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Quotes by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

To be a meditator, there has to be some piece of bone in the heart, nyingru in Tibetan. Think how much people go through to become a ballerina or pianist. Without that bone in the heart, how could they succeed? Then, to become enlightened, you definitely must have that bone on the heart and not think that everything should come easily to you, without any inconvenience or discomfort. That kind of impediment, once it seizes you, can be difficult to overcome. You can't be a pampered meditator, pampered dharma practitioner.

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Emptiness doesn’t exist in isolation from appearance. The two truths are always in union in that way.

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It's important to state at the outset that emptiness doesn't refer to a void or black hole. It is not the same as nonexistence. To say that a person or thing is "empty" simply means that it doesn't exist in the intrinsic way we think it does. When we say phenomena are empty, we mean that we can't grasp them or pin them down. It doesn't mean that they don't function or appear to our senses.

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Devotion doesn't require any other resources than supplicating from the depth of one's heart with faith. But you don't become devout just in one moment; you rely on the cumulative experience of your habit of devotion and faith. Those experiences provide us with evidence and are the opposite of blind faith.

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Hearing wisdom is boundless, immeasurable, and one mark of it is humility because of your awe of the depth there is to plumb as well as those before you who have accumulated much wisdom.

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Realizing interdependence leads us to the naked understanding of reality beyond the extremes of existence and nonexistence—reality empty of all conceptual contrivances. A disciple of the Buddha once asked him, “What is emptiness?” The Buddha then entered the nonverbal state of meditation. Manjushri explained that this was the Buddha’s expression free of all contrivances, a state of non-grasping and freedom from shenpa. There is not much to say about the nature of emptiness. The only characteristic you could say it possesses is a freedom from all characteristics. If you want to know more about the meaning of emptiness, you’ll have to sit on your cushion and find out for yourself.

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If someone is to become a practitioner, a true student of Dharma, that person has to know that practice is an essential part of one's life, intimately interwoven with one's own experience. Of course, we need to keep our jobs. We need to be responsible with our family. We need to do a lot of different things in our lives, but none of these become essential. Rather, they become important in support of what we find the most meaningful in life — becoming a student of Dharma, a practitioner of Dharma. All these other things are simply in support of that. In this way, then, our interest in the Dharma and practice will not wane over time. It gets stronger as we directly experience its results and benefits.

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Altruism has no hidden agenda. It is a heart that has open love and care for all and the absence of self-centeredness.

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Aggression fixes its logic on the wrongness of other and always possesses the distinctive feature of aversion. We see that aggression results, to some degree or another, in our not responding well to situations. We lose our poise and dignity and get all keyed up like a nervous little dog barking and jumping around, trying to intimidate others.

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If you want any courage and well being that comes from holding your own seat, it has to come from knowing your mind, and knowing what the world is made of as a product of your thoughts. One will be able to ride gracefully through life with this understanding.

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If you could have anything you desire, the best thing to wish for would be a mind of kindness, for that is the source of all happiness.

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The Three Yanas and the Beetle: How each level of Buddhist practice approaches saving a beetle from drowning in a pool of water.

In the Hinayana, we save the beetle because of our vow to not harm any living being and to practice non-violence, ahimsa.

In the Mahayana, we help because the beetle is a life, a mother sentient being, and just like us is striving to be happy and free from suffering in everything it does. Also we never know our connection to beings; the beetle could be the rebirth of a loved one we have lost. So we honor that and save the beetle.

In the Vajrayana, we recognize the enlightened nature of all beings and see the beetle's essence as dharmata that likewise pervades all beings equally. We save the beetle as we recognize the three kayas of the beetle's enlightened nature.

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If there's any way to secure our well-being in the face of death, it is by knowing life to be illusory. Not by holding on to life, and life's attachments, and wanting to keep them all intrinsic.

If we can see life is illusory, and that life's very nature is emptiness, then just like a child being born in a dream, though born, there is no realness to that child. Then how could death for that child be ever real?

So hopefully in that our hour, we will have that experience. We must make an aspiration to have that experience, and therefore not feel so much of a loss, or despair and fright to face the unknown.

In essence, at the time of dissolution, if you could understand all up to that point was illusion, then death will be illusion too.

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If you practice unnaturally, you won’t be able to maintain the show.

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Feeling this warm expression of our heart, and being able to express that in the moment, is the happiness that we all long for. Without that, is anything really happiness in life?

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There is no such thing as a vacation from working with our mind. We should continually contemplate how we can go deeper in our practice. Mind training requires nothing external, not even a cushion. All we need is a mind, and that we always have.

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Once the four thoughts that turn the mind towards the dharma dawn in your mind, to know what to do next is very simple. Take refuge in your heart in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Generate bodhicitta. In order to generate bodhicitta, establish your mind in the four immeasurables firmly, deeply, profoundly, one-pointedly, without any hestiations or self-doubts. (ST)

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A good practitioner trains oneself continually, proactively, repeatedly, so that relations become like good wine, like a good Bordeaux, getting only better with age rather than turning to vinegar. He or she finds only more things to appreciate about the other person over time; more things to really trust and rely on and depend on that previously there wasn’t perhaps a ground to do so. You choose not to know what the other would say right away, but instead grow in the relationship with mutual support, mutual ease, mutual appreciation for the common bond.

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Many people are afraid of being brainwashed by religion. But there is no fear of brainwashing in Buddhism; we know we are already brainwashed by ego. Because ego does nothing but create pain and suffering, Buddhism is about getting unbrainwashed. It’s about waking up from this hypnotic state of subservience to ego. Through meditation and self-reflection, our own awareness bears witness to ego’s “indoctrination”. (IUTY)

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When we stop ignoring the futility of samsara, we enter the path of liberation. Without self-reflection, we can't take this step. Habitual tendencies cause us to ignore impermanence, karma, and the suffering of samsara.

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Liberation is found wherever discursive thoughts truly dissolve. Whether they spin to the left or the right or around in circles, thoughts are just thoughts. They are dissolved through practice and a sense of humor.

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Psychological and emotional well-being comes from two things, and I feel inspired by people whom I have observed. I would like to encourage you to have these two qualities: positive thinking and much love in the heart. (TTT)

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The Uniqueness of Dharma

Other than the Dharma, we cannot find teachings that express a complete understanding of our own innate mind, how our confusion begins and, ultimately, how it stops.
alities: positive thinking and much love in the heart. (TTT)

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The phenomenal world is much more fascinating and juicy when we stop grasping… wanting… craving. This is because the mind is present, the senses wide open, and the conceptual mind relaxed. We make tremendous space in our mind when we let go of this “can’t live without it” desperation.

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IUTY - It's Up to You: The Practice of Self-Reflection on the Buddhist Path
ST - Shedra Teachings
TTT - Tsewa: Training in Tenderness



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