Quotes by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
Change is continuous. Day by day, one season slips into the next. Day turns into night and night to day. Buildings don’t suddenly grow old; rather, second by second, from the moment they’re constructed, they begin to deteriorate… Think of beings inhabiting this universe. How many people born a hundred years ago are still alive?… We see the play of impermanence in our relationships as well. How many of our family members, friends, people in our hometown, have died? How many have moved away, disappearing from our lives forever?… At one time we felt happy just being near a person we loved. Just to hold that person’s hand made us feel wonderful. Now maybe we can’t stand him, don’t want to know anything about him. Whatever comes together must fall apart, whatever once fathered must separate, whatever was born must die. Continual change, relentless change, is constant in our world.
Don’t burden others with your expectations. Understanding their limitations can inspire compassion instead of disappointment, ensuring beneficial and workable relationships. Remember that you have only a short time together. Be grateful for each day you share.
When you give in to aversion and anger, it’s as though, having decided to kill someone by throwing him into a river, you wrap your arms around his neck, jump into the water with him, and you both drown. In destroying your enemy, you destroy yourself as well.
Now we are afflicted by "me-my-mine-itis," a condition caused by ignorance. Our self-centeredness and self-important thinking have become very strong habits. In order to change them, we need to refocus. Instead of concerning ourselves with "I" all the time, we must redirect our attention to "you" or "them" or "others." Reducing self-importance lessens the attachment that stems from it. When we focus outside ourselves, ultimately we realize the equality of ourselves and all other beings. Everybody wants happiness; nobody wants to suffer. Our attachment to our own happiness expands to an attachment to the happiness of all.
If we start worrying whether our nose is too big or too small, we should think, “What if I had no head? – now that would be a problem!” As long as we have life, we should rejoice. If everything doesn’t go exactly as we’d like, we can accept it. If we contemplate impermanence deeply, patience and compassion will arise. We will hold less to the apparent truth of our experience, and the mind will become more flexible. Realising that one day this body will be buried or burned, we will rejoice in every moment we have rather than make ourselves or others unhappy.
True compassion is utterly neutral and is moved by suffering of every sort; not tied to right and wrong, attachment and aversion.
When someone insults us, we usually dwell on it, asking ourselves, ‘Why did he say that to me?’ and on and on. It’s as if someone shoots an arrow at us, but it falls short. Focusing on the problem is like picking up the arrow and repeatedly stabbing ourselves with it, saying, ‘He hurt me so much. I can’t believe he did that.’
Instead, we can use the method of contemplation to think things through differently, to change our habit of reacting with anger.
Imagine that someone insults you. Say to yourself, ‘This person makes me angry. But what is this anger?’ It is one of the poisons of the mind that creates negative karma, leading to intense suffering. Meeting anger with anger is like following a lunatic who jumps off a cliff. Do I have to go likewise? While it’s crazy for him to act the way he does, it’s even crazier for me to do the same.
To understand how delusion arises, practice watching your mind. Begin by simply letting it relax. Without thinking of the past or the future, without feeling hope or fear about this thing or that, let it rest comfortably, open and natural. In this space of the mind, there is no problem, no suffering. Then something catches your attention - an image, a sound, a smell. Your mind splits into inner and outer, self and other, subject and object. In simply perceiving the object, there is still no problem. But when you zero in on it, you notice that it's big or small, white or black, square or circular; and then you make a judgment - for example, whether it's pretty or ugly. Having made that judgment, you react to it: you decide you like it or don't like it. That's when the problem starts, because "I like it" leads to "I want it." We want to possess what we perceive to be desirable. Similarly, "I don't like it" leads to "I don't want it." If we like something, want it, and can't have it, we suffer. If we don't want it, but can't keep it away, again we suffer.
Our suffering seems to occur because of the object of our desire or aversion, but that's not really so. It happens because the mind splits into object-subject duality and becomes involved in wanting or not wanting something.
We often think the only way to create happiness is to try to control the outer circumstances of our lives, to try to fix what seems wrong or to get rid of everything that bothers us. But the real problem lies in our reaction to those circumstances. What we have to change is the mind and the way it experiences reality.
A bodhisattva is someone who has taken on the sole task of meeting the needs of others, no matter how difficult that might be. His or her self-centeredness has been reduced to the point where wisdom, love, and compassion arise naturally, benefiting any situation. So the mind of a bodhisattva is heroic, vast, and of limitless benefit.
Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practice good-heartedness toward all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they will do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream. The trick is to have positive intention during the dream. This is the essential point. This is true spirituality.
Enlightenment is not anything new or something we create or bring into existence. It is simply discovering within us what is already there. It is the full realization of our intrinsic nature. In Tibetan, buddha is sang gyay. Sang means that all of the faults have been cleared away, while gyay means “full realization”; just as from darkness, the moon waxes, likewise from ignorance, the qualities of the mind’s intrinsic nature emerge.