Quotes by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Samsara is mind turned outwardly, lost it its projection. Nirvana is mind turned inwardly, recognising it's nature.
Ordinary people do not question the commonly accepted version of reality. They conform to the standard values of subduing enemies and cherishing friends and family. Materialism, ambition and mundane achievements are the worldly hallmarks of success. We experience the phenomenal world and our minds as solid and truly existent. Very few people doubt these assertions and question their validity. Yet, the process of disbelief is the first step on the spiritual path.
Vajrayana is also represented as the “four great gates”. The first is the gate of mudras, the second is the gate of offerings, the third is the gate of recitation, and the fourth is the gate of samadhi. These are extremely important. When looking at a person who knows these four gates and can manifest or apply them, it seems like a lot of childish play. Practitioners move their hands in the air, carry stuff around, sing different tunes, recite verses and mantras, wear hats and costumes, and so forth. All this looks like childish play, and some people find it extremely superficial and beside the point, whereas the “real thing” is to look into mind-essence. Anyone who says this lacks real understanding, because it is incredibly significant. All four gates are important. Never regard them as pointless or insignificant. It is said that if the three yogas are disconnected from the melodious tunes, the tradition of Vajrayana will fade away and vanish. (DDP)
It is said: "Don't retaliate with anger when attacked with rage. Don't retaliate with abuse when reviled. Don't retaliate with criticism when blamed in public. Don't retaliate with blows when threatened with physical violence." Be patient even if someone actually hits you... Otherwise, if each attack has to be met with revenge, if each hurtful word must be matched with another spiteful word, the cycle never ends. one might think, "I am right !" and say something in return, but the other person will think, "You are wrong!" and counter with more abuse, and so on.
There is an eastern Tibetan saying: "Words are the wellspring of all strife." This is the main reason for staying in silent retreat. The voice is the instigator of quarrels. No one can know what you think inside, only Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. But the tongue, being as nasty as it is, does not want to stay silent, and so being all kinds of quarrels.
When someone attacks you, do not fight back in any way whatsoever. Stay as quiet as a stone; this will allow you to triumph over squabbles. What does it truly matter what other people say? The way of worldly people is to give tit for that, to respond in kindly someone attacks you, so you fight back. That is how disputes begin. The best way, really is to keep your mouth shut as tightly as a squeezed ball of 'tsampa' (Barley flour).
Please understand that all sentient beings, all our parents, want nothing but happiness. Unfortunately, through their negative actions they only create the causes for further pain and suffering. Take this to heart and consider all our parents, wandering blindly and endlessly through painful samsaric states. When we truly take this to heart, out of compassion we feel motivated to achieve enlightenment to truly help all of them. This compassionate attitude is indispensable as a preparation for practice.
Do not divide appearances as being there and awareness as being here. Let appearance and awareness be indivisible.
The Buddha realized that different beings had various capacities, so out of his great compassion and skillful means he gave teachings that were right for different individuals. Although the essence of all teachings of all enlightened ones is to simply let be in recognition of ones own nature, the Buddha taught a lot of complex instructions to satisfy people on all the different levels.
When going up in the mountains there will be less distraction. That is the reason for mountain retreat. In addition to that, if one is able to keep some discipline, remaining in solitude without allowing outsiders to visit and not going out oneself, there will be no other distraction than that made by one's own mind. External distractions have been eliminated. That is the purpose of seclusion.
There are signs of accomplishment, such as having good health and long life or becoming famous and influential, but these belong to the superficial type of accomplishment. The true, unmistaken signs of accomplishment as established by the masters of the lineage, are to possess compassion, devotion and an acute sense of impermanence.
The true sign of practice is that you are naturally and effortlessly without fixation. Also, that you are endowed with devotion, compassion and pure perception, just like the sky is filled with the warmth of sunlight.
It is said that the difference between buddhas and sentient beings is like the difference between the narrowness and the openness of space. Sentient beings are like the space held within a tightly closed fist, while buddhas are fully open, all-encompassing.
Basic space and awareness are innately all-encompassing. Basic space is the absence of mental constructs, while awareness is the 'knowing' of this absence of constructs, recognizing the complete emptiness of mind essence. Space and awareness are inherently indivisible.
Without any duality of perceiver and perceived, there is no way a normal thought can survive; it vanishes. The phrase: ‘single sphere of dharmakaya’ refers simply to this original wakefulness. It is called single or sole, meaning not a duality, whereas the normal thinking mind is dualistic, and is never called single. If this holding onto duality is not dissolved from within, there is the perpetuation of subject and object, perceiver and perceived. Another famous phrase goes: ‘As long as duality does not become oneness, there is no enlightenment.’ When recognising, this duality is dissolved into oneness.
The Buddha sees that all sentient beings are dreaming: they are dreaming the six realms, they are dreaming the four places of rebirth, they are dreaming all their joys and sorrows. When we are on the bodhisattva bhumis, we are just about to wake up from the dream. Only the fully enlightened Buddha is totally awakened.
“Some people may think that the preliminary practices are somehow inferior and that the following main part is deeper and more important. That is not so. As it is said in the Oral Lineage, 'Compared to the main part, the preliminaries are more profound.'
For instance, when we build a house, if the foundation is firm, we can easily construct many hundreds of stories on top. Without stable basis, the whole house, however tall it may be, will never be stable.”
Comment: Some people are only interested in the higher mind teachings like the nature of mind, emptiness and so on. They are not interested in the development practices and purification of afflictions and obscurations of desire, aggression, ignorance, pride and jealousy. It's like they do not have any to purify.
They hear explanation about the View on top of a mountain and think they are seeing it without bothering to make the climb to the top. They read stand alone teachings on Dzogchen and Mahamudra and think that they can cut 'corners' and practice them without foundation and enhancement practices which are not separable from practicing the View.
Seems like they have strong clinging to words, extreme self-confident base on no experience, limited understanding of the whole Path. I guess I am talking about myself.
The worst obstacle for a practitioner is when crowds of followers begin to gather and say, “You are so wonderful, you are such a great practitioner, you are very special. Please give us teachings. Please guide us.”
Starting to have a great following causes the most difficult kind of obstacle because unless one is the foremost type of practitioner, one will think, “Hey, maybe I am special. Maybe there is something to what they say.” Only the foremost type of practitioner will not be carried away by such positive conditions.
When you want to build a temple, you must begin with a solid foundation. If the foundation is firm and steady, you can build a temple with many stories on top of that and everything will remain stable. In exactly the same way, the practice of Dzogchen must have the solid foundation of the preliminaries. Sentient beings, in fact, are obscured by karma and disturbing emotions. For example, although the sun shines unceasingly in the sky, clouds can temporarily cover it. Similarly, sentient beings possess the enlightened essence, Buddha-nature; nevertheless, they become obscured by the different veils of karma and disturbing emotions. In order to remove these veils, we do the preliminary practices of “gathering the accumulations” and “purifying obscurations.” The Tibetan word for guru, or mahasiddha, is lama; one explanation is that “la” refers to “the vital force of all sentient beings”, while “ma” is the “mother of all sentient beings”. This demonstrates that it is “the essence as well as the source of all sentient beings”.
When a qualified master encounters a worthy student it is like iron striking flint, creating fire immediately.
Delusion is like becoming possessed by a spirit during a seance, when someone starts to suddenly hop around and do all kinds of crazy things. This is exactly what has happened to all of us.
Sentient beings are possessed by the ‘spirit’ of ignorance and the 84,000 disturbing emotions, and they are all dancing around doing incredible things. They have undergone all different kinds of pain and misery for so long, aeons upon aeons. But it is a self-created possession. It is not really something from outside.
Buddha nature has lost track of itself and created samsara, but it is also buddha nature, recognizing itself, which clears up the delusion of samsaric existence. The moment of recognition is like the spirit leaving. All of a sudden the possession vanishes. We can’t even say where it went. This is called the ‘collapse of confusion.’ (AII1)
Didn't the Buddha say that the mind in itself has no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no texture, no dharmas? Here,dharma means mental object. He did not call it empty or void, he called it emptiness. This '-ness' means the same as 'ta' in the word dharmata, or tathata. This word 'ta' refers to being cognizant, and this it what we should understand as its meaning.
What the Buddha said exactly was that mind is the unity of empty and cognizance. It is not said that space is emptiness; space is merely empty. This is how to discriminate between space and mind: space is empty and mind is emptiness. This word 'ta' is also used in dharmata, sameness, suchness.
This suffix '-ness' always refers back to the cognizant wakefulness. You never said that awareness is empty, you always say that it is emptiness.
In short, awareness is not only empty, it can also know. This knowing is the cognizant nature when you speak about empty essence, cognizant nature - it is not some brillant light like a light bulb. Do not understand it like that. What it means is a sense of being present like the vivid quality of being wide awake. It is empty of any identity, yet it is naturally awake and not limited to being one or the other; it is not an either-or situation.
Our present situation is like having found a wish-fulfilling jewel. Please don't let it go to waste.
The essential teaching never was to just recognize dualistic mind. That is what all sentient beings are doing all the time—noticing their feelings and thoughts, and then acting upon them. The meditation instruction is not to perpetuate that; it is more than simply recognizing dualistic mind, dualistic thinking. Rather, it is to recognize the essence of this mind. That is the crucial difference. Being caught up in one’s thoughts and acting upon these feelings is the cause of endless samsara. This is being caught up in the expression and not knowing the essence itself.
The two boys were very different
Threatening Chokyi Nyima did have an effect: It made him worse, ensuring he would never listen. So I (Tulku Urgyen) soon figured out it was best to use the voice of reason with him. “What's the use of having the name of a big lama,” I would tell him,“when your monastery is lost in Tibet? Here we are,penniless in a foreign country and some children aren't interested in being educated. Even though they might have been a big lama in their last life, without proper education their only chance for a job will be as a porter, carrying heavy loads down the road in the scorching sun, with sweat pouring down their faces. How sad!
“If only they could have studied while they were young tulkus! There is a Khampa saying: 'Today's meat and cream is tomorrow's shit.'
“Back in Kham we were like cream, and now we are like shit. Unless you study and learn to read and write now, you are going to be in trouble one day, I'm sure. You must have noticed how the porters sweat on the road; you're going to be like them if you don't do your daily lessons:” Once he got the point, Chokyi Nyima had no trouble studying. These gentle re-minders were more effective than a hundred slaps with a cane. He would then even reprimand his younger brother, lecturing him on the virtues of a good education.
However, no matter what you tried with Chokling, it had no effect at all; he would merely laugh at your attempt to reason with him, saying, “What's there to worry about? I can carry a porter's load- l don't care!” (BS)
Sentient beings fixate on thoughts, the true Yogi does not. Sentient beings' thought are like carving on stones; whatever is thought stays, leaving a trace. Whatever the mental act, a trace remains. This is why we must accept that there is karma, there are disturbing emotions and there are habitual patterns. But, on the other hand, the thoughts occurring in a true Yogi's mind are like drawings in air. There is an apparent movement, but it is only seeming because he perceives the nature of his mind. There is no clinging to perceiver and perceived and, hence, no karma accumulation whatsoever.
This is the meaning of unceasing, self-occurring self liberation.
It is not possible to be enlightened while still having obscurations and negative karma. They need to be interrupted and purified, and that is why one does the purification practices and apologises for any negative deeds one has done. There is also another way to thoroughly and perpetually bring an end to negative karma and obscuration. The moment of recognizing mind essence totally interrupts the karma and obscurations, for that moment. It purifies the negative karma that has been continued from the past and it interrupt any creation henceforth. As long as this recognition last, karma and obscurations are completely ended.
Complete stability in the recognition of empty cognizance, therefore, involves the total elimination of all obscurations and negative karma.
AII1 - As it is Vol 1.
DDP - Dzogchen Deity Practice: Meeting Your True Nature
BS - Blazing Splendor
VS - Vajra Speech