Quotes by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
â€¦In general, people are prone to transfer to Dharma the attitudes of their day-to-day worldly habits. In the West a lot of thought and effort have gone into making life easyâ€”push a button and things go on, push another and they go off. Things are made so that they are ready to function immediately. So people approach Dharma as if it, too, should be something easy, something similar to manipulating a material object. They approach Dharma with their habitual speediness, grafting onto it their attitudes toward the material world. Dharma has nothing to do with oneâ€™s attitudes toward the material world. Dharma has to do with working with oneâ€™s mind and so requires a completely different attitude. If one takes a speedy approach to Dharma, one simply creates a lot of problems, but if one is open and relaxed about it, things become much easier.
â€” Thinley Norbu, from â€œEchoes: The Boudhanath Teachingsâ€
"The wish to understand the true nature of mind by relying on technology is due to the fault of not having awakened one’s Buddha nature, and because of that, the absolute and relative nature of one’s uncompounded mind just as it is cannot be recognized even slightly, which is the reason for relying only on the compounded gross material substance of technology. While examining the qualities of one’s own and others’ practice by bringing together a machine and the one who uses the machine, if any special conception arises about its being good, bad, high, or low, it will only be a fragmented, deluded interdependent conception that momentarily appears, and not nonconceptual enlightened body and wisdom, which are inconceivable. It will just be like children blowing bubbles in the air and trying to catch these rainbow-colored bubbles with their hands. As Santideva says about the dream of a barren woman: For example, a barren woman dreams her son is dead. When she awakens, she thinks that she has no son. That conception of not having a son comes from the conception of having a son. So, both of these conceptions are obstacles and also delusion."
If we are smiling, this doesn’t mean we are kind; it is fear.
Thinley Norbu, from “Gypsy Gossip and Other Advice”
â€” Rinpoche, would you like to be powerful?
I would like to be powerful if I could have absolute trust in wisdom mind, which is never overcome by ordinary spiritual or technical power. This means I would constantly practice with bad and good circumstances. When bad circumstances such as poverty, sickness, suffering, bad reputation, or insult arose, I would see that poverty came from stinginess, sickness and suffering from violence toward others, bad reputation from jealousy, and insults from conceit. And I would not want to blame others for these circumstances, but rather would realize that they arose from previous karma and that they are just illusions created by my dualistic mind. I would acknowledge their karmic cause and try to purify them through skillful means. When good circumstances arose, such as wealth, health, good reputation, and praise, I would see my wealth to have come from previous generosity, my health from love and kindness toward other beings, and my good reputation from praise toward others. As these good circumstances arose, I would dedicate them for the benefit of all sentient beings, and, once more recognizing them to be illusions from my dualistic mind, I would try not to make them real by grasping or boasting about them. If I were to examine the origin of all these bad or good phenomena, I would discover that they were created by dualistic mind. I would discover that bad or good circumstances appear to be real only in relative truth, and that the difference between them is just like that between black and white clouds; though their essence is the same, they appear to have different aspects. I would see that the objects and subjects of my bad and good experiences are just temporary and illusory, disappearing into selfless awareness as black and white clouds disappear into the sky. Then bad circumstances would not disturb me because I would have confidence through the recognition of my own selfless mind. So, I would no longer create my own suffering by grasping at or complaining about them. In that way, there would no longer be dependence on or influence by bad or good objects. Thus, my facial expression would be stable and pure, not rapidly changing like a cowardâ€™s face; my speech would always be beneficial, smooth, and true, rather than loose and senselessly blurting like that of a delirious person; and my mind would be deep, clean, and unfathomable like the ocean, rather than shallow and scatterbrained. And since no one would know what is happening in it, no one could influence it and it would always remain pure. But Iâ€™m afraid that if bad or good circumstances arose before I managed to attain wisdom mind power, my remembering mind, never being on time, would miss the target. Iâ€™m afraid that should I achieve power when worldly opportunity arose, I would use it stupidly over others for my own benefit. And Iâ€™m afraid that when my impermanent worldly power was finally exhausted, those whom I had oppressed would take revenge. If that happened, I would become so pathetic and my suffering would be so great that even if I ate delicious food, there would be no taste, and if I slept in a comfortable bed, there would be no sleep. So, Iâ€™d better try to stay in ordinary mind, rather than use worldly ego power or try to achieve egoless wisdom power.
â€” Thinley Norbu, from â€œGypsy Gossip and Other Adviceâ€
I would like to be a disciple without being one, without hope of learning. I would like to find through my good karma, auspicious dreams, searching, or through friends, an intelligent and expert, powerful wisdom teacher to show me the truly correct path until the final result. It does not matter if he teaches in a hierarchical style, if he is a gypsy, a beautiful or terrible lady, a monk or nun, a god or demon, a layman or holy man, a janitor or craftsman. And as I would spend more time with this teacher, my actions, seeing, hearing, and thinking would automatically benefit myself and other beings as they would turn into practice. I would become more kind, profound, clear, and trustful.
— Thinley Norbu, from “Gypsy Gossip and Other Advice”