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Garchen Rinpoche on WIsdom and Compassion

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 Verse 32 of the Bodhisattva Practices: "If, influenced by disturbing emotions, one points out another bodhisattva's faults, oneself is diminished. Therefore, not speaking about the faults of those who have entered the Great Vehicle is the bodhisattvas' practice."

In his Prayer to be Reborn in Dewachen, Chagme Rinpoche says that the fault of denigrating a bodhisattva is worse than any of the five deeds with immediate result. Since we do not know who is and who is not a bodhisattva, we must be extremely careful. Thus the swift path of Vajrayana teaches us to train in pure view, to recognize the buddha nature in all beings, the nature which transcends gender, race, culture and social status. In fact tantra teaches that we must even see the four elements as deities. A bodhisattva, one who acts for the welfare of sentient beings, places loving kindness, compassion, faith, and respect into the mind streams of many sentient beings. If someone denigrates such a bodhisattva, all those beings will turn away from devotion, and this becomes the cause for their plunge into the lower realms. It is important that you practice free from any bias, do not engage in separation while pretending to be a dharma practitioner.

The mind that thinks they are not good is a dirty mind. As long as you have negative thoughts in your mind, no matter how much you attempt to be pure, you cannot become pure. It is said that everything that appears and exists is all-encompassing purity, and also that within every sentient being dwells the buddha. The Secret Mantra Vajrayana teaches that the external universe is an immeasurable palace, and all the internal sentient beings are dakas and dakinis. This is how it truly is in reality. When you understand this, your mind becomes like space, very blissful and happy.

But if you hold a biased view of attachment and aversion, your mind is miserable and your will slander others. The faults or qualities other traditions may have are irrelevant, what causes harm is your own negative thought. For instance, if one gives rise to strong faith in a dog's tooth, relics will emerge from it. The dog's tooth is impure, but relics will emerge if your own mind is pure. We have to purify our own minds. We should not insult each other, but rather uphold the Buddha Dharma. The Buddha Dharma is love and compassion, and whoever possesses love and compassion upholds the Buddha Dharma. Whoever does not possess love and compassion does not uphold the Buddha Dharma. In the Buddha Dharma there is no hatred or jealousy, and if we are in the grip of hatred and jealousy we do not uphold the Dharma. It is because of such bias that we denigrate and criticize bodhisattvas.

In the Seven Verses of Protection of Tara, Lord Jigten Sumgon says, “deceived by errant dogma;” actually, it is not the dogma that is bad, but rather one's misunderstanding of it it is bad. It is through negative thoughts about others that you are “deceived.” We practitioners must clean our minds and cultivate pure view free from any bias, thinking that everyone is a buddha, all sentient beings are our parents. When your practice has developed you will not denigrate anyone, much less a bodhisattva. If one fails to benefit beings in this way, and instead transmits thoughts of attachment, aversion, pride, and misconception, one will be plunged into hell. This is a sign that a spiritual master doesn't have cultivated true wisdom. Yet for us, we must be compassionate toward all, especially toward those with inferior wisdom.

In the past you have taken on countless lives, you have assumed innumerable bodies. There is no benefit in knowing what you were in a past life. It is important to prepare for the future, to strive for enlightenment. From the ultimate perspective, past lifetimes are, in fact, illusions. On the relative level we talk about numbers and different lifetimes, but in fact there is only a single continuum of mind, that is beyond birth and death. From the perspective of mind-itself there is no past life, no present life, no future life, and no bardo. Past lives are illusions, unreal, so do not ponder over illusions. You don't have to know about them, as they only belong to the relative level, not the ultimate truth. What is important for you now is to destroy self-grasping and to see the nature of mind. Do not think about the past or the future. Do not even think about the present, do not cling to any thought. Look at your mind right now. Look at the pure natural state as it is.

Only hold on to bodhichitta, love and compassion, and nothing else, day and night. Always purify your mind by sustaining awareness of the natural state.

A person who has seen the nature of mind as it is and has gained stability in abiding in it, as they watch their mind they see the empty essence like space, unidentifiable. The nature of mind cannot be described; it is like space. Milarepa said, "When there is no difference between space and mind, that is the perfected dharmakaya." The empty space-like essence is the quality of dharmakaya. Then there is a vivid clear awareness that knows its empty space-like essence. The nature of clarity is emptiness; the nature of emptiness is clarity. They are not separate, they are non-distinct, they are the union of clarity and emptiness. The qualities of the sambogakaya arise from the nature, which is clear awareness. From the union of clarity and emptiness shines the natural radiance of compassion pervading all the reaches of space. It pervades wherever emptiness pervades. We thus say that the buddhas' compassion pervades everywhere. The all-pervasive compassion is the nirmanakaya.

Do not worry about enlightenment; the Buddha is within your mind already, ready to be seen. But because we cannot turn inward and are constantly distracted we fail to recognize the Buddha. When past thoughts have ceased and future thoughts not yet arisen, in this space between fixations, you can glimpse the nature of mind abiding like space; this is the Buddha. If you remain within this nature continuously, you are enlightened. Whenever you stop to grasp there is no cause of samsara. Whenever you begin to grasp, you have again created the cause of samsara. The Buddha is actually not somewhere far away. The Buddha is always ready to be seen. If you do not give up the fixation to a self, but try to escape from samsara by secluding your body, you will still not be liberated. If you give up the fixation to a self, while continuing to live in the world, you will be liberated.In particular when difficulties and suffering arise, do not grasp at them, let these thoughts dissolve into space. Even if there is an external so-called problem, the mind does not need to grasp. People who do not understand this sometimes commit suicide, unable to bear even the slightest problem. The Buddha is nowhere apart from your own mind.

In order to form a positive imprint in your mindstream, you should always recite a deity's mantra such as the Amitabha mantra, or play a mantra CD in your home. Think that your yidam deity always abides above your crown. Think, 'when I die it is important that my consciousness leaves through the crown and merges with Amitabha.' If you habituate this throughout your life, then even if you die suddenly, for instance in a car accident, your consciousness will merge with the yidam deity above your crown due to the habitual pattern formed when you were alive. Then you will be liberated doubtlessly even if you do not have the time to practice Phowa. Thus it is important that you repeatedly remember this for as long as you are alive.

How you overcome ordinary thoughts? You must maintain mindfulness and not grasp at whatever arises. No matter which emotion or thought arises, there is only one antidote: mindful awareness. No matter what arises, continue to remain within the natural state of mind. Neither think, 'it exists, OR 'this is how it is,' nor think, 'it doesn't exist,' OR 'this is not how it is.' Let go of all beliefs and do not hold on to anything. Only by seeing the space like unconfined nature of mind you will be able to destroy negative thoughts. In the true nature of mind there is no existence or non-existence, no this or that, no truth or untruth, no good or bad, no right or wrong. All worldly affairs seem futile when you rest in this nature, that abides like the expanse of space transcending time.

 Essential Instructions on Mahāmudra

Sanskrit: Mahāmudra Upadeshaṁ

Tibetan: Chaggya Chenpö Menngag

Homage to glorious coemergence!

    Intelligent Nāropa, forbearing of suffering, you have endured hardships and are devoted to the guru. Thus, though mahāmudra cannot be shown, take this to heart, you fortunate one! O! Look well at worldly phenomena! Dream-like and illusory, they cannot last! [But] they are not dreams or illusions in actuality. Therefore, when giving rise to disenchantment, you have insight into worldly activities. Completely severing the connections of attachment and aversion – the domain of samsarameditate alone in mountain and forest hermitages! When, through remaining in an ongoing state of non-meditation, non-attainment is attained, mahāmudra is attained. These worldly affairs are the useless causes of suffering. Look at the ultimate essential meaning [that realizes] the futility of deliberate action! The truth that transcends the intellect will not be seen by means of the intellect. The point of non-action will not be reached by means of deliberate action. If you want to achieve the point of non-action transcending thought, sever the root of mind itself and rest in naked awareness!

Leave the polluted water of conceptual thoughts in its [natural] clarity. Without affirming or denying appearances, leave them as they are. When there is neither acceptance nor rejection, (mind) is liberated into mahāmudra. For example, [if] the root of a tree with flourishing branches and foliage is cut, its ten thousand branches and hundred thousand leaves wither.

For example, even the accumulated darkness of a thousand aeons is cleared away by a single lamp flame. Similarly, an instant of the luminosity of mind itself dispels aeons of accumulated negativity and obscuration without exception. If people of inferior intelligence [can] not abide in the ultimate meaning, they [should] hold the vital point of wind energies and give up exerting [themselves] in awareness. Until you abide in the ongoing state of awareness by means of myriad gazes and [modes of] focused attention, make effort!

For example, if you examine the center of space, the one who fixates on the boundary and center ceases to be. Likewise, when you investigate the mind with the mind, the multitude of thoughts ceases and you see the nature of mind.

For example, [when] vapors from the earth or clouds disperse into space, they have gone nowhere and yet do not remain anywhere. So it is with the multitude of thoughts that arise from the mind: by seeing the mind itself, the waves of thoughts dissipate. For example, space transcends color and form. It is immutable and without a tinge of black or white. Similarly, the mind itself, beyond color and form, is untainted by the white and black phenomena of virtue and evil. For example, the clear and pure orb of the sun is not eclipsed by the darkness of a thousand aeons. Likewise, aeons in cyclic existence cannot obscure the luminous essence of mind itself.

For example, although space is labeled ‘empty,’ space itself is indescribable by such [terms]. Similarly, though the mind itself is described as ‘clear light,’ there is no basis for designating it as such through verbal expressions.

For example, in space, what is supported by what? Like (space), the mahāmudra that is mind itself has no supporting ground. Rest at ease in the uncontrived, innate continuity. When the bonds are loosened, there is no doubt of release. In that way, the nature of mind is like space. There is no phenomenon not included in that.

Completely give up physical activity and remain at ease. Without much speech, (sound) is like an echo. Without thinking, look at decisively-resolved reality. The body is insubstantial, like the hollow stalk of a reed; and the mind, like the center of space, transcends the realm of thought. Rest at ease in that state, without releasing or placing. When the mind is without a focal point, that is mahāmudra. By habituating yourself to that, unsurpassable awakening is attained. When there is no object of focus, the mind is naturally clear. When there is no path, the path of the buddhas is entered. By habituating non-meditation, unsurpassable awakening is attained.

Transcendence of all subject and object (duality) is the king of views. When there is no distraction, that is the king of meditations. When there is no deliberate effort, that is the king of conduct. When there is neither expectation nor doubt, the fruition is made manifest. The uncreated ground of all is clear of the obscuring veil of propensities. Do not engage meditation and post-meditation, [but] rest in the uncreated essence. [Thus, outer] appearances, [inner] perceptions and intellectual faculties are exhausted. The complete release of limits is the supreme king of views. Boundlessness, deep and vast, is the supreme king of meditations. Freedom from action, abiding in its own state, is the supreme king of conduct. Freedom from expectation, abiding in its own state, is the supreme king of fruitions.

To a beginner, (mind) is like a waterfall. In the middle, it flows gently, [like] the River Ganges. At the end, it is like the confluence of a stream [with the ocean] – like the meeting of mother and child. The luminosity that is mahāmudra will not be seen through expounding the [secret] mantra and parāmita [vehicles], the scripture collections including the vinaya, or even through individual philosophical scriptures and tenet systems. When you fabricate nothing in the mind and are devoid of any wish, (thoughts) are like self-arising, self-subsiding ripples in water. When a wish arises, luminosity is obscured and not perceived.

Preserving the vows conceptually, you violate the samaya on the level of ultimate meaning. If (mind) does not stray from the non-abiding, unobjectified ultimate meaning, the unimpaired samaya is a lamp in the darkness. When, devoid of any wish, you are not confined to a position, all the teachings of the scripture collections without exception will be realized. If you exert yourself in this truth, you will be freed from the prison of samsara. If you [cultivate] even meditation upon this truth, all unawareness, negativities and obscurations will be burnt away. [Thus], it is known as the lamp of the teachings. Those foolish people who are disinterested in this truth are continually carried off and wasted by the great river of cyclic existence. How sad that they [endure] the unbearable suffering of evil rebirths!

If you want release from suffering, follow a masterful guru! Becoming infused with [the guru’s) blessing, your mind will be liberated! If you rely on the action mudra, the wisdom of bliss and emptiness will arise. [Thus], unite the blessings of method and wisdom!

The [seed essence) should slowly descend, stop, reverse and spread. It should be brought to its innate abode and pervade the body.

When there is no fixation to that, the wisdom of empty bliss arises and, flourishing like the waxing moon, one [attains] longevity without greying hair. One becomes lustrous and radiant, with power like that of a lion. The common attainments will be swiftly accomplished, leading to the supreme (attainment). May fortunate wayfaring beings take to heart this essential advice on mahāmudra. On the banks of the River Ganges, this was taught to Nāropa by Lord Tilopa. May it be virtuous!

Translation by Ari Kiev

We suffer without choice. We do not want to suffer and we try everything to be happy but suffering happens regardless of our wishes, and we can't do anything about it. Why is this so? It is because we have already created the causes for suffering in the past. But where are those causes of suffering? They are within your mind right now, it is the self-centered mind and all the negative emotions that come from it. If you recognize this, you will understand that you are responsible for your suffering and that there is no one else to blame. Understanding this you will be able to tolerate difficulties and avoid more suffering in the future. If you want to be happy you must know the causes for happiness. The Buddha said, "I can show you the path to liberation, but liberation depends on yourself." Whether you are a Buddhist or not, whether you practice any religion or not, you have a mind, and temporarily all causes for happiness and suffering are within this mind.

The only cause of happiness is love and the only cause of suffering is self-grasping. If you just understand this, you have understood the workings of karma, cause and effect, perfectly. 'All suffering without exception comes from wishing for one's own happiness. The perfect Buddhas arise from the altruistic mind.' Whether you follow any religion or not, the true nature of your mind is wisdom awareness, and that is the actual Buddha. The Buddha said: "The Buddha is within all beings. Beings are only obscured my temporary stains." Whenever you let go of the false belief in a self, you will see your true nature, emptiness-compassion. Every being sees the Buddha when they see what they really are, their true nature.

What I am sharing with you are not the words of a great scholar but the words of an old father with a lot of experience. I have experienced great external hardships, having spent twenty years confined in a labor camp. You could call this 'a problem.' However, inside I truly did not experience suffering, moreover I consider my time in prison as a very beneficial time. As a boy, before I was arrested, I had faith in the Dharma but lacking practical experience, my faith was somewhat depthless. In prison I had the opportunity to actually practice, taking external hardships onto the path with patient forbearance. Not a single time did I hope to become free from prison, I lived day by day, free of hopes and fears, sending compassion to beings, relying on Tara, praying to her secretly. Having thus applied the Dharma and seen the results of practice, I gained confidence in the validity of the Dharma and my faith became deep and irreversible.

Then I thought that it would benefit others to share these experiences, and as I travel to teach, I am only sharing my heart advice based on my own experiences. It is important to gain personal experience in order to really understand the Dharma. It is important to ask: What is true happiness? Is it external or internal? Even if one is very rich and has everything one could wish for, if there is hatred in one's family, one experiences hell-like suffering. If one is poor but shares love and kindness with one's family, one experiences a pure land. Happiness can only arise from within the mind, happiness is not at all related to the external world. When the mind is disturbed, one finds suffering anywhere, even in a positive circumstance. If the mind is at peace and filled with love, one finds happiness even while surrounded by a seemingly difficult outer circumstance. "All suffering without exception comes from wishing for one's own happiness."

When you give rise to a wish to help others, your wisdom will increase. Conversely, when you maintain mindful awareness, your wish to benefit others will increase. In the beginning train your mind in the Shamata of love. Through continuous practice you will gain personal experience and you will see the effects of practice. To apply the practice again and again is the only method to be happy. If you do not abandon the wish for your own happiness and the negative emotions coming from this wish, you will never find true happiness. If you do not abandon the causes of suffering, you will have no choice but to suffer and there is nothing you can do about it. Karma is nothing that the Buddha had just invented. With his all-knowing wisdom the Buddha saw how things really are and with his compassion he showed this to us. He simply showed us that the very nature of compassion and kindness is happiness, and that the very nature of ego-grasping is suffering. The stronger our ego-grasping, the less we are able to care for others. All that the Buddha taught in the three vehicles, the Pratimoksha- Bodhisattva- and Vajrayana-vehicles, is a method to give rise to bodhichitta. These methods must be put into practice and then you must persevere in practice, but you cannot expect immediate results. Your practice is for the sake of many future lifetimes. The Buddha said, "If you would like to know where you will go next, look at your present actions." You will only be able to practice the true dharma if you trust in karma, cause and effect, and understand the preciousness of patient forbearance and love. If you do not have this as a basis, all other practice will bear not meaningful results.

The 37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 1

1: At this time when the difficult-to-gain ship of leisure and fortune has been obtained, ceaselessly hearing, pondering, and meditating day and night in order to liberate oneself and others from the ocean of cyclic existence is the bodhisattvas’ practice.


Many people do not consider the preliminaries very important, thinking that because they have read a book they already understand the eighteen leisures and fortunes and don’t have to concern themselves with them any longer. They rather move on the 'real and more profound' practices. According to Lord Jigten Sumgon the preliminaries are most profound. You will only become free from the cycle of existence, the ocean of suffering, if your whole heart wants to become free, otherwise no matter what other advanced practices you may engage in, they will not free you from suffering and in fact, they may even reinforce the ego. In the beginning you must understand the preciousness of this human incarnation and how difficult it is to obtain. Normally we ask others, 'how did you sleep last night?' And when they respond, 'I slept well,' we say, 'that's really good.' If we didn't get enough sleep, we feel sorry for ourselves.

This is a sign that the thought of the precious human life has not yet fully dawned in our mind. If it would have dawned in our mind we would feel sorry for every minute we wasted sleeping. We would not be sluggish and grouchy in the morning, but upon awakening we would remember the precious human life and feel a sense of urgency to get out of bed. Thus in the morning it is important to remember the precious human life. You may wonder how to do your daily tasks without sleep. You do not need to abandon sleep, but you should practice moderation and discipline. Furthermore, if you practice for instance the Om Ah Hung Vajra Recitation as you fall asleep, your sleep will become virtuous. Every time you awake in the middle of the night, you should remember sentient beings and recite a few Mani mantras for them. This human life is the fruition of myriad virtues accumulated throughout countless lifetimes.

It is a one-time opportunity and we shouldn't expect to obtain such a precious opportunity again in the future. Knowing how precious this human life is, one would not waste one's time with meaningless activities. Moreover, one will always be joyful even if things seem to go wrong, if one becomes a beggar, is without friends and family, or without wealth. Let alone becoming depressed, one would be happy, knowing that one possesses a precious human body, the ship that can bring one beyond the ocean of suffering. In fact, one will know that worldly pleasures will only bring one's own ruin in the future. This human life is very powerful, for humans are endowed with intelligence and the six elements. It is the crossroad between going up or down. If we know how to use this human existence well, we can attain enlightenment in a single life. If we waste this human existence and engage in negative deeds, it will propel us into the lower realms for countless eons.
A thought Rinpoche recorded during the Yamantaka Drubchen in Los Angeles a few days ago.

In prison Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche taught me this: "The extent of your realization will be known when you encounter difficult circumstances. You will not know the extent of your realization when things go well." When you find yourself in a troublesome situation, when you are in great pain, when an intense emotion arises, only then will you know where you are at with practice. He added: "Adverse circumstances will reveal your hidden faults." If you are able to hold awareness unwaveringly during such a time, and thus if you are not carried away by the force of the emotion, it is a sign that you have gained experience in practice.

If you were to practice mindful-awareness with great diligence for just a month, if you were to recognize even the slightest thought and not allow your mind to wander off into delusion for that time, even in such a short time you would witness great changes. Fierce afflictions would not faze you so much any more, because you would have gained personal experience in observing the illusory play. There is in fact just one remedy necessary--mindful awareness. It is the single sufficient remedy that transforms difficulties inside and out.

Garchen Rinpoche on Bodhicitta

"In order to meditate properly—that is, in a manner that actually produces the state of complete awakening we call enlightenment—the one indispensable ingredient required that you cannot do away with is bodhicitta, which is the mind of awakening, the altruistic aspiration to liberate all sentient beings to enlightenment, the mindset of the awakened warriors, the bodhisattvas.

In fact, that is what you need your mind stream to be permeated with most desperately; that is your most desperate need, especially in terms of practice and proper meditation. Bodhicitta, the precious mind of awakening, the mindset of the enlightened warriors, is the root teaching of the 84,000 sets of teachings and practices that comprise the Buddhadharma.

Without bodhicitta, whatever practice you engage in is grounded in ego-grasping, self-cherishing, and is a fabrication of the ego mind. That is why bodhicitta is absolutely indispensable, and that is why meditation is not just awareness, or knowledge, or the knowingness that cognizes emptiness. It is also passionately loving and compassionate toward all sentient beings."

Verse 2

"The mind of attachment to loved ones wavers like water. The mind of hatred of enemies burns like fire. The mind of ignorance which forgets what to adopt and what to discard is greatly obscured. Abandoning one’s homeland is the bodhisattvas’ practice."

The root cause of samsara is the attachment to the false idea of a self. Due to attachment we take birth in the six realms of samsara again and again. Although one may live in this world, if one is not attached, one does not wander in samsara. In our homeland we meet the adversaries whom we dislike, and we are attached to our families and friends. If we abandon our homeland and go to a different place, we are not attached to the people there, we see them all as the same. However, if we do not understand the detriment of attachment and aversion, we will again hate our opponents and cling to our friends, even if we move to a different place. Again we become attached to those people who treat us well and we dislike those who are unkind to us.Thus it is important to recognize the fault of attachment and aversion. If you are able to recognize their fault, there is no need to abandon your homeland. Consider what happens when only a subtle emotion of attachment or aversion arises.

For example, when you are describing a certain person to others, if he is your friend, you will only mention his good qualities; but if you dislike him, you will only point out his faults and not mention his good qualities. Tainted by attachment and aversion we cannot see how things really are. When we think about situations that are less emotionally charged, we come to understand that true intelligence arises within a mind of equanimity, a mind that remains uncolored by attachment or aversion. If you are mindful and recognize your mental arisings, for example, in conversation you will immediately recognize when you are tempted to say something negative about someone just because you don’t like them very much.

Attachment and love can easily be confused. Love means to feel sincere love and a wish for the other's happiness, without any sense of ownership and a wish for one's own happiness. Even someone who generally understands karma, temporarily dismisses it when an intense emotion of anger or desire arises. Some are overwhelmed by the emotion and blindly engage in negative deeds. Others commit evil deeds knowingly but are incapable to resist due to the force of the passion. This is what the verse means by “the mind of ignorance which forgets what to adopt and what to discard.”Tilopa said to Naropa: "Son, it is not the appearances that fetter you, it is the grasping at those appearances that fetters the mind."

The view of Vajrayana is extremely difficult to realize. Because it seems obscure, some feel safer calling themselves followers of the Hinayana path and are not interested in the Vajrayana path. This is a legitimate aspiration. However, the view of Vajrayana is actually not so obscure and difficult to understand. Vajrayana explains how things really are.

For instance, imagine a big glacier. Someone who does not understand Vajrayana will think, "This is a mountain of ice." Someone who understands Vajrayana will think, "This appears to be a mountain of ice; however, the nature of ice is water. It will not always be an ice mountain; someday it will melt into water." If you understand only this principle you understand the view of Vajrayana.

Vajrayana says that although the six realms appear, the appearance is temporary. In reality all sentient beings possess buddha nature, the potential to attain enlightenment. In the mind various thoughts arise temporarily. They are not who we really are; they come and they go and constantly change. Now you are angry; the next moment you love.

All these thoughts are momentary. But there is a ground of being, there is a conscious awareness that is always there. It never comes and goes; it is always there unchangingly. It doesn't die and isn't born. There is an underlying eternal conscious awareness. You have never separated from it and you never will, for this is who you really are. When you see this nature, your true nature, you see the true meaning of Vajrayana.

Verse 3

"When harmful places are abandoned, disturbing emotions gradually diminish. Without distraction, virtuous endeavors naturally increase. Being clear-minded, definite understanding of the Dharma arises. Resorting to secluded places is the bodhisattvas’ practice."

'Resorting to secluded places' refers to the isolation of body, speech and mind; not only the body. The whole purpose of secluding the body and speech is in fact only to seclude the mind. Secluding the mind means not to fall under the power of thoughts and emotions. Only secluding the body and speech while the mind still clings to thoughts and emotions, it is pointless. We seclude the body by traveling to isolated places, and we seclude the speech by remaining in silence. We do this in order to create an environment in which the mind is not constantly distracted by various sensory attractions. This is often misunderstood and people remove themselves from society in order to live in a hermitage to do retreat. But it only becomes a retreat if we are able to seclude our minds by not falling under the power of our own fixations. Some people never seclude themselves from the world but are still able to sustain awareness and do not fall under the power of their thoughts.

The latter is the one who is actually in retreat. However, for beginning practitioners, a place in isolation is conducive for practice because the mind is not sufficiently subdued in order to be able to withstand or resist the distractions and entertainments of the world. In an isolated place such entertainments are lacking and thus the wild and restless mind will find it easier to calm down. Since at such a place one is not faced with outer distractions, it is easier to turn inward and watch the mind. By doing so, the wish to practice virtue will increase. When the mind is calm and stable it is easier to cultivate compassion, patience and the other perfections. A harmful place is a place that leads to the increase of our negative thoughts and emotions. This can be any place, a mundane place or a hermitage. If, in a mundane place, one is able to control one's mind and not fall under the power of thoughts, it is not a harmful place.

In fact, yogis whose minds are stable should travel to mundane places of distraction in order to test their accomplishment. In brief, a harmful place is a place that leads to the increase of negativity and fixation, and a beneficial place is a place where one does not grasp at whatever arises. Since most people have to work and cannot seclude themselves to isolated places, you can also isolate yourself for short periods of time, for example a week, or for the weekend, or even just for a day or a few hours. As you gain a living experience by practicing in such a way as much as you can you will find that often the places we enjoy ourselves at are harmful places, and as your patience increases you will find that your enemies can be an enhancement to your practice. From the perspective of the Dharma, friend and enemies sometimes change roles."
04 Jun `12, 9:26PM

"When evil companions are associated with, the three poisons increase, the activities of listening, pondering and meditation decline, and love and compassion are extinguished. Abandoning evil companions is the Bodhisattvas' practice."

One may think that evil companions are those mean people who hate us. But this is not necessarily the case. From the perspective of the Pratimoksha path an evil companion is someone who prevents us from practicing the Dharma. If we do not practice, the three poisons, desire, hatred and ignorance increase. A loving friend may be someone preventing your from practice, and a troublemaker may help you to practice. Furthermore, it is better to have a troublesome friend who believes in karma, than a skillful benefactor who does not believe in karma. However, a beginning practitioner, whose practice is not yet stable, might be influenced in a negative way by such a companion, for instance, they might begin drinking and smoking, or deny karma. As such negative influence leads to the increase of negative karma, it is better to avoid such companions. A bodhisattva practices patience and love, thus there is no one to be abandoned.

Those who are troublesome are benefactors of patience, and those who are loving are benefactors of love. If one is able to sustain stability in patience and love, there is no need to abandon troublesome people.

A bodhisattva will not be influenced negatively, and by keeping the troublesome person company, the latter may even change and become a better person. Even if we are a beginning practitioner, we might end up in a relationship that we cannot abandon, even though our practice is not yet stable. Due to karmic forces people meet and are bound to live together. So what can we do? We have to generate awareness and abandon rather the afflictive emotions than the companion. The true evil companion to be abandoned is self-grasping. If we do not abandon this evil companion, we will always encounter obstacles. Abandoning evil companions does not mean to abandon our friends who are annoying, thinking, "we always fight, we better break up." This would be a mistake and by doing that we will meet unharmonious friends again and again. We are holders of the bodhisattva vows. We promised to cultivate love, compassion, and bodhichitta for everyone, so we cannot say “everyone except him.”

Still, we must not accept wrong views. Whatever someone with wrong views, desire, anger, or sectarianism says, you should not listen to it. In brief, we have to purify our mind; if we follow thoughts of desire and aversion, our love, kindness and compassion vanish.


"When sublime spiritual friends are relied upon, one's faults are exhausted and one's qualities increase like the waxing moon. Holding sublime spiritual friends even more dear than one's own body is the Bodhisattvas' practice."

Why is the spiritual teacher more important than one's own body? The body is impermanent and we will cast it aside, like a guest leaving a guest-house. But if we understand just one word of our guru, and practice accordingly, we will experience happiness in all future lives. When the teacher only introduces us to karma, cause and effect, it is like receiving two wide-open eyes, the knowledge that knows what to do and what to give up. Simply by being introduced to karma, we are shown to path to create happiness in all future lives. Therefore, even if someone were to offer us millions of dollars, it could not compare to the value of receiving a single line of teachings from our guru. In fact, money may easily be used to create even more suffering. The cause of all suffering is the self-centered mind, and all the negative emotions. When you recognize this, your faults will be exhausted.
When you recognize that the only cause of happiness is a pure and loving mind, your qualities will increase like the waxing moon. The path to such recognition is given to us by our spiritual teacher. For this reason he is more precious than one's own body.
What does it mean to hold the spiritual teacher dear? Holding his body dear only leads to trouble; what we must hold dear are his words or instructions. Holding his words dear means to listen properly and then apply them to one's own mind, put them into practice. First we must understand the teachings, and then we must personally experience what we have learned. We experience the teachings by reflecting and meditating on them until a feeling of certainty arises. For instance, the teacher explains to us the preciousness of love. An intellectual understanding is already a great merit. However, an intellectual understanding will not dispel the root of our suffering, our negative emotions. It certainly helps, but in order to truly pass beyond suffering, we must practice, gain a living experience. When we gain a personal experience, we will directly see how love is so precious. Knowing this, based on experiencing it directly, one will not let go of it at any cost.
Not letting go of love, we will habituate to it to the point when it becomes effortless and always remains naturally. Then we have created perfect peace and happiness and have finally passed beyond suffering. The root cause is the kindness of our teacher.

Verse 9:

"The pleasure of the three realms is as fleeting as a dewdrop on the tip of a blade of grass, vanishing in a single moment. Striving for the supreme state of never-changing liberation is the bodhisattvas’ practice."

The three existences are the human's on the earth, the gods above, and the nagas below. All beings in these realms are attached to the pleasures of sensory enjoyments. We are not liberated because we are attached to samsara, because we think that we can actually find true happiness by finding gratification for our senses. We can understand rather easily that hatred is the cause of suffering, and we are ready to give up this negative emotion. It is much more difficult for us to realize that the actual cause of still wandering in samsara is our mistaken belief that we will, in the end, find some happiness here. It is thus more difficult to recognize our desire for samsaric bliss. We are not free from suffering, because we can't let go of it. But no matter how hard we try, even if we get what we were striving for, it will not last. When we die we are forced to let it all go. What will stay, however, are the negative imprints, the karmas that we created in order to obtain worldly pleasures. Everything is impermanent, changing moment by moment; nothing lasts, like a dewdrop on the tip of a blade of grass. To cling to the permanence of things is extremely ignorant. Patrul Rinpoche said, "The attachment to sights is like a moth attracted to a fire flame. The attachment to sound is like a deer enchanted by the hunter's flute. The attachment to taste is like a fish taking a baited hook. The attachment to touch is like an elephant mired in a swamp. The attachment to smell is like a bee flying into a carnivorous flower." For example, the elephant finds it very blissful to be in the cool mud, but he is so heavy that he easily becomes mired in the swamp and will die there if he can’t get out. Likewise, we think that samsara is pleasurable. In the beginning we enjoy ourselves, in the middle we experience misery, and in the end we will find no liberation, like an elephant sinking in a swamp. In the beginning, we are convinced that obtaining our object of desire will bring us satisfaction. When we get it, it becomes the cause of suffering. If the good qualities and the faults of an action are equal, or if the faults are predominant, you should not engage in the action. This is how you should consider before partaking of something pleasurable. For example, if you consider carefully, you will not drink alcohol excessively. There is nothing wrong with drinking only a little bit of alcohol, it can be medicinal. But if you drink excessively and get drunk, then eventually you will drink yourself to death. If you are honest, the pleasures of this life, many times are the cause of much suffering.

Verse 8:

"The Subduer said that all the unbearable suffering of the three lower realms is the fruition of wrongdoing. Therefore, never committing negative deeds, even at peril to one's life, is the bodhisattvas' practice."

All the unbearable suffering of the lower realms is created by our afflictive emotions. The Buddha did not invent or create a certain belief, but rather, having realized how things really are, the Buddha compassionately explained what causes suffering and what causes happiness. He taught, "If you wish to be happy, this is what you need to do. If you wish to avoid suffering, this is what you must give up." "The very nature of hatred is hell. The very nature of love is the pure land." Hell is not a place someone sends you to in order to punish you. It is just the nature of hatred to produce hell, or the nature of hatred is hell. This is just how things are. Sometimes people doubt the reality of hell. Even Buddhists sometimes think "it is just a state of mind. If its just mind then its not real, so it can't be that bad." However, while it is true that hell does not inherently exist, neither does this human life! If you experience this life as a reality, hell will be experiencedin the same way. For as long as there is negative karma, for as long as there is self-grasping, suffering is a real experience. Only when one attains enlightenment and realizes emptiness, one realizes that the realms, including the pure lands do not inherently exist.In addition, we can see the suffering of all realms in our world. There are humans who experience the suffering of hell and hungry spirits. What is the cause of all suffering? The cause of all suffering is self-grasping and the afflictive emotions arising from it. Thus you should observe your own mind and if you find that you possess afflictive emotions such as anger, the result will certainly ripen in the future. Milarepa said, "The root of the lower realms is hatred, therefore practice patience even at the cost of your life." When you understand the suffering resulting from hatred, you will naturally wish to abandon it. If you do not understand this you may even mistakenly justify anger. From hatred arises hell, from greed appear the hungry spirits and from ignorance the animals. For instance, some people are unaware and destroy their life by drinking alcohol and taking drugs. This creates a propensity of ignorance leading to birth as an animal.There is outer and inner karma. Outer karma refers to our external activities. One may think, “I am not killing, or stealing, I'm not doing anything wrong.” But what is more important is the inner karma. Even if one is not engaging in negative deeds externally, if one fails to give rise to compassion and only thinks about oneself, negative thoughts will accumulate in the mind like snowflakes falling continuously day and night. If we keep following the afflictive emotions, we will not find freedom for countless eons. That is only due to the actions we have committed based on this body. Karma, cause and effect, is infallible.

Verse 7:

"What worldly gods, themselves also bound in the prison of cyclic existence, are able to protect others? Therefore, when refuge is sought, taking refuge in the undeceiving Triple Gem is the bodhisattvas’ practice."

The reason why we should not seek refuge in worldly gods is because they, themselves, are not yet liberated from suffering. They may be very powerful and magnificent, but this is only the temporary ripening of various karmas. Because they themselves have not eliminated the actual cause of suffering, the afflictive emotions, they cannot provide us with ultimate protection from suffering. Only someone who has transcended suffering can protect us from suffering. The Buddha is the one who has achieved lasting peace and happiness and is free of all suffering and all causes of suffering. Therefore, the Buddha has the ability to help us to become ultimately free of suffering. The method to become free of suffering is the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. If we follow the prescription of the Buddha, we will become just like the Buddha ourselves. Although the Dharma consists of 84,000 teachings, they have a single essence - bodhichitta.In order to progress along the path of Dharma we need to rely on a companion, someone who has walked the path and thus possesses the ability to guide us on the path. This companion is the Sangha. Having taken refuge in the Three Jewels will protect us from suffering because the Three Jewels teach us what to do and what not to do. If we practice accordingly we will be protected, in this sense we are actually protecting ourselves. Ultimately, thus, we rely on the inner Three Jewels. When we understand that the Three Jewels are actually complete within our own mind, we will become free of suffering. The inner Buddha is your own mindful awareness, the inner Dharma is love and compassion, and if you practice their union, your mind is the Sangha. Since taking refuge means to ultimately take refuge in compassion, we will be protected from suffering. The essence of the Mahayana refuge vow is to think: "I shall not forsake bodhichitta, even at the cost of my life.From this time onwards, until attaining the heart of enlightenment, I shall remain inseparable from wisdom and compassion."

Verse 10:

"When mothers who have been kind to one since beginningless time are suffering, what's the use of one's own happiness? Therefore, generating the mind of enlightenment in order to liberate limitless sentient beings is the bodhisattvas' practice."

Since time without beginning we have taken birth in cyclic existence, over and over again. In all these incalculable past lives we have had parents. If we were to pile up the bones of all our past bodies, it would be greater than Mount Meru. If we were to gather all the tears we cried, it would fill up a limitless ocean. Since we incarnated infinitely, there is not a single being who has not been our parent in a past life. At that time, they cared for us with great love and sacrificed their lives for our sake. Just like our present parents, they have committed many negative deeds in order to protect us. As a result of these negative deeds they now suffer in samsara endlessly. How could we turn our backs at them and leave them alone? Because they are our mothers, and thus very dear to our heart, we want them to be happy. The wish for the happiness of others is love. If you love someone you cannot bear to see them suffer. This is compassion. We wish for all others to be free from suffering. The root of suffering is the self-clinging mind. Although sentient beings are limitless, self-clinging is the single root of all suffering. If you give rise to love and compassion for all sentient beings, your mind will become vast and all-pervasive. When love pervades all beings, self-grasping diminishes. In this way you accomplish the dual purpose of others and yourself. Ultimately, there is a single ground within which all beings are one. Because we are connected to all beings on the ultimate level, we can pervade them with love. They can actually receive our love. For instance, a dog or a cat will naturally come close to a person with great love, and they will run away if one is very angry. This is a sign that of the single ground. In addition, when you think of others, you do not think about a self. If you are self-centered, your mind becomes narrow, like a block of ice. But when you let go and send out love to others, you will notice how your mind expands. The mind become open and spacious, like a vast ocean or the sky. Bodhichitta is the preliminary practice, bodhichitta is the main practice, and bodhichitta is also the result. Therefore be courageous and do not abandon even a single sentient being for as long as samsara exists.

Verse 10:

"When mothers who have been kind to one since beginningless time are suffering, what's the use of one's own happiness? Therefore, generating the mind of enlightenment in order to liberate limitless sentient beings is the bodhisattvas' practice."

Since time without beginning we have taken birth in cyclic existence, over and over again. In all these incalculable past lives we have had parents. If we were to pile up the bones of all our past bodies, it would be greater than Mount Meru. If we were to gather all the tears we cried, it would fill up a limitless ocean. Since we incarnated infinitely, there is not a single being who has not been our parent in a past life. At that time, they cared for us with great love and sacrificed their lives for our sake. Just like our present parents, they have committed many negative deeds in order to protect us. As a result of these negative deeds they now suffer in samsara endlessly. How could we turn our backs at them and leave them alone? Because they are our mothers, and thus very dear to our heart, we want them to be happy. The wish for the happiness of others is love. If you love someone you cannot bear to see them suffer. This is compassion. We wish for all others to be free from suffering. The root of suffering is the self-clinging mind. Although sentient beings are limitless, self-clinging is the single root of all suffering. If you give rise to love and compassion for all sentient beings, your mind will become vast and all-pervasive. When love pervades all beings, self-grasping diminishes. In this way you accomplish the dual purpose of others and yourself. Ultimately, there is a single ground within which all beings are one. Because we are connected to all beings on the ultimate level, we can pervade them with love. They can actually receive our love. For instance, a dog or a cat will naturally come close to a person with great love, and they will run away if one is very angry. This is a sign that of the single ground. In addition, when you think of others, you do not think about a self. If you are self-centered, your mind becomes narrow, like a block of ice. But when you let go and send out love to others, you will notice how your mind expands. The mind become open and spacious, like a vast ocean or the sky. Bodhichitta is the preliminary practice, bodhichitta is the main practice, and bodhichitta is also the result. Therefore be courageous and do not abandon even a single sentient being for as long as samsara exists.

Verse 11:

"All suffering without exception comes from wishing for one's own happiness. The perfect buddhas arise from the altruistic mind. Therefore, completely exchanging one's own happiness for the suffering of others is the bodhisattvas' practice."

All the buddhas of the past, present, and future arise from bodhichitta. In the beginning, the Buddha Shakyamuni was an ordinary being like us. Having given rise to bodhichitta, the Buddha then accumulated merit throughout three endless eons, and finally attained complete enlightenment. What we call merit is nothing else than love and compassion for sentient beings. If we practice virtue with compassion for all beings, it is called merit. If we practice virtue without compassion it is not called merit. If we truly love others, we will easily exchange our own happiness for their suffering. Some people are naturally very compassionate, this is due to the merit they have accumulated in the past. We are compassionate because we love others. If we would not love them, we would not care about them. But if you love others and see that they experience endless suffering, an unbearable feeling will overcome you. You cannot bear to see them suffer, you want to do anything to free them from suffering. This is compassion. The root of all the endless suffering is self-clinging. The only thing that destroys self-clinging is love. Thus what those beings need is love and compassion. If love permeates their mind, their negative karma and suffering will melt away. For example, if all the people in a war-zone would give rise to love all of a sudden, their suffering would end. Their hatred and jealousy will disappear right there. Thus their negative karma would become purified. Bodhichitta is the most powerful way to purify negative karma and dispel suffering. When negative karma and obscurations become purified, they melt away like snow melting in the sun. If the snow mountain is very large you will not notice that some snow has melted, nevertheless, change happens moment by moment. If you really understand the pain that is created by self-clinging, if you really trust that striving for your own happiness is the cause of suffering and has never brought you happiness since beginningless time in samsara, you will be able to generate the inner strength to transform your mind. If you really understand the extent of the wealth of merit gained from bodhichitta, it will be easy and joyful to benefit others. For example, we believe that we are tired because we work too much. In reality we are resentful because our payment is not good enough. Imagine someone were to tell you: "I will offer you 10 million dollars if you work for me today." Would you be too tired to do it? Most likely you would be at your best behavior that day. The merit gained from giving rise to bodhichitta is a far greater wealth than 10 million dollars. Understanding the benefits of bodhichitta, bodhisattvas are tireless. When you see how your love touches others, it will become your happiness to give your happiness to others.

 
In March 2012 Gar Drolma Center asked Garchen Rinpoche to describe the deity Vajrakilaya for those new to the Dharma. He gave a magnificent description of the arising of wrathful deities:
“The transformation that occurs when the afflictive emotions are subdued with sharp discriminating awareness is the arising of the wrathful deities. The actual nature of the afflictive emotions is primordial wis
 dom, thus the five poisons are the five wisdoms. Through the power of awareness the afflictive emotions collapse and this collapsing is revealing of their true nature, primordial wisdom. This collapsing or transformation is the wrathful deity. The wrathful deities are infuriated with compassion; they are not angry. They are like a mother taming a mischievous child. The mother loves the child and becomes infuriated in order to help her child. The wrathful deities arise with intense compassion, taming the very coarse afflictive emotions of sentient beings. Their compassion is even more intense than the compassion of peaceful deities.” 27 Oct `12, 3:07PM

Q&A with HE Garchen Rinpoche during 2012 Amidewa Retreat in Singapore

Q: When we are chanting the mantra, do we keep up the entire visualisation all the time?
GR: You do not have to keep visualising all the time during mantra recitation. In the beginning when we recite the visualisation for the mantra recitation, you should generate the visualisation as explained in the text. Then you begin reciting the mantra with this visualisation. When your mind then becomes clear and calm you do not have to visualise anything. You can just sustain this state of clarity and tranquillity as you recite the mantra. If distracting thoughts or emotions again arise you should come back to the visualisation to help you mind return to focus. When there are no thoughts you can just rest in the empty natural state of mind, abide free from fixation, not separating self and others.

Q: When we do the practice at home, do we have to do all the offerings as the sadhana suggests?
GR: There is no need to assemble all the prescribed offering substances. You should assemble whatever you can such as flowers, water bowls, a statue or picture, and so forth, and the rest you can visualise. It is important to understand the meaning behind making these offerings. The point is to overcome ego-clinging. When we practice making offerings, we are practicing to give away what is precious to us, thus we release attachment. Ordinarily we are attached to the sense pleasures, for this reason we offer them. The deity actually has no need or desire for these sense pleasures, but offering them releases our own attachment and we accumulate great merit. As a result of having made offerings we will experience the result that is similar to the cause in future lifetimes, for example a beautiful complexion, or a long life span, and finally it serves as the cause for attaining awakening. 27 Oct `12, 3:08PM

Q&A with HE Garchen Rinpoche during 2012 Amidewa Retreat in Singapore

Q: Rinpoche said that whoever realizes the nature of mind is Buddha. Can Rinpoche please explain this further?
GR: Sentient beings believe in a subject-object duality, they think that they themselves are separate from the others out there. When you directly experience the natural state, all these ideas and fixations fall apart. When the thinking of self and others falls apart, when one doesn't cling to the habitual discursive thoughts, one realizes that the nature of mind is actually like space. There is no separation or duality in space. Separation is only a mental construct. When these mental fabrications collapse one will know the endless space-like nature of mind. There is a sense of ease and peace. Knowing that sentient beings have not realized this reality, one maintains unconditioned compassion. Abiding in the natural state of mind is a most peaceful and joyous state. But sentient beings have not seen their own true nature, with confused minds the endlessly suffer in illusory samsara. This is a great pity, thus the compassion of those who know reality naturally prevails. 02 Jan `13, 8:17PM

Apart from sustaining mindfulness throughout the day and night there is no other clear light yoga. It begins with being able to sustain mindfulness throughout the day. When your mind is very clear and sharp during the day, eventually it will carry through the night. When you fall asleep continuing to sustain mindfulness, in a union of clear awareness and emptiness, you will first recognize the dream state. This recognition is called "recognizing the luminosity of the dream."
 
Then eventually, through consistent mindfulness, even the dream state will disappear, and you will rest in clarity naturally; awareness will remain. Eventually clear awareness will even remain during the deep sleep state. It is like the illumination of a lamp flame. There are no thoughts, and there is a subtle feeling of your sleep's rest. This is accomplished when you sustain clear awareness continuously--remain free from the slightest distraction--throughout day and night.
 
Finally, in deep sleep you will recognize the clear light of deep sleep. What we call clear light is your ability to outshine thoughts and emotions or feelings with clear awareness. These thoughts, while arising, dissolve without having affected you or leaving a trace behind. A beginning practitioner will sustain mindfulness sometimes, and then will again become unmindful. This must first be overcome during the day. You must first be able to destroy whatever habitual thoughts arise, then habituate sustaining clear awareness. Then when you go to sleep, uphold mindfulness by falling asleep practicing the OM AH HUNG Vajra Recitation. At times you might remember the OM AH HUNG during the dream state, and eventually mindfulness will remain even in the deep sleep state. 24 Feb `13, 10:57AM

Below are some pointers Garchen Rinpoche gave on the mahamudra texts. He was teaching to a mainly Tibetan Buddhist monastic audience based on Chetsang Rinpoche’s commentary on Tilopa’s Ganges Mahamudra, Saraha’s Mahamudra Song for the People, and Jigten Sumgon’s teaching on Coemergent Mahamudra.
 
With the mahamudra teachings, Rinpoche began by emphasizing the most important point is to focus on the meaning of the teachings, not any rules associated with it. The mahamudra seems like a gentle remainder to not become too attached to the conceptual, philosophical, or habitual elements of one’s practice.
 
Jigden Sumgon said that you miss the point if you become attached to the teachings. The key point is enlightenment and it doesn’t change from one vehicle or path to another. To think one can attain it through a philosophical system is wrong.
 
Like Buddha taught, the mind is a union of emptiness and luminosity. You can’t ascribe conceptual qualities to it or actively seek to attain certain ends. Rinpoche clarified how in a clear mind state you are not trying to abide in a particular state, conceptualizing, or fabricating. We are taught in meditation the mind is like luminosity. But we can try to focus on this and miss the point.
 
We are all also distracted by many things during meditation. The idea that discursive thoughts should be stopped is an illusion and ignorant.
 
You also can’t be liberated when you are attached to the physical body. You are liberating the mind not the body.
 
When there is no hope, expectation or fear, then fruition manifests. Chetsang Rinpoche’s commentary on the mahamudra says how when you are abiding without recollection of the past or without following after thoughts of the present, or evoking thoughts of the future, then you are liberated. Normally we have a strong fixation on this life. The degree that you fixate is the degree to which you miss the nature of true reality.
 
The point is that whatever arises is not real. Ultimately its nothing more than like being in a dream. It is a dream. When you are in a mindful state you realize wisdom and don’t have to contrive anything. Thoughts are like waves. A yogi knows they will arise and settle back down. A great meditator knows no antidote is necessary.
 
When you are free from thought, like a drop of mercury falling in the dust, the mind cannot become contaminated by others’ clouded minds. However, if one faces others with his own mind corrupted by afflictive emotions and discoursive thoughts, like a drop of water, the dust sticks. With afflictive emotions, he explained, when you blame others, we give our power to them, and we can even go to a hell-like state through a simple afflictive emotion like anger. Yogis know anger is caused without blaming another person or object: anger is part of the nature of the mind. You are liberated when you see it this way.
 
Even if you abide in a clear mind state, you must couple it with compassion and the 37 practices of the boddhisattvas. The point is to take insights learned from practice and to apply them in your daily life. If you have seemingly wonderful mediation practices but don’t apply them in your real life when afflictive emotions arise, or lack compassion when others’ afflictive emotions arise, it is cause for reflection on your practice. 24 Feb `13, 10:58AM

The Single Sufficient Remedy
 
"In prison Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche taught me this: 'The extent of your realization will be known when you encounter difficult circumstances. You will not know the extent of your realization when things go well.' When you find yourself in a troublesome situation, when you are in great pain, when an intense emotion arises, only then will you know where you are at with practice.
 
He added: 'Adverse circumstances reveal your hidden faults.' If you are able to hold awareness unwaveringly during such a time, and thus if you are not carried away by the force of the emotion, it is a sign that you have gained experience in practice.
 
If you were to practice mindful awareness with great diligence for just a month, if you were to recognize even the slightest thought and not allow your mind to wander off into delusion for that time, even in such a short time you would witness great changes.
 
Fierce afflictions would not faze you so much any more, because you would have gained personal experience in observing the illusory play. There is in fact just one remedy necessary—mindful awareness. It is the single sufficient remedy that transforms difficulties inside and out."
 
--H.E. Garchen Rinpoche

Source

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