Why be unhappy?

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dala...

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama, is the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Photographed during his visit in Cologno Monzese MI, Italy, on december 8th, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether we are suffering at present or have suffered in the past, there is no reason to be unhappy. If we can remedy it, then why be unhappy? And if we cannot, there’s no use in being unhappy about it—it’s just one more thing to be unhappy about, which serves no purpose at all. ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama, “Enduring the Fires”

 

When we are angry we are blind to reality.

dalai_lama-8

Image by kermitlab via Flickr ~ HH The 14th Dalai Lama

When we are angry we are blind to reality.

Anger may bring us a temporary burst of energy, but that energy is blind and it blocks the part of our brain that distinguishes right from wrong.

To deal with our problems, we need to be practical and realistic.

If we are to be realistic, we need to use our human intelligence properly, which means we need a calm mind.  ~ HH The 14th Dalai Lama

Book Review: 8 Verses for Training the Mind

Eight Verses for Training the Mind, New EditionSo while reading Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, I had to take a detour.  I can’t explain why I am struggling through Rebel Buddha but I think about that later.  In the meantime, I decided to read Geshe Sonam Rinchen’s commentary on 8 Verses for Training the Mind.  Geshe Ngawang Phende at Drepung Loseling in Atlanta is currently in the middle of a series of teachings on root text.
I love to read Geshe Rinchen’s commentaries.  I find them very straight forward and accessible for students of all levels.  This teaching in particular is a wonderfully simple explanation of Langritangpa’s 8 Verses.  He expounds on each verse leading us though a practice to develop our love and compassion.  As Geshe-la explains:

Greater kindheartedness can transform our daily life and make all our activites meaningful.  This is something we can all practice whether or not we have extensive knowledge of philosophy.

The value of these 8 verses in incalculable.  His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama includes them in his daily medititations.  Geshe Rinchen tells us in the book to take one verses that appears to be revelant to our current circumstances and ponder it over and over until until we feel its effect.  By studying all the verses in this manner and putting them into practice we begin to use every circumstance in our lives a chance to strengthen the Bodhisattva qualities, of insight, kindheartedness, and concern for others and result in greater happiness, peace and contentment on our life.

Human birth

 

H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

Generally speaking, the Buddhist understanding is that Birth as a human being is one the most ideal forms of existence because it is conductive to practicing Dharma. ~ “The Four Noble Truths: Fundamentals of the Buddhist Teachings” by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

 

The First Noble Truth

4nobletruthsThe first of the Four Noble Truths is the Truth of Suffering.

What is suffering? Buddhism describes three levels or types of suffering. This is called ‘the suffering of suffering’, the second, ‘the suffering of change’, and the third is ‘the suffering of conditioning’.

The suffering of suffering: the suffering of birth, sickness, aging, and death.

The suffering of change: things we would normally think as pleasurable.

The suffering of conditioning: What is the nature of things? Eveything happens in samsara is due to ignorance

(complied from ‘The Four Noble Truths’ by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, fourteenth printing – 2009)

In training the mind, perspective is of crucial importance.

In training the mind, perspective is of crucial importance. We cannot expect to transform our minds in a few minutes or even a few weeks, thinking, perhaps, that the blessings of an enlightened individual will enable us to obtain immediate results. Such an attitude is not realistic. It takes a long time, sometimes years or even decades; but if we persevere, there is no doubt we will make progress. ~ His Holiness. The 14th Dalai Lama

Book Review: ‘Surviving the Dragon’ by Arjia Rinpoche

Surviving the Dragon: A Tibetan Lama's Account of 40 Years under Chinese Rule Arjia Rinpoche was born in Tibet in 1950. He was recognized 2 years later as the 8th Arjia Rinpoche, the reincarnation of the father of Lama Tsong Khapa, founder of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism.
As the Arjia Rinpoche, he is the Abbott of one of the largest and most influential Monasteries in Tibet, The Kumbum Monastery. In his book, Surviving the Dragon, he tells the story of his life as first, a monk; second, a Tibetan under the occupation of the Chinese Communist Party; and third, a refugee without a home to return to.
I met Arjia Rinpoche when he came to Atlanta to visit Emory and Drepung Loseling Monastery. I was enthralled with his retelling of the travesties done to the 10th Panchen Lama at his death and the subsequent choreographed Golden Urn Ceremony to choose his successor.
As I read the book, I developed a great respect for Rinpoche as he illuminated the problems he faced growing up under the Chinese abuse. He tells of the times he lost himself in the secular world forced upon him by Communism and the great teachers that gave him inspiration to carry on and return to his roots. His struggles to cooperate and work within the Communist bureaucracy are illustrative of the intentions of the Tibetans and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way solution to the Tibetan problem. It also illustrates the intentions of the Chinese to never truly allow a compromised solution.
“The current regime in China is uneasy with political and social changes of any sort.  But if a federation of autonomous regions were ever to be established, if a democratic way of life were ever to prevail, then His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s dream of the Middle Way, his hope for a genuine autonomy for Tibetans and other minorities, could be fulfilled, At last minorities could be free to follow their particular religious beliefs and celebrate their unique customs.  The five stars on the Chinese flag could truly stand for the equality of China’s ethnic groups – the Han majority and the Tibetan, Manchurian, Mongolian, and Muslim minorities – just as the 50 stars on the US flag stand for 50 separate but united states.  Like those white stars in a field of blue, China’s golden stars would shine for free people’s who share the daunting but glorious duty of governing a free country.  Then the dreams of His Holiness the Dalai Lama will come true for Tibet — and for the world. This too is my dream;  this is my hope;  this is my prayer. “

His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked Arjia Rinpoche to write this memoir. He also asked him not to make any angry public statements against the Chinese despite his mistreatment by them. Rinpoche follows this request perfectly: he describes the abuses and mistreatment without any hatred or disgust, just as you would expect a Buddhist monk to.
Surviving the Dragon is an excellent book: a must-read for students of Tibetan/Buddhist history as well as an inspiration to the practitioners of the Buddha’s teachings. ~ Digging_the_Dharma