We have the power

Cover of "Pointing Out the Dharmakaya"

Cover of Pointing Out the Dharmakaya

Is it possible to abandon the suffering of samsara and pass beyond the suffering of samsara? If the world were created by a god, then we would be helpless. It would not be within our power to do much about our own situation and achieve real happiness. However, some deity has not created the world, so we have the power to do something about our situation. That is because the situation we are in is the fruition of our own actions; our actions are a cause that has created this particular effect. Therefore, it is within our power to abandon the causes of suffering.

For instance, we hear about the great suffering that beings have to undergo in the lower realms and we feel frightened by that and do not want to have to experience that kind of suffering. So, is it within our power to prevent the experience of this kind of suffering? Yes, it is because ill deeds and non-virtuous activities are the causes of being born in a lower realm. And it is within our power not to engage in such ill deeds. In that way, it is within our power to do what we want to do. If we want to achieve nirvana or the state of having crossed beyond all suffering of cyclic existence, we can simply engage in the causes that lead to nirvana. ~ Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche,  Pointing Out the Dharmakaya: Teachings on the Ninth Karmapa’s Text page 13.

True Compassion is Clarity

English: Picture of Sharon Salzberg.

English: Picture of Sharon Salzberg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the things that most nourishes true compassion is clarity—when we know what we are thinking and know what we are feeling. This clarity differentiates compassion from shallow martyrdom when we are only thinking of others, and we are never caring about ourselves. ~ Sharon Salzberg, “A Quiver of the Heart.”

The Whole Thing

The whole thing, so many practices, all come down to live the daily life with bodhicitta motivation to put all the effort in that whatever you do. This way your life doesn’t get wasted and it becomes full of joy and happiness, with no regrets later, especially when you die and you can die with a smile outside and a smile in the heart. ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

 

Guard your Attitude

The Dalai Lama at the Aspen Institute (July 23...

Lama Zopa Rinpoche (July 23-26 2008) (Photo Credit: The Aspen Institute)

Practice with the bodhisattva attitude every day. People can’t see your mind; what people see is a manifestation of your attitude in your actions of body and speech. So pay attention to your attitude all the time. Guard it as if you are the police, or like a parent cares for a child, like a bodyguard, or as if you are the guru and your mind is your disciple. ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Taking Care of Others

Cover of "Buddhism for Beginners"

Cover of Buddhism for Beginners

Taking care of others can be done with two very different motivations. With one, we care for others in an unhealthy way, seemingly sacrificing ourselves, but really acting out of fear or attachment. People who are attached to praise, reputation, relationships, and so forth and who fear losing these may seemingly neglect their own needs to take care of others. But in fact, they are protecting themselves in an unproductive way. Their care comes not from genuine love, but from a self-centered attempt to be happy that is actually making them more unhappy.

The other way of taking care of others is motivated by genuine affection, and this is what the Buddha encouraged. This kind of affection and respect for others doesn’t seek or expect something in return. It is rooted in the knowledge that all other beings want to be happy and to avoid pain just as much as we do.  ~ Thubten Chodron, Buddhism for Beginners page 32