intentions, white Buddhist practitioners are missing an awareness not only of what it really means to carry a certain identity but also of how to be sensitive to the impact of that identity. Over the last few decades, we’ve had a handful of teachers of colour in our broader community give deeply of themselves in the effort to wake us up, often in the face of a lack of willingness, interest, or understanding among white teachers and practitioners.

Part of me is moved to tears by the suffering this perpetuates, but another part is hopeful about sangha and what Martin Luther King, Jr. called “beloved community.” The legacy of slavery and genocide in the United States, the ways in which white people occupy a place of privilege and dominance that we’re so often blind to, is very particular. It takes effort to know what happened and to know our part in it. But it’s not about shaming people. In fact, one of the things I find inspiring about the very beautiful movements that have been emerging, especially among the frontline communities that make up Black Lives Matter, is the focus on love. For the folks fighting against oppression, self-love is a central force, and that’s true for all of us. We’ve got to love ourselves and each other through this. If white people are going to have the courage and honesty to look at where we’re holding on to dominance or enjoying our privilege, we also have to find a way to forgive ourselves. We are not personally bad; we are part of the collective conditioning. And yet we can be responsible and respond in whatever way is called for.

We have to learn about the particulars, and we need to engage with others. At our dharma centre in Washington, D.C., we have affinity communities: groups for people of colour where it’s safe to begin to process the effects of racism, and also white affinity groups. I recently completed a year-long white-awareness group that deeply impacted my self-understanding and attunement to others. We need to be in spaces where it is safe to speak our truths and examine the identities that have accrued, and then, as we grow more mature and able to speak from wisdom, we need to be with each other in mixed racial groups. We need to be able to name where the hurts are; to be able to name our sorrows and fears; to not be afraid of anger. So often in Buddhist communities, anger is considered bad, but anger is a part of the weather systems that move through our psyches. We have to make room for these emotions, and there are wise ways to do that.

So we’ve got to engage with each other. White people need to be in solidarity with those who have been suffering from white dominance. We need to get on their team — not in order to help out “the other” but because it frees us all. This means that rather than simply trying to bring people of colour to our centres, we transform our culture. We extend ourselves by building authentic relationships with people of colour and, by engaging as allies, actively support initiatives that undo racism in our society.

Recently I was part of a mixed-race teaching team at a Buddhist retreat that was historic in the extent of its diversity. On opening night, when I looked around and saw that nearly half of the people in attendance were people of colour when I felt that richness of being together and the shared intention to wake up, I started to cry. Everything in me knew This is the community I want to belong to.

What heals us? What helps awaken us to that space of beloved community? The dharma will do it. The more we pay attention, the more we’ll recognise the trance of separation and, from a deep longing for connection and freedom, start examining the causes. But that desire needs to become intentional; we have to want to understand the landscape of what has happened in this country and what’s actually shaping our own limited sense of identity. We need to ask ourselves, “What is it that I’m not seeing?” And if we sincerely want to know the answer — if we want to wake up — we will open our eyes and our hearts. We will begin to free ourselves from the suffering of separation, act in ways that serve the healing of racism, and discover the blessings of realising our true belonging with each other.

Tara Brach 2

If your fears are never
faced and transformed,
they will always haunt you.

Paradoxically, you continue
to attract what you fear
by retaining aversion to it.

— Shilashanti

Lotus 261.

見性與見本體有什么區別?明心見性的境界是怎么樣的?
慧律法师

見性就是見到不生不滅的本體,見本體就是見性,只是名相不同,境界都一樣的。見性就是我們的心。

站在體、相、用的角度來講,眾生如果不見性,他就見不到真實的體,也沒有用真心在修行,而是用意識心在修行,就是妄體,妄其實沒有體,那是妄相,執著于虛妄的假相,也就是我相、人相、眾生相、壽者相。

如果我們這顆心來自于無明,那么,我們就我相、人相、眾生相、壽者相、山河大地相、鳥獸蟲魚相、宇宙萬有萬相,統統是執著,是來自一顆無明的心。

從作用方面來說,就是妄用,就是能所不斷,追求五欲六塵,追求男女的感情,而不是追求智慧。

看看哪裡有什么好吃的?哪裡有什么好玩的?無明所發出來的,就跟五欲六塵的魔的心相應,執著于五欲六塵就會越走越偏,不能了生死的。

明心見性就是:明本心見本性。

本心是什么呢?本心就是佛心。

本性是什么呢?本性就是我們的本體,就是不生不滅的本體。

如果用明心見性的這顆心來修行,下手處統統是畢竟空,畢竟空就能夠了悟無念、無相、無住。

無念:大徹大悟的人沒有妄念,沒有執著的念頭,沒有分別的念頭,沒有愚痴的念頭, 沒有無明的念頭,內心充滿著智慧。

無相:大徹大悟明心見性的人,了悟諸法都是妄相,所以,他們心中無相,不著于相。簡單講,離一切相則萬法皆如。

我們之所以萬法不如,是因為心沒有辦法保持如如不動,不取于相。拼了老命也要執著于某一種相,而“ 相 ”在腦子裡面就是一種妄想,叫做影像。

就像看電影一樣,看了很激動,有的哭、有的笑、有的讚歎、有的悲戚,可是,電影演完了,只是一塊銀幕而已。

我們就是因為沒有見到這塊無相的銀幕,所以,誤認為銀幕上投射的影像是真的。

我們現在就是過這種日子 ── 這些假相投射到我們的清淨本性,我們對這個假相拼了老命起執著、起貪心,或者事情不順遂就起嗔恨心,其實是同一顆心,同一個清淨心。

我們的清淨心如果沒有開採出來,那用的統統是妄心,就沒辦法達到無相,二六時中統統有相。

無住:《金剛經》裡面講: “ 應無所住,而生其心。 ”我們應當對一切相不執著,對一切法也不執著,就是我們今天所修的這個法,也沒有東西可以執著,只是方便利用這句佛號來打破無明,來開智慧;利用誦經、持咒來打破無明,來開智慧。

所以,任何的法門都必需回歸到本心和本性,這個叫做根本。

應無所住,而生其心,意思是說應當對一切相無所執著,而生清淨心,凡所有相,皆是虛妄,瞭解當體即空。

Every possible thing is nothing more than our mind – seek truth abroad is the functioning of our intellect confused. All appearances are essentially empty, as in a dream. And the mind is not equal to the movement of memory and ideas. No inherent nature, it is similar to wind energy and how is empty in essence, it is similar to heaven.

— Maitripa

Essential Elements of Buddhist Practice
by Khenchen Konchok Gyaltsen Rinpoche

Generally speaking, whatever we say, study or practice in Buddhism is a method to bring harmony and peace into our minds. No matter what angle you study them from, that is the effect of the teachings. There are many different methods and explanations on how we can approach the goal, but they all approach the same goal. This is because understanding and training the mind is the principal subject that we work with.

Yet, the mind is a very hidden subject that is difficult to see and difficult to know. It has no form, colour, or shape; there is nothing we can grasp or hold. It is something like putting your hand in the water – you feel something, but when you close your hand you get nothing. Mind is like that.

We are taken by the power of our habitual tendencies. Even if we know what to do, even if we know how to follow the path, sometimes the mind does not allow us to go in that direction. It takes us to the wrong place without choice. Therefore, mental training becomes very important.

As we know, the mind is the foundation of everything of both samsara or nirvana. Samsara is the creation of mind and nirvana is the creation of mind. The basic reality of the mind is pure. But when we fail to recognise that purity, the sense faculties become involved with objects: the eye sees something; the ear hears something; the nose smells something, and the mouth tastes something. Consciousness becomes attached to those sense objects and the afflicting emotions of the mind, the “I,” results. If something is good, we like it and feel some kind of happiness and want to get more. When we don’t like something, we react negatively and try to get rid of it. This is all interdependence. This is the state of samsara.

All of this, every bit, is a manifestation of emptiness. Emptiness gives manifestation to all faculties and conditions. However, we fail to recognise them as such and attempt to maintain them by keeping them in the mind. Even if we sometimes recognise them as being manifestations of emptiness, our habitual tendencies don’t allow us to maintain that state.

So now, enlightenment is when we purely see that nature, see what it is, maintain that state, and carry the path within emptiness. Emptiness also manifests this clarity and good qualities. All of these things, whatever is manifested from emptiness, does not exist inherently. The enlightened state is realising that the nature of all is emptiness. From that emptiness, everything manifests. Phenomena come and go. Do not attach to them or reject them – just accept them for what they are without involving anger or attachment.

This is why the study of illusory body becomes necessary. We do not turn phenomena into the illusion, rather, we recognise how everything appears as an illusion. Everything comes and goes. On the other hand, in samsara, when we see these things we grasp them and consider them real. When we like something we attach to it, grasp it, and crave it. When we don’t like something, we fight it and suffering results. We go back and forth, and fear comes from that. This process is also interdependent.

All virtue has a base, a foundation. Non-virtue has no base or foundation. So if we exert effort, we will have a very good foundation to realise the illusory reality of all phenomena. Samsara has no ground. It is confused. When there is no confusion, there is no samsara. That is the reality of all phenomena.

The earth is based in space; without space, this earth cannot exist. This earth manifests from space. This understanding is basic to our study, we have to know about it. It is the mode of existence of all phenomena. As I have often said, no matter from which angle we study, everything is in that mode of abiding, a manifestation of emptiness and space.

Whatever is constituted is the background, the foundation. The final foundation is the view that the mind is limitless. There can be no end to knowledge. However much we study and read – even hundreds of books – there is still more to know and understand. That shows that the mind is limitless. If mind were limited, after some time then we would not be able to know more, there would not be any space to know more. Yet, as I mentioned, our mind consistently leads us back to our old path, the samsaric state. This subject is the general idea of the study and practice of Buddhist philosophy. This is the reason we put our time and energy into this subject.

We are confused because of our ignorance. Through that ignorance, we become attached. Through that attachment, fear arises. And we supposedly do all these things to achieve peace and happiness! In samsara, the more happiness and joy we have, the more suffering arises. For example, when you have a new house, you may need a special security system because you fear that someone will break-in. We have home insurance, car insurance, all kinds of insurance because we have fear. First, we attach to something and then become fearful of losing it. Eventually, there is no final protection. When the time comes, we have to go through death and loss. There is no protection. No matter how you are protected, even with nine iron walls, still you are not really safe. When the time comes, the walls will crash. It is like a child’s game. Basically, we are all like that – those who are protecting us are themselves not protected.

These problems all come from the primary base of ignorance. Through that ignorance, we see things as real. From that comes the reaction of liking or disliking. What we like we become attached to, so we crave and grasp it. When obstacles come, the reaction of dislike arises. To protect ourselves from that object of aversion, we make all that insurance. But it only brings suffering, a deep, profound suffering from which it is difficult to escape.

Buddhism is the study of the mind, the practice of the mind and the cultivation of the mind to attain enlightenment. It is a method to directly realise the limitless nature of mind which pervades the whole universe. In the bodhisattva’s path, there are many ways to train in this, many practices.

First is equalising oneself and others. We need to meditate on this: I and all sentient beings are not different. Everyone who likes peace and happiness is equal. Everyone who doesn’t like suffering is equal. We are not different whether we can communicate or not, whether we are scholars or not.

Some people are very selfish, but they want peace and happiness. It is because they want peace and happiness that they become selfish. Through selfishness, they hope to have more peace. So do wise people. Bodhisattvas sacrifice all for other people, but they also are working to establish peace and happiness. We all basically wish to establish peace and happiness. Whether we are working with the based in the correct way or the wrong way, our intention is to attain peace and happiness. This is equalising practice. We need to keep it in mind.

Sometimes, we can help other people; sometimes we cannot help them. Regardless of whether we can help or not, they want peace and happiness. We don’t know whether they will get it. As I mentioned, sometimes different experiences present us with a special method to awaken the mind. Sometimes they show us what is not the right way and indicate that we should try a different way.

First, open your mind and heart to all other beings and establish the universal mind through the equalising practice. There is no particular special “universal mind” but doing this is called establishing the universal mind. In other words, recognise that the quality of our mind is limitless and that it can reach all sentient beings. Recollect that and meditate on it.

Second is the practice of exchanging oneself and others. This practice reduces our pride and jealousy. We may think, “I am a special person” and there may be some cause for pride because of our qualities, education, wealth, or for many other reasons. But because of that pride, we may become jealous of a person’s good qualities if they become better than or equal to us. At that time, we exchange ourselves and the other.

Having pride will not bring peace or happiness. Put that person in your place. Place that person in your mind and meditate how you feel about your good qualities and how it feels to be proud and happy. The other person feels the same way about having good qualities or happiness. So what’s the difference? This is called “walking in someone else’s shoes,” isn’t it?

When someone else has peace, happiness, or virtuous qualities, rejoice. Rejoicing is a very special practice. You don’t have to do anything, just rejoice and you will receive great benefit in this life, but much more in the future.

Exchanging is a very important practice. It reduces fear and attachment. These two are very close cronies of ignorance and they manipulate all our suffering. They are very close to each other as well. Through the practice of exchanging, they are reduced and become powerless. This practice brings peace and harmony in our own minds and even in our families. In the family, when there is an arrogant person, he can destroy all the peace in that family and get everyone agitated. When we all are considerate and respectful of others, peace and harmony will naturally be present.

Through this Dharma instruction, we can gain more understanding of how to bring about peace and happiness. Whether you are in a family or another group, you may exchange your good place and things and share them with others by taking their difficulties. Others will respect you more, even if you don’t need or want the respect. People will rely on you and trust you more. Is this not a universal law?

Third is the practice of cherishing others more than yourself. This is, of course, more difficult but we should practice it anyway. Take the point of view of the majority. You are one person. Sacrificing the majority for one person is not right because it brings suffering to many. Sacrificing oneself for others, the majority, is right because it brings peace and happiness. This practice is often mentioned in the Bodhicaryavatara. You, the embodiment of ego, are put on one side and all other sentient beings are put on the other side. Which is more important?

When we investigate carefully in this way, it is very obvious that all sentient beings are more important. Sacrificing sentient beings for one person is not right. This person who is the embodiment of ego, ignorance, and pride is subject to be sacrificed for the benefit of all sentient beings.

The body is the basis of all suffering. Because of that, we meditate in these ways to transform and uproot ignorance and confusion – the root cause of all suffering.

Khenchen Konchok Gyaltsen Rinpoche 16.

Detachment doesn’t mean “throw it away” or “don’t have feelings about it.” It definitely does not mean denying or obstructing the mind’s natural tendency to project. Imagine you are about to go into a cotton factory. Before entering you pour glue all over your body, and then you demand, “I don’t want any cotton balls to stick to my body, but I won’t remove the glue from my body either.” Then you enter the cotton factory. Of course, the glue, by its nature, makes cotton balls stick to you. In meditative language, that kind of stickiness is called deliberation or fabrication, and here we call it the state of non-detachment. The state of non-detachment is when you get entangled and you make the story line similar to that of a daytime soap opera in which four characters go on for twenty years. It keeps on multiplying and you exaggerate the situation. You create a state in your mind that is full of grasping, clinging, and attachment.

— Khandro Rinpoche