ombuddha

The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that
I am here and you are out there.
Yasutani Roshi.

There is a Buddhist practice in which one imagines giving joy and the source of all joy to other people, thereby removing all their suffering. Though of course we cannot change their situation, I do feel that in some cases, through a genuine sense of caring and compassion, through our sharing in their plight, our attitude can help alleviate their suffering, if only mentally. However, the main point of this practice is to increase our inner strength and courage. I have chosen a few lines that I feel would be acceptable to people of all faiths, and even to those with no spiritual belief. When reading these lines, if you are a religious practitioner, you can reflect upon the divine form that you worship. Then, while reciting these verses, make the commitment to enhance your spiritual values. If you are not religious, you can reflect upon the fact that, fundamentally, all beings are equal to you in their wish for happiness and their desire to overcome suffering. Recognizing this, you make a pledge to develop a good heart. It is most important that we have a warm heart. As long as we are part of human society, it is very important to be a kind, warm-hearted person.
May the poor find wealth, Those weak with sorrow find joy. May the forlorn find new hope, Constant happiness and prosperity.
May the frightened cease to be afraid, And those bound be free. May the weak find power, And may their hearts join in friendship.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Photo by Josh Teng.

There is a Buddhist practice in which one imagines giving joy and the source of all joy to other people, thereby removing all their suffering. Though of course we cannot change their situation, I do feel that in some cases, through a genuine sense of caring and compassion, through our sharing in their plight, our attitude can help alleviate their suffering, if only mentally. However, the main point of this practice is to increase our inner strength and courage.
I have chosen a few lines that I feel would be acceptable to people of all faiths, and even to those with no spiritual belief. When reading these lines, if you are a religious practitioner, you can reflect upon the divine form that you worship. Then, while reciting these verses, make the commitment to enhance your spiritual values. If you are not religious, you can reflect upon the fact that, fundamentally, all beings are equal to you in their wish for happiness and their desire to overcome suffering. Recognizing this, you make a pledge to develop a good heart. It is most important that we have a warm heart. As long as we are part of human society, it is very important to be a kind, warm-hearted person.

May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy.
May the forlorn find new hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.

May the frightened cease to be afraid,
And those bound be free.
May the weak find power,
And may their hearts join in friendship.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Photo by Josh Teng.

When I was in India living close to Tibetan monks and lamas, I was often surprised at the apparently easy-going, laid-back way in which many of them seemed to live their practice. They often responded to my intensity and fervor with the expression kale kalepe TOnang (literally “please go slowly”). Essentially, what they were saying was take it easy, go slowly, and you get there. They seemed highly amused by the attitude I had towards my practice, as though they could not understand why I was so driven. They did not have the underlying emotional disposition in their psyches that said they were not good enough. This does not mean they did not practice and work hard. It meant that they let things be and did not have the neurotic intensity of striving many of us suffer from in the West.
Rob Preece.
Photo by Anorak’s Appendix.

When I was in India living close to Tibetan monks and lamas, I was often surprised at the apparently easy-going, laid-back way in which many of them seemed to live their practice. They often responded to my intensity and fervor with the expression kale kalepe TOnang (literally “please go slowly”). Essentially, what they were saying was take it easy, go slowly, and you get there. They seemed highly amused by the attitude I had towards my practice, as though they could not understand why I was so driven. They did not have the underlying emotional disposition in their psyches that said they were not good enough. This does not mean they did not practice and work hard. It meant that they let things be and did not have the neurotic intensity of striving many of us suffer from in the West.

Rob Preece.

Photo by Anorak’s Appendix.

Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come—to them, their wives, their children, their friends—catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair! […] To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death. […] We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.
Montagnie.
Photo by Pedro Flores.

Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come—to them, their wives, their children, their friends—catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair! […]
To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death. […] We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere.
To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.

Montagnie.

Photo by Pedro Flores.

As human beings, we are all the same. So there is no need to build some kind of artificial barrier between us. At least my own experience is that if you have this kind of attitude, there is no barrier. Whatever I feel, I can express; I can call you ‘my old friend’. There is nothing to hide, and no need to say things in a way that is not straightforward. So this gives me a kind of space in my mind, with the result that I do not have to be suspicious of others all the time. And this really gives me inner satisfaction, and inner peace. So I call this feeling a ‘genuine realization of the oneness of the whole of humanity’. We are all members of one human family. I think that this understanding is very important, especially now that the world is becoming smaller and smaller. In ancient times, even in a small village, people were able to exist more or less independently. There was not so much need for others’ co-operation. These days, the economic structure has completely changed[…] We are heavily dependent on one another, and also as a result of mass communication, the barriers of the past are greatly reduced. Today, because of the complexity of interdependence, every crisis on this planet is essentially related with every other, like a chain reaction. Consequently it is worthwhile taking every crisis as a global one. Here barriers such as ‘this nation’ or ‘that nation’ , ‘this continent’, or ‘that continent’ are simply obstacles. Therefore today, for the future of the human race, it is more important than ever before that we develop a genuine sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. I usually call this a sense of ‘universal responsibility’.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Photo by Krista Troy.

As human beings, we are all the same. So there is no need to build some kind of artificial barrier between us. At least my own experience is that if you have this kind of attitude, there is no barrier. Whatever I feel, I can express; I can call you ‘my old friend’. There is nothing to hide, and no need to say things in a way that is not straightforward. So this gives me a kind of space in my mind, with the result that I do not have to be suspicious of others all the time. And this really gives me inner satisfaction, and inner peace. So I call this feeling a ‘genuine realization of the oneness of the whole of humanity’. We are all members of one human family. I think that this understanding is very important, especially now that the world is becoming smaller and smaller. In ancient times, even in a small village, people were able to exist more or less independently. There was not so much need for others’ co-operation. These days, the economic structure has completely changed[…] We are heavily dependent on one another, and also as a result of mass communication, the barriers of the past are greatly reduced. Today, because of the complexity of interdependence, every crisis on this planet is essentially related with every other, like a chain reaction. Consequently it is worthwhile taking every crisis as a global one. Here barriers such as ‘this nation’ or ‘that nation’ , ‘this continent’, or ‘that continent’ are simply obstacles. Therefore today, for the future of the human race, it is more important than ever before that we develop a genuine sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. I usually call this a sense of ‘universal responsibility’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Photo by Krista Troy.

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.
Photo by Danny Burton.

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.

Photo by Danny Burton.

The essence of our experience is change. Change is incessant. Moment by moment life flows by and it is never the same. Perpetual alteration is the essence of the perceptual universe. A thought springs up in your head and half a second later, it is gone. In comes another one, and that is gone too. A sound strikes your ears and then silence. Open your eyes and the world pours in, blink and it is gone. People come into your life and they leave again. Friends go, relatives die. Your fortunes go up and they go down. Sometimes you win and just as often you lose. It is incessant: change, change, change. No two moments ever the same.There is not a thing wrong with this. It is the nature of the universe. But human culture has taught you some odd responses to this endless flowing. We categorize experiences. We try to stick each perception, every mental change in this endless flow into one of three mental pigeon holes. It is good, or it is bad, or it is neutral. Then, according to which box we stick it in, we perceive with a set of fixed habitual mental responses. If a particular perception has been labeled ‘good’, then we try to freeze time right there. We grab onto that particular thought, we fondle it, we hold it, we try to keep it from escaping. When that does not work, we go all-out in an effort to repeat the experience which caused that thought. Let us call this mental habit ‘grasping’. Over on the other side of the mind lies the box labeled ‘bad’. When we perceive something ‘bad’, we try to push it away. We try to deny it, reject it, get rid of it any way we can. We fight against our own experience. We run from pieces of ourselves. Let us call this mental habit ‘rejecting’. Between these two reactions lies the neutral box. Here we place the experiences which are neither good nor bad. They are tepid, neutral, uninteresting and boring. We pack experience away in the neutral box so that we can ignore it and thus return our attention to where the action is, namely our endless round of desire and aversion. This category of experience gets robbed of its fair share of our attention. Let us call this mental habit ‘ignoring’. The direct result of all this lunacy is a perpetual treadmill race to nowhere, endlessly pounding after pleasure, endlessly fleeing from pain, endlessly ignoring 90 percent of our experience. Then wondering why life tastes so flat. In the final analysis, it’s a system that does not work.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana.
Photo by Kate B Dixon.

The essence of our experience is change. Change is incessant. Moment by moment life flows by and it is never the same. Perpetual alteration is the essence of the perceptual universe. A thought springs up in your head and half a second later, it is gone. In comes another one, and that is gone too. A sound strikes your ears and then silence. Open your eyes and the world pours in, blink and it is gone. People come into your life and they leave again. Friends go, relatives die. Your fortunes go up and they go down. Sometimes you win and just as often you lose. It is incessant: change, change, change. No two moments ever the same.There is not a thing wrong with this. It is the nature of the universe. But human culture has taught you some odd responses to this endless flowing. We categorize experiences. We try to stick each perception, every mental change in this endless flow into one of three mental pigeon holes. It is good, or it is bad, or it is neutral. Then, according to which box we stick it in, we perceive with a set of fixed habitual mental responses. If a particular perception has been labeled ‘good’, then we try to freeze time right there. We grab onto that particular thought, we fondle it, we hold it, we try to keep it from escaping. When that does not work, we go all-out in an effort to repeat the experience which caused that thought. Let us call this mental habit ‘grasping’. Over on the other side of the mind lies the box labeled ‘bad’. When we perceive something ‘bad’, we try to push it away. We try to deny it, reject it, get rid of it any way we can. We fight against our own experience. We run from pieces of ourselves. Let us call this mental habit ‘rejecting’. Between these two reactions lies the neutral box. Here we place the experiences which are neither good nor bad. They are tepid, neutral, uninteresting and boring. We pack experience away in the neutral box so that we can ignore it and thus return our attention to where the action is, namely our endless round of desire and aversion. This category of experience gets robbed of its fair share of our attention. Let us call this mental habit ‘ignoring’. The direct result of all this lunacy is a perpetual treadmill race to nowhere, endlessly pounding after pleasure, endlessly fleeing from pain, endlessly ignoring 90 percent of our experience. Then wondering why life tastes so flat. In the final analysis, it’s a system that does not work.

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana.

Photo by Kate B Dixon.

Do not accept any of my words on faith, Believing them just because I said them. Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns, And critically examines his product for authenticity. Only accept what passes the test By proving useful and beneficial in your life.
The Buddha.
Photo by Duncan Kluwak.

Do not accept any of my words on faith,
Believing them just because I said them.
Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns,
And critically examines his product for authenticity.
Only accept what passes the test
By proving useful and beneficial in your life.

The Buddha.

Photo by Duncan Kluwak.

Past has passed away. Future has not arrived. Present does not remain. Nothing is reliable; everything must change. You hold on to letters and names in vain, forcing yourself to believe in them. Stop chasing new knowledge. Leave old views behind. Study the essential and then see through it. When there is nothing left to see through, then you will know your mistaken views.
Ryokan.
Photo by 克里斯多福 (Kristoffer).

Past has passed away.
Future has not arrived.
Present does not remain.
Nothing is reliable; everything must change.
You hold on to letters and names in vain,
forcing yourself to believe in them.
Stop chasing new knowledge.
Leave old views behind.
Study the essential
and then see through it.
When there is nothing left to see through,
then you will know your mistaken views.

Ryokan.

Photo by 克里斯多福 (Kristoffer).

At the moment of enlightenment the concept of an experiencer who is having an experience totally dissolves. It is analogous to what would happen to a salt doll who jumped into the ocean to see what it was like; the doll would become one with the ocean that it was experiencing.
Matthew Flickstein.
Photo by Franek N.

At the moment of enlightenment the concept of an experiencer who is having an experience totally dissolves. It is analogous to what would happen to a salt doll who jumped into the ocean to see what it was like; the doll would become one with the ocean that it was experiencing.

Matthew Flickstein.

Photo by Franek N.

To end the bizarre tyranny of ego is why we take the spiritual path, but the resourcefulness of ego is almost infinite, and it can at every stage sabotage and pervert our desire to be free of it. The truth is simple, and the teachings are extremely clear; but I have seen again and again, with great sadness, that as soon as they begin to touch and move us, ego tries to complicate them, because it knows it is fundamentally threatened. However hard ego may try to sabotage the spiritual path, if you really continue on it, and work deeply with the practice of meditation, you will begin slowly to realize just how gulled you have been by ego’s promises: false hopes and false fears. Slowly you begin to understand that both hope and fear are enemies of your peace of mind; hopes deceive you, and leave you empty and disappointed, and fears paralyze you in the narrow cell of your false identity. You begin to see also just how all-encompassing the sway of ego has been over your mind, and in the space of freedom opened up by meditation, when you are momentarily released from grasping, you glimpse the exhilarating spaciousness of your true nature.
Sogyal Rinpoche.
Photo by David Gabriel Fischer.

To end the bizarre tyranny of ego is why we take the spiritual path, but the resourcefulness of ego is almost infinite, and it can at every stage sabotage and pervert our desire to be free of it. The truth is simple, and the teachings are extremely clear; but I have seen again and again, with great sadness, that as soon as they begin to touch and move us, ego tries to complicate them, because it knows it is fundamentally threatened.
However hard ego may try to sabotage the spiritual path, if you really continue on it, and work deeply with the practice of meditation, you will begin slowly to realize just how gulled you have been by ego’s promises: false hopes and false fears. Slowly you begin to understand that both hope and fear are enemies of your peace of mind; hopes deceive you, and leave you empty and disappointed, and fears paralyze you in the narrow cell of your false identity. You begin to see also just how all-encompassing the sway of ego has been over your mind, and in the space of freedom opened up by meditation, when you are momentarily released from grasping, you glimpse the exhilarating spaciousness of your true nature.

Sogyal Rinpoche.

Photo by David Gabriel Fischer.

Though one were to live a hundred years without wisdom and with a mind unstilled by meditation, the life of a single day is better if one is wise and practises meditation.
The Buddha.
Photo by Peter Hearn.

Though one were to live a hundred years without wisdom and with a mind unstilled by meditation, the life of a single day is better if one is wise and practises meditation.

The Buddha.

Photo by Peter Hearn.

Buddhist thinking relies more on investigation than on faith. Therefore, scientific findings are very helpful to Buddhist thinking. In my experience, Buddhist views may also give scientists a new way to look at their own field, as well as new interest and enthusiasm.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Photo by Nicola Corneo.

Buddhist thinking relies more on investigation than on faith. Therefore, scientific findings are very helpful to Buddhist thinking. In my experience, Buddhist views may also give scientists a new way to look at their own field, as well as new interest and enthusiasm.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Photo by Nicola Corneo.

If a hundred people sleep and dream, each of them will experience a different world in his dream. Everyone’s dream might be said to be true, but it would be meaningless to ascertain that only one person’s dream was the true world and all others were fallacies. There is truth for each perceiver according to the karmic patterns conditioning his perceptions.
Kalu Rinpoche.
Photo by Paul Emmanuel.

If a hundred people sleep and dream, each of them will experience a different world in his dream. Everyone’s dream might be said to be true, but it would be meaningless to ascertain that only one person’s dream was the true world and all others were fallacies. There is truth for each perceiver according to the karmic patterns conditioning his perceptions.

Kalu Rinpoche.

Photo by Paul Emmanuel.

Dying without fear takes a great deal of trust, a trust that can help us live with more faith, if we can understand our need to control. Death teaches us the power of letting be, of noninterference and surrender. The process of dying is completely natural. The laws of nature govern death as they do our lives. It is difficult to understand the power of not doing, of leaving these natural laws alone, when we have always attempted to act our own course. Death can teach us when to leave things alone and when to act.
Rodney Smith.
Photo by Adryel Talamantes.

Dying without fear takes a great deal of trust, a trust that can help us live with more faith, if we can understand our need to control. Death teaches us the power of letting be, of noninterference and surrender. The process of dying is completely natural. The laws of nature govern death as they do our lives. It is difficult to understand the power of not doing, of leaving these natural laws alone, when we have always attempted to act our own course. Death can teach us when to leave things alone and when to act.

Rodney Smith.

Photo by Adryel Talamantes.

We should surrender our intention to selfishly seek merit and recognition for our merit, and instead simply plant merit and cultivate wisdom.
Jae Woong Kim.
Photo by Mike Broderick.

We should surrender our intention to selfishly seek merit and recognition for our merit, and instead simply plant merit and cultivate wisdom.

Jae Woong Kim.

Photo by Mike Broderick.