The big mind in which we must have confidence is not something which you can experience objectively. It is something which is always with you, always on your side. Your eyes are on your side, for you cannot see your eyes, and your eyes cannot see themselves. Eyes only see things outside, objective things. If you reflect on yourself, that self is not your true self any more. You cannot project yourself as some objective thing to think about. The mind which is always on your side is not just your mind, it is universal mind, always the same, not different from another’s mind.
— Shunryu Suzuki – Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (p. 128)
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There is no reality in a dream but nevertheless we believe in the reality of the things seen in a dream. After waking up, we recognize the falsity of the dream and we smile at ourselves. In the same way, the person deep in the sleep of the fetters (saṃyojananidra) clings (abhiniviśate) to the things that do not exist; but when he has found the Path, at the moment of enlightenment, he understands that there is no reality and laughs at himself. This is why it is said: like in a dream.
Moreover, by the power of sleep (nidrābala), the dreamer sees something there where there is nothing. In the same way, by the power of the sleep of ignorance (avidyānidrā), a person believes in the existence of all kinds of things that do not exist, e.g., ‘me’ and ‘mine’ (ātmātmīya), male and female, etc.
Moreover, in a dream, we enjoy ourselves although there is nothing enjoyable there; we are irritated although there is nothing irritating there; we are frightened although there is nothing to be afraid of there. In the same way, beings of the threefold world (traidhātukasattva), in the sleep of ignorance, are irritated although there is nothing irritating, enjoy themselves although there is nothing enjoyable, and frightened although there is nothing to be afraid of.
— Nagarjuna – Mahaprajñaparamitopadesa – Chapter XI
Don’t think that only sitting with the eyes closed is practice. If you do think this way, then quickly change your thinking. Steady practice is keeping mindful in every posture, whether sitting, walking, standing or lying down. When coming out of sitting, don’t think that you’re coming out of meditation, but that you are only changing postures. If you reflect in this way, you will have peace. Wherever you are, you will have this attitude of practice with you constantly. You will have a steady awareness within yourself.
— Ajahn Chah
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Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
Can we cover the earth in leather so it’s soft wherever we go? What else can we do? Covering our feet in leather is equal to covering the whole world in leather. Likewise, enemies are as limitless as space. All enemies cannot possibly be overcome, yet if one can just overcome hatred this will be equal to overcoming all enemies. All that is unsatisfactory in this world all the fear and suffering that exists clinging to the “I” has created it. What am I to do with this great demon? To release myself from harm and to free all others from their suffering let me give myself away and love others as I love myself. If a problem can be solved why be unhappy? And if it cannot be solved what is the use of being unhappy?
— Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche – from the movie ‘The Cup’ – Commentary to Verse 6 / Chapter 5 of the Bodhicharyavatara from Shantideva
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Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
If you vanquish ego-clinging today, tonight you will be enlightened. If you vanquish it tomorrow, you will be enlightened tomorrow night. But if you never vanquish it, you will never be enlightened. Yet ” I ” is just a thought. Thoughts and feelings have no intrinsic solidity, form, shape, or color. When a thought of anger arises in the mind with such force that you feel aggressive and destructive, is anger brandishing a weapon? Is it at the head of an army?
Can it burn things like fire, crush them like a rock, or carry them away like a violent river? No. Anger, like any other thought or feeling, has no true existence—- not even a definitive location in your body, speech, or mind. It is just like wind roaring in empty space.
Instead of allowing wild thoughts to enslave you, realize their essential emptiness. If you subdue the hatred within, you will discover that there is not a single enemy left outside. Otherwise, even if you could overpower everyone in the whole world, your hatred will only grow stronger. Indulging it will never make it subside. The only truly intolerable enemy is hatred itself.
Examine the nature of hatred; you will find that it is no more than a thought.
When you see it as it is, it will dissolve like a cloud in the sky.
— Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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The present moment
contains past and future.
The secret of transformation,
is in the way we handle this very moment.
— Thich Nhat Hanh – Understanding Our Mind
We generally consider something beneficial if it promotes happiness. But when we ask ourselves, “Am I happy when I’m angry?” the answer is undoubtedly no. We may feel a surge of physical energy due to physiological reasons, but emotionally we feel miserable. Thus, from our own experience, we can see that anger does not promote happiness.
In addition, we don’t communicate well when we’re angry. We may speak loudly as if the other person were hard of hearing or repeat what we say as if he had a bad memory, but this is not communication. Good communication involves expressing ourselves in a way that the other person understands. It is not simply dumping our feelings on the other. Good communication also includes expressing our feelings and thoughts with words, gestures, and examples that make sense to the other person. Under the sway of anger, however, we neither express ourselves as calmly nor think as clearly as usual.
Under the influence of anger, we also say and do things that we later regret. Years of trust built with great effort can be quickly damaged by a few moments of uncontrolled anger…. If we could tame our anger, such painful consequences could be avoided.
— Thubten Chodron – Working with Anger
Whatever good or bad things appear to us seem to exist from the side of those objects. How do they exist? If they exist from the side of the object, then, contemplating the basis of imputation, which lies out there at finger-point, we should see whether it is the object in question or not. Let us take for example a physical object and examine its shape, color and so on to see if that object is to be found anywhere among those attributes. If we do so, we find nothing that is the object in question. If we take a person as an example, and inspect the individual aggregates that are the bases of designation of a person, we find that none of them is the person. In that way we recognize that the imputed object is not to be found upon investigation.
Then if we contemplate how things appear to the mind, we see that they seem to exist from the side of the object, without dependence upon anything else. But when they are sought analytically, they are not found. They do exist, for they can help or harm us. But when pondering the manner in which they exist, we find no basis for the assumption that they exist from the side of the object. Thus, they exist by the power of subjective convention, by the power of designation.
When pondering the nature of existence, we find that entities are not found upon seeking them analytically. So they exist by means of conventional, conceptual designation. They do undeniably exist. But as long as they do not exist independently, from their own side, they must exist by the power of subjective convention. There is no alternative. An entity exists due to its being designated upon something that is not it.
The Dalai Lama – Transcendent Wisdom – p. 54
Do not live in the world,
In distraction and false dreams.
Outside the dharma.
Arise and watch.
Follow the way joyfully
Through this world and beyond.
Follow the way of virtue.
Follow the way joyfully
Through this world and on beyond!
For consider the world –
A bubble, a mirage.
See the world as it is,
And death shall overlook you.
Come, consider the world,
A painted chariot for kings,
A trap for fools.
But he who sees goes free.
As the moon slips from behind a cloud And shines,
So the master comes out from behind his ignorance And shines.
The world is in darkness.
How few have eyes to see!
How few the birds
Who escape the net and fly to heaven!
Swans rise and fly toward the sun.
So do the pure conquer the armies of illusion
And rise and fly.
If you scoff at heaven
And violate the dharma,
If your words are lies,
Where will your mischief end?
The fool laughs at generosity.
The miser cannot enter heaven.
But the master finds joy in giving
And happiness is his reward.
And more – For greater than all the joys
Of heaven and earth,
Greater still and than dominion
Over all the worlds,
Is the joy of reaching the stream.
— Siddharta Gautama (The Buddha) – Dhammapada
Be ye lamps unto yourselves,
be a refuge to yourselves.
Hold fast to Truth as a lamp;
hold fast to the Truth as a refuge.
Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourselves.
And those, who shall be a lamp unto themselves,
shall betake themselves to no external refuge,
but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp,
and holding fast to the Truth as their refuge,
they shall reach the topmost height.
— Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha) – Buddha’s last words to Ananda