Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression. We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous. We experience joy in the actual act of giving something. And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given.

— Buddha

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We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

— Buddha

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The origin of all demons is in the mind. When awareness holds on and embraces any outer object, it is in the hold of a demon.

— Machig Labdrön

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In terms of ghosts and demons, the origin of so called ghosts and demons are the appearances or conceptual thoughts. Conceptual thoughts originate from literally clinging to an ‘I’; clinging to this idea of ‘I’ being the centre of everything. The tangible and intangible demons originate because of one’s conceptual thoughts. These are all kinds of delusions. In a way, it is easy to say ‘Do not have conceptual thoughts. These are demons, period.’ That would be very, very easy to say, but when it comes to practice, one has to do it step by step.

To use a good example as to how to reduce or eliminate these things, the best example probably would be the steps taken by Milarepa. Follow each and every story and try to learn between the lines and as well as the deeper and more profound meanings that each story carries. Milarepa says that – of all the powerful demons, conceptual thoughts, to me is the most destructive. It is also said when you have the own Buddha nature, it is clean, it is pristine, it is spotless it is just like a mirror. When that is tainted the out of this taintedness arise all kinds of different demons. Even if you are a deity if your mirror is clouded, if your mirror is tainted you are no longer a deity. Then it is all about when our state of mind being the mirror is tainted or not.

— Garchen Rinpoche

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If we look like Buddhists and talk like Buddhists and sit on a cushion like the other Buddhists, then we think we are automatically followers of the Buddha’s teachings. But all these concepts are cutting us off from the utter simplicity of the Buddha’s example and message. We do what we do simply to wake up, simply to be free. Any form we use is only a support of accomplishing that purpose. We could be perfect in the performance of a thousand rituals, and they could all be empty of all meaning or benefit if we don’t connect with our heart. If we’re not developing our awareness in our everyday life, then we’re missing the point.

— 7th Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

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Self Reflection

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When you explain or hear the teachings, if your mind and the teachings remain separate, then whatever is explained will be inconsequential. Hence, listen in such a way that you determine how these teachings apply to your mind. For example, when you want to find out whether or not there is some smudge, dirt, or whatever, on your face, you look in a mirror and then remove whatever is there. Similarly, when you listen to the teachings, your faults such as misconduct and attachment appear in the mirror of the teachings. At that time, you regret that your mind has become like this, and you then work to clear away those faults and establish good qualities.

— Lama Tsongkhapa

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