Understanding the nature of mind ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Since healing comes essentially from our mind, not from our body, it’s important to understand the nature of the mind. The intrinsic nature of the mind is pure, in the sense that it is not one with the defects of the mind, with disturbing thoughts and obscurations.

All the defects of our mind — selfishness, ignorance, anger, attachment, guilt, and other disturbing thoughts — are temporary, not permanent and eternal. And since the cause of our suffering, disturbing thoughts and obscurations, is temporary, so is our suffering.

The mind is also empty of real existence, of existence on its own side. This quality of the mind, known as the Nature of the Buddha, gives us the potential to completely free ourselves from all suffering, including disease, and from the causes of suffering and to achieve whatever happiness we desire, including that of enlightenment.

Because the mind has so much potential, we don’t have to be depressed or hopeless. It’s not like we have to experience problems forever. We have incredible freedom to develop our minds in any way we desire. It’s just a matter of finding the right way to harness the potential of our minds.”

~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

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Dependent Origination

Dependent origination (Skt. pratītyasamutpāda; Tib. རྟེན་འབྲེལ་, tendrel du jungwa) means that all phenomena, outer and inner, do not appear without any causes. In fact, they arise through the coming together of their own particular causes and conditions.

As the Buddha said:

When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn’t, that isn’t.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

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The Buddha expounded on the emptiness of dependent arising, that we can liberate the mind from samsara, (the self-grasping attachment to its own delusion, mere concept in the mind), and realise the ultimate nature of reality as it is.

States of Existence Are All Like Dreams ~ Shantideva

In reality, there is no difference between those who have attained Nirvana and those who have not.

When all phenomena are empty in this way, what can be gained and what can be lost?
Who will be honoured or despised by whom?

Whence come happiness and suffering?
What is pleasant and what is unpleasant?
When investigated in its own nature, what is craving and for what is craving?

Upon investigation, what is the world of living beings, and who will really die here?
Who will come into existence, and who has come into existence?
Who is a relative, and who is a friend of whom?

May those who are like me apprehend everything as being like space.

~ Shantideva
The Bodhicaryavatara

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Wisdom of Meditation ~ The Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche

In the teachings of the Buddha, the phenomenal world depends on mind: the material and the nonmaterial are all mind and therefore reflect our attitude or state of mind. In the phenomenal world, the experience of suffering does not come from dharmas or phenomena; they do not cling to or make us confused. It is through expectation and doubt, attachment and aversion that our minds create samsara, it is not concepts or values, but the way we react to them. For example, we say that the situation in which we live makes our lives difficult, as if this difficulty were imposed by the world around us. We may say that New York is a difficult place to live with its tall buildings and many cars, but these are not what make it samsaric. We are simply looking for something to blame. If we think the problems are outside us and we have to get rid of them, we are stuck in samsara. This very clinging to an inside and an outside is what creates samsara.⁣

While meditating in a cave, Milarepa noticed a tiny crack in the rock. An apprehension that a demon would appear out of the crack frequently arose. He continued to cling to this idea and one day a rock demon appeared as Milarepa was singing one of his songs of realization. At that moment, the demon responded, “Your mind made me appear. I did not deliberately do this, but since your mind called me forth, her I am.” This is an example of a state of mind or quality of perception creating samsara. Our habitual patterns of mind happen involuntarily and with such strength that we have no power over them. With these confused projections, we make problems for ourselves; it is our confused notion that the world around us creates confusion and suffering for us.⁣

⁣In order to free ourselves of these habitual patterns, we must first tame our mind and develop mental stability. This is why meditation is so important. Meditation is “getting used to” or “building a good habit.” As we are now, we experience defilements and negative patterns which did not arise all at once. From beginningless time we have been building, reinforcing and storing these habits in the alaya consciousness. They can be broken through, however, by getting used to positive habits in the practice of meditation. This will allow us to experience the nature of our mind, our Buddhanature, which has always been pure.⁣

⁣The practice of shinay (shamatha) meditation will develop peace, stability, and one-pointedness of mind. Lhatong (vipasyana) meditation is the result of healthy shinay practice. The word lhatong means “seeing more,” (more than we usually do). Instead of seeing things out of confusion we see what they really are. Through the experience of a more peaceful mind we have a more stable perspective. Let us take the example of a lamp. Its purpose is to give light, to let us see what we can’t see in the darkness. If the lamp flickers constantly, it will be more difficult to see things clearly, this movement will not allow the flame to express its ability to give light. To be able to do this, the flame must be protected so that it can be still while the fullness of the light is expressed. Likewise, to experience true discriminating wisdom and the real nature of all phenomena, we need a calm and one-pointed mind. In this way shinay practice is the root of all meditation. We must not, however, neglect the practice of abandoning unwholesome patterns of body, speech, and mind and those practices which result in the accumulation of merit.⁣

~ The Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche

⁣From a teaching given by the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche at KTD, Woodstock in 1990. Edited by Michele Martin, 1998.


Sourced by 🙏 Fiona MacAlister 

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