To develop concentration, I must reduce my ambitions and activities. To reduce my ambitions, I must have few desires. To have few desires, I must be satisfied with simple food, clothing, and shelter. Whatever possessions I may have, I will not be attached to them. If I do not have possessions, I will consider destitution a support for my practice. Whatever happens, I shall be content.

— Jetsun Taranatha

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Whatever feeling has an essential characteristic that is agreeable in nature can never also take on one that is disagreeable in nature. It is through some other aspect that the Āryas discredit those [pleasant feelings], so that they will take on a disagreeable quality. For example, they will regard them as the abode of heedlessness, as requiring great exertion to acquire, as undergoing change, and as impermanent.

— Vasubandhu

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At no time throughout the beginningless succession of lifetimes has there ever been an actual birth. There has only been the appearance of birth. There has never been actual death, only the transformation of appearances like the shift from the dream state to the waking state . . . throughout the beginningless succession of lifetimes there has never been any actual experience of transition or going from one state to another, or any actual experience of being located in some other place. This is analogous to the images in a dream.

— Longchenpa

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Son, listen. These are the characteristics of devils. That which is called ‘devil’ is not some actual great big black thing that scares and petrifies whomever sees it. A devil is anything that obstructs the achievement of freedom. Therefore, even loving and affectionate friends become devils [with regard to] freedom. Most of all, there is no greater devil than this fixation to a self. So until this ego-fixation is cut off, all the devils wait with open mouths. For that reason, you need to exert yourself at a skillful method to sever the devil of ego-fixation. As adjuncts, there are three devils that are born from ego-fixation; thus we have the four devils that must be severed. These are their names: Devil of the Material and Devil of the Immaterial; Devil of Exaltation and Devil of Inflation. Those are the four devils of ego-fixation.

— Machig Labdrön

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This self-knowing cannot possibly form thoughts. Without conceptualizing ‘a mind,’ since it is not something to be conceived, this original wakefulness, cognizant yet thought-free, is like the wisdom of the Tathagata. Therefore, it is taught, “Realize that luminous mind is the mind of original wakefulness, and don’t seek an enlightenment separate from that.”

— Naropa

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Outwardly, relax clinging to objects! Inwardly, give up clinging to the body! Secretly, loosen clinging to mind! Tighten with intensity, and then gently relax! The tightening is the method, and the loosening is the wisdom! Introduction to the nature of mind by the Lama is like that, as well!

— Mahasiddha Padampa Sangye

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The structures, the various formats and techniques, as well as the inspiration and guidance of teachers, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas, are support that we can always benefit from. As long as we need that support, there is no end to it and it is always there. We meet great teachers and masters. we listen to the teachings, we study and reflect. Everyone tries to meditate in his or her own way. Nevertheless, as long as we rely on purely external support and do not really work at the level of our own mind and our own heart, there is not much benefit.

— Khandro Rinpoche

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