Quotes by Dudjom Rinpoche
The root of Dharma is your mind.
Tame it and you’re practicing Dharma.
To practice Dharma is to tame your mind,
And when you tame it, then you will be free!
To cause benefit is not easy – so try first not to cause harm
Take your entire life as the only measure for the duration of your practice.
In meditation practice, you might experience a muddy, semiconscious, drifting state, like having a hood over your head: a dreamy dullness. This is really nothing more than a kind of blurred and mindless stagnation. How do you get out of this state? Alert yourself, straighten your back, breathe the stale air out of your lungs, and direct your awareness into clear space to freshen your mind. If you remain in this stagnant state you will not evolve, so whenever this setback arises, clear it again and again. It is important to be as watchful as possible, and to stay as vigilant as you can. ~ Dudjom Rinpoche
Carrying out one's teacher's instructions
It is important to carry out everything your teacher asks joyfully and respectfully. If you cannot do so, either because it is something inappropriate — contrary to the Dharma or whatever — or because you are unable, properly ask to be excused in a way that does not displease the teacher, and request permission.
To abandon it thinking it does not matter, without asking the teacher’s permission, will not do. It is said:
The wise, with joyful mind,
Make every effort to obey the teacher’s word.
If they are unable to do what they ought,
They clarify their inability by speaking about it.
Therefore, make every effort
To not transgress the teacher’s word.
Even if your teacher asks you to do something improper, such as something that is contrary to the Dharma, you must carefully consider the reason you have been asked to do it, and why it is normally not allowed. Then either carry it out or ask permission not to, in a way that does not displease the teacher. It is wrong to do otherwise and to disobey. As the Display of the Perfected Wheel says,
If one does as they have said,
Even if it is something wrong,
It will lead to ultimate good:
Why, then, question doing it?
Action is being truly observant of your own thoughts, good or bad, looking into the true nature of whatever thoughts may arise, neither tracing the past nor inviting the future, neither allowing any clinging to experiences of joy, nor being overcome by sad situations. In so doing, you try to reach and remain in the state of great equilibrium, where all good and bad, peace and distress, are devoid of true identity.
Please be careful in the future to pay attention. Karma can be very subtle and tricky. We might think that something is no big deal, but it may turn out to have serious consequences. So pay good attention to the karmic process. This is what every practitioner needs to pay attention to — even those with the highest realization.
Do not confuse yourself with a lot of thinking. (WN)
Do not blame temporary negative circumstances; instead, be someone who remains steadfast in the face of whatever circumstances may arise.
Since pure awareness of nowness is the real buddha,
In openness and contentment I found the Lama in my heart.
When we realize this unending natural mind is the very nature of the Lama,
Then there is no need for attached, grasping, or weeping prayers or artificial complaints,
By simply relaxing in this uncontrived, open, and natural state,
We obtain the blessing of aimless self-liberation of whatever arises.
When a thought arises, it brings another with it, and then another, in an endless sequence. It is this chain which has deceived us from beginningless time, and if we do not break it, it will continue to deceive us in the future.
On Mental Conduct Regarding Your Teacher
As for your thoughts, do not covet your teachers’ wealth and possessions, or have malicious thoughts with regard to their attendants, disciples, sponsors, and so forth, because any selfish clinging will displease them. For different reasons, your teachers may act gently or wrathfully and behave in an apparently ordinary manner, but never, even for the smallest of their acts, confuse their words with their intentions and think that what they are doing is wrong. Nor should you imagine a multitude of contradictions in the things they say at different times and in the most trivial things they do. As we find in the Accomplishment of Wisdom,
Avoid dishonoring or coveting
The teachers’ belongings and followers, or their attendants.
Their various deeds are a great magical display
Skillfully benefiting beings.
Reject wrong views, finding fault in
The oceanic infinity of their wisdom and activities.
Mixing the eight worldly concerns with your spiritual practice is extremely dangerous, like eating food mixed with poison. The eight worldly concerns in concise form can be reduced to two things, hope and fear, which are, in fact, desire and anger.
When empowerment is received for the first time, it is characterized as the "causal" initiation. Afterwards, when one receives empowerment from a lama, or if self-initiation occurs, it is the "path" initiation. By purifying the subtle habitual propensities so that the teacher and assembly are realized to be nondual, the "resultant" empowerment occurs. Here, an explanation of the causal and path empowerments will be discussed.
In order to receive empowerment, one must meet with a spiritual master who has the necessary qualifications. Mainly, the teacher must have great respect for his or her teacher and no deterioration of samaya. The teacher must have unfailing love and compassion for all parent sentient beings, as well as the potential and strength to unfailingly uphold the Buddha's doctrine.
In addition, the disciple must have faith, diligence, wisdom, generosity, meditation experience, pure samaya, a joyful attitude toward practice and meditation, constant faith in the lama, the ability to make offerings to the lama during the three times, and noble, excellent qualities. In order to bestow empowerment upon such a suitable disciple, the teacher must be skilled in the knowledge of how to unmistakenly arrange and bestow empowerment. (PC)
To nurture stillness,
to nurture spiritual experiences,
to nurture samadhi and other spiritual states —
these are common
But by the strength of your devotion
for realization to arise from within
Due to the Lama's blessings:
this is rare
In fact, the teachings say that we are also like illusions and dreams ourselves. Of course, we think that a dream is something unreal when compared with waking life, which we regard as true. For buddhas, however, dreams and the perceptions of the waking state are on an equal footing.
Neither corresponds to reality. They are both false: fluctuating, impermanent, deceptive, and nothing else.
Wealth, success and status are all simply ways of attracting enemies and demons.
Pleasure-seeking practitioners who fail to turn their minds from this life’s concerns sever their connection to the authentic Dharma.
Take care to avoid becoming stubbornly impervious to the teachings.
Limit yourself to just a few activities and undertake them all with diligence.
Not allowing your mind to become fidgety and restless, make yourself comfortable on the seat in your retreat cabin,
This is the surest way to gain the riches of a Dharma practitioner.
Whatever good or bad things people might say, don't take them as true; have no hope or doubt, acceptance or rejection. Let them say whatever they will, as though they were talking about someone already dead and buried.
No one but a qualified guru - not even your own father or mother - can give direct advice. Therefore, keeping control over your own actions, do not hand your nose-rope to others. Outwardly good-natured, you should know how to get along harmoniously with all without 'burning their noses.' But in fact, if anyone - superior or inferior - comes to hinder your practice, you should be unshakable, like an iron boulder pulled by a silk scarf. It won't do to be a weak character whose head bends in whichever direction the wind blows, like grass on a mountain pass.
If you are not content with just a few possessions, for as long as one desire after another arises, the deceptive demon of pleasure will easily enter [your mind].
The ultimate truth of the Great Perfection to appear in your mind is dependent upon the preliminary practices. This is what Drigungpa meant when he said:
"Other spiritual teachings regard the main practice as being profound. We regard the preliminary practice as being profound."
(The Nature of Mind)
No words can describe it
No example can point to it
Samsara does not make it worse
Nirvana does not make it better
It has never been born
It has never ceased
It has never been liberated
It has never been deluded
It has never existed
It has never been nonexistent
It has no limits at all
It does not fall into any kind of category.
Expressing contempt toward the vajra family:
The third is becoming angry toward general, distant, close, and immediate relatives; holding a grudge; and showing jealousy, disrespect, and so forth.
In general, all sentient beings are considered to be our relatives. Even closer are those who have entered the path of Dharma. Closer still are those who have entered the Vajrayana, since those who have the same lama are considered to be children of the same father.
Those who have received empowerment together at the same time are children of the same parents.
Those who received empowerment first are the elders, and those who have received it at the same time are likened to twins born into the mandala simultaneously.
To express or to hold anger in one's mind toward any of these near or distant vajra relatives, or out of jealousy to harm them with body and speech, to speak harshly to them, or to argue with them and express their faults, constitutes the third root downfall.
It is especially important to be careful toward the innermost vajra family, because to fight with or abuse them in any way accrues extremely negative karma that is very difficult to remove. (PC)
Do not allow yourself to become impervious and blasé with regard to the dharma; do not lead yourself astray. Let the profound dharma sink into your mind. Now that you have obtained this excellent life, so hard to find, now that you have the freedom to practice the teachings, don't waste your time. Strive to accomplish the supreme, unchanging goal. For life is passing, and there is no certainty about the time of death. Even if you are to die tomorrow, you should have confidence and be without regret.
Therefore, cultivate a real devotion for your root teacher, and love your vajra kindred, cultivating pure perception in their regard. Fortunate are those disciples who at all times keep their samaya and vows as dearly as their lives. They gain accomplishment quickly. (MN)
Peaceful self-control: the sign of one who’s heard the teachings!
Few defiled emotions are the mark of one who meditates.
Harmony with others is the sign of one who practices.
A blissful heart is witness to accomplishment.
The root of Dharma is your very mind.
Tame it and you’re practicing the Dharma.
To practice Dharma is to tame your mind –
And when you tame it, then you will be free!
Originally, the Buddha revealed the tantras through the mode of the five fully endowed circumstances. The fully endowed teacher, our own Lord Buddha Sakyamuni, has remained from beginningless time as the foundational, originally pure sphere of the primordial wisdom of intrinsic awareness.
In this state of actual awakening, spontaneous presence and primordial wisdom are one. From within this, the one taste of the enlightened intentionality of all the buddhas of the three times remains as the appearance of the embodiment of complete enjoyment, the sambhogakaya.
All objective appearances are in actual nature the self-expression of primordial wisdom, the pure primordial buddha (Samantabhadra). The nonconceptual state, free from grasping and clinging, is the "vajra." The indivisibility of the sphere of truth and primordial wisdom is the "holder." The pure sovereign ruler of all mandalas is the teacher. Thus, the fully endowed teacher is the vajra-holder, Samantabhadra.
The fully endowed place is self-awareness, exceedingly pure and understood as the Akanistha pure realm. The fully endowed assembly, one's own self-projection, appears as the immeasurable mandalas of peaceful and wrathful deities. The fully endowed Dharma is the inexpressible nature of the lucid radiance of primordial wisdom's enlightened intentionality. The fully endowed time is the unchanging sphere of spontaneous, self-originating purity. (PC)
There is not one of us who has not entered the door of the Secret Mantra Vehicle. And once we have done so, if we do not subsequently keep the commitments, we will go to hell; if we do keep them, we will attain Buddhahood. There is no other destination than these two.
The Secret Mantra Vehicle commitments are very subtle, numerous, and difficult to keep. Even Lord Atisha said that after he had entered the Mantra Vehicle, he committed fault after fault in rapid succession.
So for us who have few antidotes, weak mindfulness, and no vigilance (we do not even know the different categories of vows, nor the point at which we break the precepts), there can be no doubt that breaches of our vows are falling on us like rain.
We should therefore do the practice of Vajrasattva every day and recite the hundred syllables twenty-one times. By doing so, our downfalls will be blessed and their fully ripened effect will be prevented from growing greater. And by reciting the hundred-syllable mantra one hundred thousand times, all our downfalls will be eradicated, as the Ornament of the Essence says:
Clearly visualize Vajrasattva
Enthroned on a white lotus and moon:
By reciting twenty-one times
The hundred syllables according to the ritual,
Downfalls and the like will be blessed
And therefore not grow greater.
Thus the greatest accomplished beings have taught,
So do this practice constantly.
If you recite it one hundred thousand times,
You will become the very embodiment of total purity.
Even if, for your own part, you have managed — through your stability in the generation and perfection phases, your mindfulness and vigilance, and so forth — to keep faultless commitments, there are others who may have broken the root commitments, and by mixing with them in conversation, joining with them in the same activities, and even drinking the water from the same valley as they, you will get the faults of transgression by association and of incidental transgression. As the tantra says,
I have kept the company of transgressors, fulfilled their wishes,
Given teachings to them and to those unsuitable.
I have thought nothing of those who’ve broken the commitments
And have in turn been tainted by their defilements and faults.
It is also said:
Like one drop of sour milk
That turns all the milk sour,
One degenerate practitioner
Spoils all the other practitioners.
Breaches of Mantra-Vehicle commitments are easy to purify if we part from them properly. The teachings say that if a single root downfall of the vows of individual liberation occurs and is concealed, it is impossible to repair, like a shattered earthen pot. Root downfalls of the Bodhisattva vow are like broken objects made of a precious metal: they can be repaired with the help of someone else, namely a spiritual friend.
Faults and downfalls in the Secret Mantra Vehicle are like slight dents in a precious metal object: one can completely purify them oneself, using the deity, mantra, and concentration as supports. As long as one parts from them immediately, they are easy to purify, but the longer one waits, the more the fault grows, and the harder it becomes to part from it. After three years, they cannot be purified, even if one attempts to part from them. (TLWF)
The Thief of Meditation
When thoughts come while you are meditating, let them come; there's no need to regard them as your enemies. When they arise, relax in their arising. On the other hand, if they don’t arise, don't be nervously wondering whether or not they will. Just rest in their absence.
If big, well-defined thoughts suddenly appear during your meditation, it is easy to recognize them. But when slight, subtle movements occur, it is hard to realize that they are there until much later. This is what we call namtok wogyu, the undercurrent of mental wandering. This is the thief of your meditation, so it is important for you to keep a close watch. If you can be constantly mindful, both in meditation and afterward, when you are eating, sleeping, walking, or sitting, that's it – you've got it right! (CFMH)
As for the beings grouped together in the three worlds and the six realms, and on account of their individual past deeds, they may be large or small, happy or miserable, given to positive actions or negative ones, fortunate or unlucky, of high or low status — in short, they may have all kinds of good or bad experiences. Yet whether they have long lives lasting kalpas, short lives that are over in barely a moment, or lives of medium length that can be counted in years, months, and days, they all, every one of them, end up dying. No being is exempt from death. As Ashvagosha says,
Of all those born upon this earth
Or in the upper realms,
Did you ever see, or hear, or even pause to doubt
That some were born and have not died? (TLWF)
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.
The altruism of bodhichitta is the path of beings of great potential. Therefore train yourself in the deeds of bodhisattvas, and do this on a grand scale! Shoulder the responsibility of freeing all beings from samsara. Of all the eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha’s teachings, none is more profound than bodhichitta.
Don't look for fame through the Dharma,
But internalize it and let it mingle with your mind.
The truth of the path
While the causal condition for the path is the Buddha-nature, the dominant condition is the sublime teacher, because the path comes about through practicing his or her teachings, and realization of the ground as it is depends on the teacher. The actual practice of the path depends on the individual; the path itself is virtue that combines skillful means and wisdom and serves as the gateway to liberation. It is said in the sutras:
Wisdom accompanied by skillful means is the path.
Skillful means accompanied by wisdom is the path.
And in the Abhidharma texts we find:
The path, in brief, is to fully recognize suffering, to abandon the origin of suffering, to realize cessation, and to follow the path of meditation.
It is by energetically and single-mindedly training in the general and specific stages of the path that comprise the Buddha’s doctrine, matching them to one’s own individual capacity, that one will gradually travel the paths of accumulation, joining, seeing, and meditation, all the way to the end. For the actual attainment of the result depends on practice. (TLWF)
If you gain control over your mind, then even if you are at the point of death, you will understand that it is only because of a particular thought that there is an impression of dying—but that the nature of the mind is utterly beyond both birth and death. It would be excellent if you could gain this confidence.
So keep this little, essential, instruction in your hearts. This conviction and confidence is what we call the Dharma—the inner qualities that you gain. If you vacillate and think of Dharma as something extraneous to you, thought up by somebody else, you will not benefit from it. Instead, do yourself a favor and get out of samsara! Be convinced that your mind must separate from samsara, with its karma and defilements. If you do, everything will be fine. Please practice. Pray constantly that you will have no obstacles on your path and that you might be able to capture, in this very life, the primordial citadel. And I will add my prayers to yours....
At all times, do not lose courage in your inner awareness; uplift yourself, while assuming a humble position in your outer demeanor. Follow the example of the life and complete liberation of previous accomplished masters (siddha). Do not blame your past karma; instead, be someone who purely and flawlessly practices the Dharma. Do not blame temporary negative circumstances; instead, be someone who remains steadfast in the face of whatever circumstances may arise.
In brief, taking your own mind as witness, make your life and practice one, and at the time of death, with no thought of anything left undone, do not be ashamed of yourself. This itself is the pith instruction of all practices. (Heart Advice)
PC - Perfect Conduct
WN - Wisdom Nectar
TLWF - Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom
MN - Magical Nectar: Advice for a Disciple
CFMH - Councels from my Heart