The Nature of Mind
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I have in the past explained to some of my friends that ‘mind’ is only one word, but in the Buddhist practice, many different states of consciousness or minds are realised. In science, people analyse matter; they study particles and understand the nature of what they study. Then they carry out experiments. As a result, the matter which benefits us is kept, and that which is harmful and unbeneficial is simply neglected or deliberately eliminated.

In a similar way, it is worth making a thorough analysis of our inner nature here, the mind. There are a lot of different minds, hundreds of thousands of different minds. Certain minds are very useful, very helpful; we should take these minds and try to improve upon them, try to develop them — further. Alternatively, when we analyse thoughts and find they are negative and realise that these bring us suffering, then we should take these minds, these thoughts, and try to find some remedy for them as would a scientist — that is worthwhile.

So you see, the Buddhist technique, the practice of the Buddhadharma, can be likened to opening up the skull and carrying out experiments on these small selves — finding out which selves bring happiness and which bring disturbance and then giving some remedy if necessary. Why? Because we want happiness! We do not want disturbances, we do not want embarrassment, we do not want mental restlessness.

Shantideva mentioned these inner enemies. So long as these inner enemies remain, comfortably, then it is very dangerous. Shantideva goes on to say that even if all the people around were to stand up against us, as long as we have control of our own minds, they will not be able to disturb our peace. However, a single moment of delusion within our minds would have the power to disturb it. And then Shantideva talks about the difference between an ordinary enemy and delusion. If we relate to an ordinary enemy favourably, with understanding on our part, we will be able to change that enemy into a friend. But if we try to relate to delusion and make friends with it, it will do us harm. And the more we try to make friends with delusion, the more harm it will do us.

In my experience, training can change the harmful mind. In Tibet there is a saying, ‘People who come from Amdo are short-tempered.’ Losing one’s temper, therefore, is equivalent to saying one is showing signs of being an Amdo. And, you see, I come from that part of the world! Since being fifteen or twenty, my mood or mental function has obviously undergone some change. These days hardly any irritation comes, very little. Even if it does sometimes come, it quickly disappears. And that is due to my own effort and training. The result is a marvellous benefit — I’m always happy. I lost my country. As a human being, I rely on friends, but I have lost my mother and my tutors. I have some new tutors now, some new gurus. However, most of my old tutors are gone. Old faces disappear; new faces come. Yet I am always happy, without problems, because I can see the way life is.

As long as we are under the domination of ignorance, there is no permanent happiness; that’s natural. If we are really disturbed by the way life is, then our responsibility is to look for salvation, nirvana. Suppose a monk says our direction is towards nirvana, and that if we can, we should implement those methods that bring us towards nirvana. In my case there’s not a lot of time, so it is difficult. And another thing is my laziness! Lazy Dalai Lama! Lazy Tenzin Gyatso!

But thinking about these teachings or these advisors as much as possible, we can see that disturbances take the form of superficial phenomena. Things come like ripples on the water — something comes and then it passes, and then another trouble starts — comes, goes, comes, goes, comes, goes. Consciousness is beginningless and endless. And phenomena never change that basic nature. We should realise this and take it easy, and this will give us some peace; we shall get some peace. That is ‘Bishop’ Tenzin Gyatso’s way of thinking! My own experience is that the mind can be trained, can be changed — that is definite.

Shantideva explains in the text here [Bodhisattvacharyavatara| that, in order to over-come ordinary enemies, you need strength and weapons and so on, whereas in order to overcome the enemy. within, delusion, you need to develop wisdom and realise the nature of phenomena; then you don’t need any other weapon. or strength. This is very true. Actually, when I received the teaching, the oral transmission, from Khunu Lama Rinpoche, I remarked that the Bodhisattyacharyavatara says that delusion is humble and weak, ‘But,’ I said, ‘this is not true because it’s very forceful and strong.’ And Khunu Lama Rinpoche immediately responded by saying that we don’t need an atom bomb in order to overcome delusion. And that is the meaning here: in order to destroy the inner enemy, we don’t need weapons. We simply need to develop firm determination and wisdom, some realisation of the nature of mind, the nature of negative thought, the nature of phenomena.

Once we realise the nature of mind and concentrate on it, and once that knowledge, that wisdom, becomes part of us, then it works. So, in a way, it’s easy and very cheap! Unless you are a millionaire or billionaire, you can’t buy external weapons, can you? Shantideva spoke in this way.

Shantideva brought out another point, another advantage, in his comparisons between the external and internal enemy. Even when you destroy the external enemy, that may not be the real enemy; the real enemy may try on another occasion to fight again. But now, once you realise the nature of the inner enemy and destroy it, then it will never come back, so it is a permanent solution.

Buddha of Compassion

Buddha of Compassion

Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma
see no Dharma in everyday actions.
They have not yet discovered that there are
no everyday actions outside of Dharma.

— Dogen

Dogen 1.
















Khenpo Sherab Zangpo Rinpoche (希阿荣博堪布) 33..jpg

When you are still, the demons are still;
When you are pacified, the demons are pacified;
And when you are tamed, the demons are also tamed,
The demon is your own demon and cutting through it pacifies yourself.

— Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche


Angulimala Sutta: How a ruthless killer became an Arhat
Source: KMSPKS

Angulimala Sutta tells the story of one of Buddha’s great disciples, Venerable Angulimala. His story was a dramatic one where he transitioned from a diligent and righteous student, to a ruthless killer, and finally to a compassionate, enlightened Arhat.


Angulimala was born Ahimsaka, meaning harmless. He was born to Bhaggava Gagga, a Chaplain in the court of King Pasenadi (Kingdom of Kosala), and Mantani, his mother. Bhaggava looked for an astrologer to chart Ahimsaka’s birth as all the weapons in town shone on the day of his birth. The astrologer explained that Ahimsaka was born under the bandits’ constellation. Bhaggava reported this to King Pasenadi as the king had witnessed the strange sight on that day of Ahimsaka’s birth. The king decided to let Ahimsaka live after knowing that he will be a lone bandit.

Growing up, Ahimsaka was an intelligent, gentle and loving child. He was sent to Taxila to study under a well-known teacher, and became well-liked by his teacher. The other students became jealous and began plotting to poison the teacher’s mind. The teacher’s mind was eventually poisoned, and he demanded a sacrificial offering from Ahimsaka under the Brahminic tradition, where a student is required to gift the teacher. He demanded an offering of a thousand human “angulis” (fingers), each to be taken from a different human being. Ahimsaka was shocked by his teacher’s demand, and tried to plead with his teacher to spare him from hurting or taking lives. His pleas were to no avail as his teacher insisted on the offering he had asked for.

Ahimsaka was caught in a great dilemma between being grateful to his teacher and having to take lives. His teacher persuaded him that once the offering is fulfilled, Ahimsaka would be pardoned of all sins. Thus, he began killing near Jalini Forest, and collected a finger from each victim. He became known as Angulimala as he wore a garland of “angulis” (fingers) around his neck to keep track of the “angulis” he had collected.


The villagers who lived near Jalini Forest feared for their lives, and went to seek audience from King Pasenadi for protection from Angulimala. King Pasenadi dispatched an army of soldiers to hunt down and capture Angulimala. Angulimala’s mother heard of this, and went to find her son to warn him about it.

On that very day, the Buddha was surveying the world, and through His “divine eye” saw that Angulimala had 999 “angulis”. Agulimala was desperate to seek a thousandth which will cause him to kill his own mother, thereby committing matricide. The Buddha knew that Angulimala was a virtuous person who was misguided by his teacher. Thus, the Buddha decided to find Angulimala before his mother could reach him as He was certain that Angulimala can become a noble and righteous person again through loving-kindness and compassion.

Angulimala saw his mother before the Buddha reached him, and decided he had no choice but to make her his 1000th victim. But the Buddha arrived then, and Angulimala felt relieved that he can make Buddha the victim instead of his mother. Angulimala ran with all his might to try to kill the Buddha who was walking away calmly, but was not able to catch up with Him. He yelled out to the Buddha asking Him to stop, and the Buddha responded that He had stopped and asked Angulimala to stop too. Angulimala was confused hearing that, and asked for further explanation from the Buddha. The Buddha said that He had stopped harming living beings, but Angulimala was still harming and hurting living beings. Hearing this, Angulimala changed his ways, ceased his life as a bandit murderer and joined the Order of the Sangha to become a disciple of the Buddha.


Venerable Angulimala experienced great difficulties when he went to ask for alms. Those who trusted the Buddha’s judgement offered alms to him, but many still feared him and hit him or closed their windows and doors when he turned up asking for alms.

One day while going on his daily alms round, Venerable Angulimala came upon a house where a pregnant mother was going through a difficult labour. Venerable Angulimala felt deep compassion for the pregnant woman, and went back to Jetvana Monastery to ask the Buddha for advice. The Buddha told him to recite this verse to the pregnant mother, “Sister, since I was born I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be well-being for you, well-being for your fetus.” After hearing this, Venerable Angulimala pointed out that it will be untrue for him to say this as he had taken lives in the past. The Buddha revised the verse to, “Sister, since I was born with the noble birth (became a monk), I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be well-being for you, well-being for your fetus”. Venerable Angulimala delivered this verse, and the woman safely gave birth to her child.

This verse was eventually called the Angulimala Paritta, a protective verse, that to this day is chanted as a blessing to pregnant women close to their time of delivery.

Verse of Angulimala Paritta

Yatohaṁ bhagini ariyāya jātiyā jāto,
Nābhijānāmi sancicca pāṇaṁ jīvitā voropetā,
Tena saccena sotthi te
Hotu sotthi gabbhassa.


When watching after yourself, you watch after others. When watching after others, you watch after yourself.

— The Buddha

Buddha 760.


一 和平的意義




二 不和(不平)的心因





三 (不和)不平的事緣



        │  \/   \/      │
        │  /\   /\      │
        │  \/   \/      │
        │  /\   /\      │

四 外緣為重的世間和平








五 著重內因的心地和平



六 內因外緣並重的究竟和平





Ven Yin Shun (印顺法师) 4.

Don’t be attached to the pool of calm abiding, but let the foliage of superior insight burst into open bloom.

— Milarepa

Milarepa (米勒日巴) 36.

by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche

Whatever karmic habits positive or negative,
We have planted in our mental stream in the past
Will cause us to take rebirths,
With happy or unhappy qualities accordingly.

Many people have a hard time believing that there will be any rebirth when the present life is over. How do we know that rebirth is possible?

Although modern science may not be able to produce definite proof to answer this question, we should not dismiss the testimony of traditional authorities in the field of spiritual practice and experience, who have investigated the truths of existence. Birth or reincarnation is a major pillar of several Eastern belief systems, and some mystical Jewish schools also accept that rebirths occur in a continuous wheel of life. Many great Buddhist masters have actually been able to remember and describe their past existences. The Buddha himself told hundreds of stories of his own past lives, in a well-known collection called the Jataka Tales. He also identified the past lives of other people.

Even ordinary men and women — of different countries, ethnicities, and religions — have spontaneously remembered their identities in past lives, the families they came from, and the towns in which they lived. Especially striking are the numerous instances of young children who have spoken in vivid detail of their past identity, even though in their present young lifetime they could never have visited their former birthplace or met anyone from there. The most famous study of children’s past-life memories was made by Ian Stevenson, M.D., who documented thousands of cases in South Asia and the Middle East over forty years, in an effort to research the subject in a scientific manner. In Tibet, there have been countless examples of dying persons predicting the names of their future parents and home town, as well as children who remember details of their previous lifetime.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, there are thousands of senior monks or priests with the title of Tulku (Tib. tulku, sPrul sku; Skt. nirmanakaya, manifested body). It is believed that a tulku is either the manifestation of a fully enlightened Buddha or the rebirth of a highly accomplished meditator. At the time of death, lamas will sometimes instruct their disciples where his or her tulku rebirth will take place. In some cases, the tulkus, when they start speaking as young children, will tell who they were in their past lives and what they wish or need to do. However, the most commonly accepted formula for recognising a tulku in Tibet, -after checking many indications, is formal recognition by another highly respected lama. Nevertheless, there are people who have wrongly been identified as tulkus by the influence of ambitious parents or other selfish interests, or just by sheer mistake.

A number of tulkus have remembered their past lives or exhibited qualities of their past incarnation. For example, my teacher, the fourth Dodrupchen Rinpoche, at the ages of three and four, amazed many people by continually telling them the place where the third Dodrupchen had lived, reciting prayers that he had not been taught, reciting unknown verses from memory, and exhibiting miracles. He also gave the description of the Pure Land of Guru Padmasambhava as he had seen it.

Even in America there is increasing acceptance of reincarnation. A Gallup Poll conducted a few years ago reported that twenty-five percent of Americans said that they believe in ‘the rebirth of the soul in a new body after death.’ The mainstream, esoteric, Western religions, however, reject the idea of reincarnation. Despite this, they generally agree with Buddhism on two important points: if you have been selfless and served others with loving-kindness, a happier condition awaits you after death — and if you have committed hateful acts and harmed other beings, you will face unpleasant consequences.

No matter what we have done up until this present moment, most religions hold out the hope of improving our future situation. Whatever name or description the various traditions use for this potential change — such as repentance, forgiveness, conversion, redemption, salvation, or liberation — it generally means that through our own intentions and efforts, combined with reliance on a sacred source of blessings, the way is open for us to uplift ourselves and others to a happier, more spiritually conscious life.

Tulku Thondup Rinpoche 9.

Like returning empty-handed from an island of precious gems, it is meaningless to ignore the sacred Dharma after having obtained a human body.

— Gampopa

Gampopa (岡波巴) 37.