We must learn…

We must learn how to identify the opposing sides in our inner conflicts. Take anger: we need to see how destructive it is and at the same time, realize there are antidotes within our own thoughts and emotions that can counter it. So by understanding how negative it is and then by strengthening our positive thoughts and emotions, we can gradually reduce the force of our anger and hatred. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

Creatively Engage Your Thoughts ~ Martine Batchelor

I think one has to be careful not to think that meditation is about getting rid of thoughts. On the contrary, I would say that meditation helps us to creatively engage with our thoughts and not fixate on them. When people say, they cannot concentrate I say “No no no, you are concentrating—too much on single thoughts!”

I think it is interesting in meditation is to start to notice all the different places that our thoughts lead us—what distracts us and what occupies our minds. It is important to notice these things in meditation because these will be the same things that occupy our minds in daily life. As we become more familiar with our thoughts in meditation, we will see how repetitive they are. We often think very similar things over and over again, and it is actually rare to have what I would call a creative, original thought.  ~ Martine Batchelor

Zen Story: Cause and effect

There lived an old farmer who had worked on his fields for many, many years. One day, his horse bolted away. His neighbors dropped in to commiserate with him. “What awful luck,” they tut-tutted sympathetically, to which the farmer only replied, “We’ll see.”

Next morning, to everyone’s surprise, the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How amazing is that!” they exclaimed in excitement. The old man replied, “We’ll see.”

A day later, the farmer’s son tried to mount one of the wild horses. He was thrown on the ground and broke his leg. Once more, the neighbors came by to express their sympathies for this stroke of bad luck. “We’ll see,” said the farmer politely.

The next day, the village had some visitors – military officers who had come with the purpose of drafting young men into the army. They passed over the farmer’s son, thanks to his broken leg. The neighbors patted the farmer on his back – how lucky he was to not have his son join the army! “We’ll see,” was all that the farmer said!

In the seed of a mishap lies the potential tree of good fortune.

Awakening from the Illusion

Buddhism is really about awakening from the illusion about ourselves and the world, and realizing reality – who we are and what is real and how things are interconnected through karma and causation and so on. In a Dzogchen text, it says, “From the beginning, we are all Buddhas by nature, we only have to realize that fact.” So in Dzogchen the whole practice of what we call the view, meditation, and action is about awakening to – not just our momentary personality – “self” with a small s – but our true Buddha nature, our original nature.

-Lama Surya Das, “Old Wine, New Bottles” (Tricycle Interview)