Without an inside, without an outside, awareness arisen of itself, as wide as the sky, beyond size, beyond direction, beyond limits – This utter, complete openness: Space, inseparable from awareness. Within that birthless, wide-open expanse of space, phenomena appear – like rainbows, utterly transparent. Pure and impure realms, Buddhas and sentient beings, are seen, brilliant and distinct.

— Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol

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In order to attain buddhahood ourselves, we practice the Dharma teachings that come from the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion. Dharma is the path, the key method to dispel our confusion. The Buddha said, “Dharma is good at the beginning, good in the middle, and good at the end.” The same Dharma that we study right from the beginning, we practice until we achieve enlightenment. We shouldn’t think, “I’ve already learned this, I need something new.” The Buddha taught his monks, “The new monks who arrived today should study and practice the same as the monks of a hundred years old have been studying and practicing. Those who are one hundred years old should study and practice the same as the monks who arrived today.” Simply put the teaching is to avoid all nonvirtuous, unwholesome thoughts and deeds. Perfectly tame your mind this way. This is the core of the Buddha’s teaching.

— Khenchen Konchok Gyaltsen Rinpoche

So What Is Mind?
by Gelek Rimpoche

Mind is something that governs our activities. With everything we do, we follow our thoughts. I develop thoughts, thinking, “I’d like to get up”, so following that thought I get up. My thought will say, “I should walk” and then I walk. A thought will say, “Sit” and I sit. A thought will say, “Hit” and I will hit. A thought will say, “Eat” and I will eat. We are not robots, however, look at all our activities and we see it is thought that pushes us. Even the subject we study and analyse, even when we analyse the brain, our thoughts will direct us in that. Our thoughts are directing us. That’s why thoughts are really important. You cannot deny that.

Now the question is whether there is something called thoughts completely separate from the brain cells, neurons or whatever. That I don’t know. But there definitely are thoughts. Not only that, but for me, there is mind – and that is also gross mind and subtle mind. And there is a very subtle mind too. When I talk about gross and subtle mind, you will have some idea. So I am thinking of something even much more subtle. When I use “subtle mind”, it is the mind that continuously remains within us – from a previous life to the in-between life to the present life to the in-between life to the future lives.

You may think, “Hey, it must be permanent”. But no, it is impermanent. An earlier Tibetan master in America, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche used the terminology: Continuation of Discontinuity. Some people will describe it like a mala and the mala’s thread. Some people talk about it like ice cubes touching each other while melting and stuck to each other.

Subtle mind is so subtle. It has no idea and no knowledge of right or wrong. It has no idea or knowledge of light or dark. It is so subtle, just capable of growing. It is the continuation of capability; nothing physical, right from the beginning. It is sort of a capability, to be able to grow. So this is like expansion and contraction, and expansion and contraction, and so forth. Like that, it has the capability of growing in detail and functioning. It is capable of reducing and withdrawing to such a subtle level that you are not even sure it is there. It is a very, very subtle thing.

There was a Buddhist school called “Mind Only”. Whether they are right or wrong is a different subject, but mind is that important. And that is where we are. Whether we are going up or down, whether we will succeed in our life and the life after or not, all depends on this mind.

So the mental work is the most important contemplative work. The mental work is the most important spiritual work, because it makes a huge difference. So that’s what I will talk about with you.

What I want you to keep in mind – see I said “mind” again, because I presume you have a mind – is the mind as a basis and how it is and what it is. It accepts suggestions. It perceives ideas. It picks them up like photo print. And it keeps it, it becomes part of it. That’s why many people say, “Think about the positive and you will become positive. Don’t think of the negative, otherwise you will become negative.” This is important.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become action. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think we become.” That’s what Mrs. Thatcher said [in the movie “Iron Lady”]. All of you who are watching and listening are liberal-minded. So Mrs. Thatcher was a little conservative and even she thought that there are thoughts and that they make things different!

Unless you reflect on the truth of suffering to the point of actually becoming revolted by cyclic existence, your desire to attain liberation will be mere words, and whatever you do will lead to origins of further suffering.

— Lama Tsongkhapa

离境界 去执着
如孝法师

那种境界要挈合起来。气太沉。要主动去调节,不要让心在这上面贪住。要让心住下来,不是压心。身体还没有净化,没有适应。当身体净化的时候,心会很专注,很有力。你的心太疲软了。有力的心不是勇猛的,勇猛是暴躁的心,踊跃的心。这是安稳的心。就好象一个人,身体非常好的时候,精力会很充足,否则的话,身体就会透支。

在用功的时候看到光或其他景象不要去关照它。那只是身体的色法,它不是干扰,因为你注意它了,它才成了干扰。心要用在你的功夫上,它是客体,不是主体。它都是你的心的作用,都是假的。它也不是魔,它出现是正常的,是过去的影子,不要管它。就算真的佛菩萨现身有能怎么样?就是这样对待。真的佛菩萨来把你看一眼有能怎么样?他有把你带不去。他要是让你干什么,那都是自己的心的分别意识,菩萨不让你给他效忠。

心是很微细的,千变万化,所以阿赖耶识如瀑流。华严的境界都有根,是恒常法。我们的境界都没有根,是生灭法。它来源与坚固的戒,坚固的愿。过去的华严境界也不是现在的华严境界。法无定法,这个时候,金刚经就起作用了。每个人的法界都不一样,所以叫重重无尽。哪怕是成就了,每个人的信、德、本源都不一样。今天这个日子是不会重复的。所谓的本源实际上是没有本源。不管你是在烦恼界还是在智慧界,它都是如是地以运动而存在。究竟法界不落言诠,不是我们想象的。

同一个温度,我们人能承受,也许动物就承受不了;有的环境,其他生物能承受,我们人不能承受。我们的分别只是向外,没有向内,所以叫妄。不管是可思议的境界,好事不可思议的境界,都是执着。有时候有求,你还知道有个求;有时候,它比求还微细。坚固的执,执比求还微细。这都是惯性而已,它没有好还是坏。你要抓住它的纲就不复杂。佛法这些事情搞不清楚不要紧,我们就是有好多担心,以为搞清楚怎样,搞不清楚又怎样,就好象猫永远抓不住自己的尾巴。当你放下的时候,它就离你那么远。

读书要有个纲,然后再往里添。如果观点相违背,就要看它两个的共同点在哪里,就要去参。要参它对在什么地方,不对在什么地方,看它是从哪个角度看问题,你要还原它,才能对你有裨益,才能吸取一些东西,要不就死在名言下。看经也要这样,佛陀的智慧就象海洋一样,我们能吃的毕竟太少。不懂的地方要画个问号,慢慢参一参。在修法上也不可以太执着。比如我要坐多常时间,要达到什么效果,那个就不对。要用平常的心态去做。法是平等的,不能去挑拣,这也是很强的一种分别。无我,法自然现前。

禅宗不是学来的,禅宗在个人。南老师的成就那么大,培养的弟子那么多,哪个跟他一样?虚云老和尚是跟谁学的?禅宗是很特殊的。离开禅堂,你都不知道禅法是怎么修的。唐宋的禅是不可想象的,后来的禅都落于见地。都因人而异,每个人悟道的因缘都不一样。但有一个共同点,那就是道心很切,心非常清净。禅宗成就的人无非是自己逼出来的,他发心大,没有这几项,禅宗想成就不可能,无非是种点因。禅宗那些大德的风骨,你看不到,前无古人,后无来者。破山祖师站在山顶参禅,今天不开悟,我就从这跳下去。后来的人没开悟也悟了,哪位大德印证一下。后人把前人的话语、机锋当作究竟的,去和别人一比高低,都不知古人是怎么修的,你说他能悟个什么道?特别是禅法,法门是很高峻的,但是,也是最容易出大我慢的。禅法本身是从心性上来的,心性乱了以后,到了色法再乱,这个臭皮囊的元气就已经坏了,再想悟道就难了。在法上没有正愿,这个很麻烦。在法上来讲,他是过去有那种邪因,所以在见地上一定要小心。

普贤愿是大乘的心印,它和我们的本性是相应的。诸法无我,诸心无常。现在的因缘都不足,多发愿,自己要坚持。入了境界,自己的心就认同,是很麻烦的。有的人在境界上迷,有的人在见地上迷,有的人在信仰上迷,都不正,很难突破,突破我执。

得到一个传承是很难的,我们的根基怎么样是很实在的,得到一个传承一生你都可以依靠。加持这一部分是不可思议的,只有相应才能得到。加持是很快的,但加持不是没有源头的,我们无时不在接受烦恼执着的加持,所以我们的心老静不下来。你的心清净才能加进来,加进来我们的心显现出来就是能持。这是事相上的,不是理上的,它唯一的区别是无我和执着。

《上师文集》多诵诵会得到加持,那本来是一个修法次第,涉及的面很广,是老法王对佛法心门的 ,主要还是他的愿力。经教都是配合行法的。《唯识》比较偏于心理学,是先立后破,唯识的意也是离言诠的。

先行持后去矫正。真正把佛教总摄起来的是华严,普贤是把华严摄起来的。事事不离般若,华严是从事法界说起的,是唯识的一个依靠点,但唯识没有将它阐发。藏区的人学唯识的人很少,藏人是以信为入。信就是信佛菩萨的愿,真正的本性没办法入,愿是他的体现。入了法界头头是道,没有一事不是佛法,入不了法界,怎么样都不对。它是不可思议解脱境界。一切季节都没有错,错的是自己的执着,所以你就不要执着了。

Not one single difficulty to work for other sentient beings
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

In order to develop compassion for all living beings, we need to understand all the sufferings of all the different beings in samsara, their different types of sufferings. So we have to meditate that it is all in the nature of suffering. Then we can develop compassion for every living being. Otherwise our compassion is very limited.

Our compassion is limited if it’s only for poor people, only for sick people, only for human beings who are dying. Therefore we need to learn the different types of sufferings. We need to meditate on that and then we feel it is unbearable for ourselves to experience those sufferings. When that happens to us, then we feel compassion for others.

For example, when we have AIDS, then we will feel compassion for other people who have AIDS. We feel that is so unbearable. People who have AIDS, they feel it is so unbearable that other people have AIDS. That’s because they have AIDS and they don’t want to experience that, they know about the life with AIDS.

That’s why in the stages of the path, first we have to have the realisation, renunciation of samsara. Then we see the unbearable suffering of others. Then there, compassion arises. After that, great compassion, feeling how unbearable other sentient beings’ suffering is, and taking responsibility on ourselves, that we want to free them from all the suffering. That’s how compassion arises.

That leads to bodhicitta, taking responsibility, thinking, “I will do it by myself alone. I will free the sentient beings from all the suffering and causes, and bring them to ultimate happiness. Not just temporary, but ultimate happiness, especially the highest, the ultimate happiness, enlightenment. Therefore I need to be enlightened.” The bodhicitta arises like that.

By having this realisation of bodhicitta, we enter the path. Then we can complete the two types of merit — the merit of wisdom and the merit of virtue — and we can achieve full enlightenment, the cessation of all the mistakes of mind, not only all the sufferings, but all the mistakes of mind. We can accomplish all that, the completion of all the qualities.

And then we’re able to do perfect work, without the slightest mistake, with no frustration, no difficulty, not one single difficulty to work for other sentient beings. Just as the sun rises — there’s one sun that rises, and the minute the sun rises, the reflection goes to every drop of water, every ocean, even the smallest water dew, a drop of water, anything that has no cover, the reflection comes immediately. How much water in the world — water dew, ocean, water spring, pond, lake — the sun’s reflection is just there. There’s no motivation for the sun, “Oh, I’m going to reflect in all this water.”

Like that, once we achieve enlightenment, then [we can do] everything simultaneously, spontaneously — working for sentient beings, benefiting others, doing service for others, without the slightest difficulties, spontaneously, without any mistake.

Therefore, we need to do meditation, together with the busy life, work. We need to do meditation, [keeping] the continuity, developing compassion, with continuity keeping the mind in that.

Also when we live the life with that mind, with that compassion, when we meditate in the morning — when we generate the motivation, the compassion, in the morning, and we do meditation on that — then we live the rest of the life with that. The rest of the day, we do things with that. That helps so much, that helps.

When we do the work with compassion, it makes so much difference in our life, like earth and sky. There is so much peace and happiness, our mind is not tight, uptight, and there is so much peace and happiness. There’s no barrier between ourselves and the other person, the other sentient being.

Because of our compassion, we feel others in our heart. We feel others are close to us. We feel that in our heart, then others also feel we’re close to them. When we feel they’re close to us, they also feel we’re close to them. So it’s like family.

Until you perfect the power of inner realisation’s noble qualities, it is inappropriate to tell whomever you meet the stories of your spiritual experiences. Keep your mouth shut.

— His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche