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Home > Buddhism > Quotes > Quotes by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Quotes by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

In the degenerated time, the Buddha-Dharma is even more potent, so the degenerated time should not be used as an excuse for discouraging oneself. It should be encouraging.

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How we interpret information and our experiences of the world depends entirely on how much merit we have accumulated.

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Once you understand that real Dharma practice is not just about formal sitting meditation, but a never-ending confrontation with and opposition to pride and ego, as well as a lesson in how to accept change, you will be able to start practising right away.

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Kongtrul Rinpoche suggested we pray to the guru, buddhas and bodhisattvas and ask them to grant their blessings, “So I may give birth to the heart of sadness.” But what is a “heart of sadness”? Imagine one night you have a dream. Although it is a good dream, deep down you know that eventually you will have to wake up and it will be over. In life, too, sooner or later, whatever the state of our relationship, or our health, our jobs and every aspect of our lives, everything, absolute everything, will change. And the little bell ringing in the back of our head to remind you of this inevitability is what is called the “heart of sadness”. Life, you realise, is a race against time, and you should never putt off dharma practice until next year, next month or tomorrow, because the future may never happen. (NFH)

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When you are looking for luck, the door to un-luck opens. Luck is when you are content with whatever you have.

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Awareness is the quintessential teaching of the Buddha–from the awareness of cool air as you breath in and then out, to the profound awareness of natural perfection. And with boundless compassion and courage, the sole purpose and activity of all the buddhas it is to ring the alarm bell that brings us to this awareness.

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If someone is able to hear teachings about emptiness and tolerate them intellectually as well as practically and emotionally, it is an indication that they have a real affinity for the dharma. (NFH)

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All because of Cherishing Oneself...but It's Never Too Late

Right - (རང་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན།) Yes, that’s right. So we were talking about “If you have interest in your own thing, interest, if you have attachment to your self-interest, you are not a bodhisattva". This can be understood on this level which we just talk at. That’s the highest level. Based on this wisdom, of course, even on the relative level - cherishing oneself; let’s assume there is a self. Even on that level, cherishing just oneself but not others, is from the management point of view, is wrong. It does not exist, you know, there is no such thing as me alone having fun, the rest of the people – who cares. It doesn’t work like that. Everything is interdependent.

Oh, I don’t think I have to elaborate too much. The whole situation on this earth is, the deterioration of the earth, is very much to do with cherishing the self. It’s because of that, not because of George Bush at all. It’s very unfair to blame him. It’s because we need to take shower. It’s because we need to, you know, sprinkle water on our mown, eh, this lawn. It’s because we need to drive car, each and every one of us. Stuff like that. And there is like the whole China, India, waiting to do that; already accomplishing to do that. So, actually, eh, someone like George Bush – I think he has purified a lot of the karma, for being the catalyst and the scapegoat for many of, every one of our individuals cherishing the self. So, I don’t think I need to elaborate too much on this. Bodhisattva attitude is really a timely attitude. It’s really one of the, probably, the only strategy to save this earth. It’s not too late - Never too late. (PFTFA)

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If it were not for certain people’s greed for wealth, the highways would be filled with cars powered by the sun, and no one would be starving. Such advances are technologically and physically possible, but apparently not emotionally possible.

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If one knows that everything is impermanent, one does not grasp, and if one does not grasp, one will not think in terms of having or lacking, and therefore one lives fully.

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“THE INNER BUDDHA As Jigme Lingpa said, the moon has all the qualities necessary for its reflection to appear on the surface of a clear lake. If the moon did not have a shape or substance, and if it didn’t reflect the light of the sun, it would not be possible for it to appear on the water’s surface. Furthermore, the quality of clear water is that it can reflect, and when the moon and the water—two entirely separate entities—are perfectly aligned without any obstruction between them, a reflection of the moon will appear effortlessly, without intention. Similarly, our inner Buddha has qualities that enable it to manifest effortlessly and without intention. When there are no obstacles, the Buddha will reflect spontaneously in sentient beings who have the merit. Some” (TGDB)

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You might imagine the tamer your mind, the more likely you are to see the wildness of others, but quite the opposite happens.
A mature practitioner will usually have a far purer perception of others than a beginner. The more enlightened qualities a practitioner acquires, the humbler he will become; the more time he spends with his guru, the greater his devotion; and the more he hears and contemplates the dharma, the quicker his pride and arrogance will diminish.

The supreme sign of a great practitioner is not that he sprouts a halo, has extraordinarily auspicious dreams, experiences bliss continuously, or can foresee our miserable futures. The supreme sign is that he no longer has any interest in material gain, fame, the respect of others, or being the centre of attention. (NFH)

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If you cannot accept that all compounded or fabricated things are impermanent, if you believe that there is some essential substance or concept that is permanent, then you are not a Buddhist.
If you cannot accept that all emotions are pain, if you believe that actually some emotions are purely pleasurable, then you are not a Buddhist.
If you cannot accept that all phenomena are illusory and empty, if you believe that certain things do exist inherently, then you are not a Buddhist.
And if you think that enlightenment exists within the spheres of time, space, and power, then you are not a Buddhist. (WMYB)

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GURU should be Nonjudgmental.
A guru should be able to see a student’s potential and know that any negative quality the student exhibits can be transformed and that therefore that student is a worthy recipient of aspiration.
There should be no competition, no preference for some students to get enlightened faster; it’s not a race. If the guru judges too much, valuable time will be wasted.
Excessive judgment indicates a lack of understanding of the fundamental view of dependent arising and equanimity. A path designed by such a guru will have a panicky and finicky quality. (TGDB)

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People like us have dualistic compassion, whereas the Buddha’s compassion does not involve subject and object. From a Buddha's point of view, compassion could never involve subject and object. This is what is called mahakaruna - great compassion.

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You Should Be Frustrated
Practicing dharma is necessarily a frustrating business. What practitioners, especially beginners, often fail to realise is that frustrations are the signposts of our success.
An exasperating lack of concentration, devotion or inspiration might be just what you need to make the extra effort to tune in to your practise fully.
Alternatively, of course, it may topple you in the other direction and stop you practicing altogether—a temptation you must resist at all costs.
Always remember, though, that frustration with your spiritual path is often an indication that you are becoming a genuine dharma practitioner. (NFH)

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Meet as many lamas as you can, hear as many dharma teachings as possible, particularly if you are eager to pursue the higher paths, and try to socialise with people from the same lineage you are practising.

But try to avoid being distracted by other practices that at first glance appear more attractive than those you are already engaged in.

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…I have been told that ‘smile’ is currently a hashtag for Buddhism. It’s so embarrassing! Vimalakīrti would never have tolerated it. If he were alive today, he would ruthlessly rip apart and demolish the so-called ‘spiritual’ teachings that are currently being touted as the ‘truth’. What would he have to say about Buddhism’s ‘smile’ hashtag, and using ‘mindfulness’ as a therapy, I wonder?
[From “A Celebrity Falls Sick” by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, commentary to the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa-sūtra, free download here: https://khyentsefoundation.org/vimalakirti/]

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Try imagining Guru Rinpoche above your head, or sitting in front of you, or in your heart.
● As you chant the mantra, imagine an uninterrupted stream of nectar flows down from the guru and dissolves into you.
● At night visualise your guru sitting on a lotus in your heart.
● As you eat, imagine your guru in your throat.
● If you are facing an obstacle, perhaps a dispute in your family, or if you are depressed, visualise your guru on your shoulder, wrathfully baring his fangs.
● Longchen Nyingtik Ngöndro practitioners can imagine sparks of fire and scorpions shooting out from Guru Rinpoche’s vajra, the scorpions snapping up each and every obstacle and swallowing them until they are all completely annihilated.
● As death approaches, visualise your guru in the form of red Amitabha and transfer yourself into Amitabha’s heart, again and again.
Imagine that everyone and everything you encounter throughout the day is none other than Guru Rinpoche.
This is quite a profound practice, and beginners may find it a little difficult at first, so start by doing it on an aspirational level. (NFH)

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"There is a prayer where Jigme Lingpa* says, “Buddhists and Bodhisattvas, please make sure that what ever I want never happens.” Buddhist blessings, he said is when 100 things that you wish never come true but 1,000 things that you dare not wish come true. That’s Buddha’s blessing. So, if you are a serious Dharma practitioner, you are fulfilling your wish when things are going wrong. You are seeing the truth, actualising it and when that is happening, you should see it as a blessing."

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Mind's ultimate nature, emptiness endowed with vividness,
I was told is the real Buddha.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of hierarchy.

Mind's ultimate nature, its emptiness aspect,
I was told is the real Dharma.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of political correctness.

Mind's ultimate nature, its vivid aspect,
I was told is the real Sangha
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of equal rights.

One cannot disassociate emptiness from vividness.
This inseparability I was told is the Guru.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with depending on chauvinist lamas.

This nature of mind has never been stained by duality,
This stainlessness I was told is the deity.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with the categories of "gender" or "culture."

This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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By and large, human beings tend to prefer to fit in to society by following accepted rules of etiquette and being gentle, polite, and respectful. The irony is that this is also how most people imagine a spiritual person should behave. When a so-called dharma practitioner is seen to behave badly, we shake our heads over her audacity at presenting herself as a follower of the Buddha. Yet such judgments are better avoided, because to “fit in” is not what a genuine dharma practitioner strives for.

Think of Tilopa, for example. He looked so outlandish that if he turned up on your doorstep today, you probably would refuse to let him in. And you would have a point. He would most likely be almost completely naked; if you were lucky, he might be wearing some kind of G-string; his hair would never have been introduced to shampoo; and protruding from his mouth would quiver the tail of a live fish. What would your moral judgment be of such a being? “Him! A Buddhist?” This is how our theistic, moralistic, and judgmental minds work. Of course, there is nothing wrong with morality, but the point of spiritual practice, according to the vajrayana teachings, is to go beyond all our concepts, including those of morality.

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ON REBIRTH. “If you go on telling a Madhyamika philosopher saying that ‘I believe in this life but I do not believe in next life’ then it's almost like you going to a master chef with a boiling water and egg inside, and saying, "I believe the water is boiling and I believe there is a fire but I do not believe that the egg is going to be cooked." It is like that, you understand? You believe in cause and condition but you don't believe in effect. So they will immediately put you into the category of believer of neither [which is one of the extremes]. " London 22. June 1996.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnl1JkHr9LE

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You can search as much as you want

Chandrakirti has no problem if you are searching [for something that is not empty, impermanent or wholly dukkha]. Chandrakirti has a problem if you find something.

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Right motivation

No matter which dharma practice you engage in, from ngondro to offering a single candle, always do it with the intention that your practice will benefit all sentient beings. In this context, benefit does not only mean giving practical help, such as offering food or medicine, or feeding people’s emotions, egos and delusions. Here, benefit includes aspiring to be instrumental in the enlightenment of all sentient beings; without such an aspiration, it is easy for dharma practice to become self-serving.

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A genuine tantrika

The legendary udumbara flower is said to bloom only once every 3,000 years. Even rarer is the appearance of the Buddha on this planet earth. And rarer even than the appearance of the Buddha is the tantric teaching. Likewise, to see an authentic tantrika and mantrika is extremely rare. Being well-versed in tantric wisdom and well-equipped with tantric substances and outfits does not make an authentic tantrika. A mantrika is someone beyond inhibition, assumption and fear and yet completely at ease with those frantically caught in hope and fear.

We read of such tantrikas during the times of Saraha, Virupa, Nagarjuna, Naropa and Padmasambhava. Those of us fortunate to have encountered Dagchen Rinpoche have actually witnessed such an authentic tantrika in this very lifetime. Yet another extraordinary role model has now passed.

In my deluded view there are hardly any such genuine tantrikas left on this earth. From the depths of my heart I beseech those remaining to live long. May their utter genuineness always make us uneasy and self-conscious as we trot out our endless panoply of excuses and dodgy reasons. And may we constantly hold such great beings in complete awe.

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Tragic nostalgia
Most of the time we are trying to make the good things last, or we are thinking about replacing them with something even better in the future, or we are sunk in the past, reminiscing about happier times. Ironically, we never truly appreciated the experience for which we are nostalgic because we were too busy clinging to our hopes and fears at the time.

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Truth is hard to swallow

Life is nothing more than a continuous stream of sensory illusions, from the obvious ones, like fame and power, to those less easy to discern, like death, nosebleeds and headaches. Tragically, though, most human beings believe in what they see, and so the truth Buddha exposed about the illusory nature of life can be a little hard to swallow.

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Modern Illusions

Millions of people in this world are interested in some version of meditation, or yoga, or one of the many so-called spiritual activities that are now so widely marketed. A closer look at why people engage in these practices reveals an aim that has little to do with liberation from delusion, and everything do to with their desperation to escape busy, unhappy lives, and heartfelt longing for a healthy, stress-free, happy life. All of which are romantic illusions. So, where do we find the roots of these illusions? Mainly in our habitual patterns and their related actions. Of course, no one of sound mind imagines any of us would willingly live an illusion. But we are contrary beings, and even though we are convinced we would shun a life built on self-deception, we continue to maintain a strong grip on the habits that are the cause of countless delusions.

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Reflections of the moon on a lake

The great Longchenpa said, when the moon rises and when there is a clear lake, even though you may not wish it, the moon is reflected in the lake. Likewise, as long as sentient beings have merit, the image of the Buddha and his teachings and his blessing are reflected, even though you don't search for them. But if the lake is murky and defiled and not clear, even though the moon is shining in the clear sky, the reflection of the moon doesn't exist.

Likewise, even though the compassion of the Buddha is infinite and ever-present, if there is no merit among sentient beings for the Buddhas to reflect, then the chance of communication with the Buddha probably does not exist. However, judging not just from us, but from everything that is going on regarding the activity of the Dharma, I feel that we sentient beings still have a lot of merit.

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Sentient beings are like silkworms, create their own traps and die in them. (NFH)

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By understanding emptiness, you lose interest in all of the trappings and beliefs that society builds up and tears down - political systems, science and technology, global economy, free society, the United Nations. You become like an adult who is not so interested in children's games.

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PFTFA - Parting from the Four Attachments, (Seattle, 2011)




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