The External World

A king’s robe or an old blanket can keep you warm.
A gold throne or the bare ground can be your seat.
A grand palace or a mud hut can be your shelter.
A jewelled plate or a wooden pot can hold your food.
The external world does not destroy your inner peace,
But your attachment and aversion will.

~ Chamtrul Rinpoche

Dualistic grasping

Big Buddha near Hong Kong

For as long as there is the dualistic grasping of ‘self’ and ‘other’ it is impossible to get rid of all of the external problems that cause us to suffer. But when there is no more dualistic grasping, it’s as if they have disappeared. As the great master Shantideva said:

“Where would I find enough leather to cover the entire surface of the world? But with leather on my feet, it’s as if the whole world has been covered.”

~ Chamtrul Rinpoche

The Essence of Buddhism

The essence of Buddhism has always been the same throughout infinite time and space. No matter what plane of existence that it is found, no matter what language that it is taught in, and no matter what culture that holds it, the essence has always, and will always be wisdom and compassion.

~ Chamtrul Rinpoche

Buddha Head

Bardo ~ Part of the Journey

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash


While beginning my study of ‘The Tibetan Book of The Dead,’ I came across the word, Bardo. Bardo means a gap or transition. A space between.

I think of Bardo as being like a moment when you step toward the edge of a precipice; such a moment, for example, is when a master introduces a disciple to the essential, original, and innermost nature of his or her mind. The greatest and most charged of these moments, however, is the moment of death. ~ “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche.

There are many bardos. Our life is full of these junctures: bardos of sleep, bardos of dreams to name only a couple. The space or gap between death and rebirth is a bardo and probably the one most people think of first. It is vital to understand this word when we think of life and death.

When we see that death is a space between, a temporary place where we pass through, then the fear is lessened. What is within that space is of importance. 

This small article is not an exhaustive study of the ‘gaps’. It is only a light touching of the meaning so we can move forward with some understanding as we dig deeper into Bardo Thodal.

Death is not the end but the beginning of another chapter. So let us live with love and compassion during this life and have no regrets when the bardo of dying arrives. We can and should make use of our life to find meaning now.

Books to further your interest:

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: First Complete Translation (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)


Evans-Wentz, W. Y., editor: TIBETAN YOGA AND SECRET DOCTRINES SECOND EDITION; or, Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path


We don’t realize

We ordinary beings who haven’t realized emptiness don’t see things as similar to illusions. We don’t realize that things are merely labeled by mind and exist by mere name. Generally speaking, we don’t see the mere appearance of the I until we become enlightened because whenever our mind merely imputes something, the next second the negative imprint left on the mental continuum by previous ignorance projects true existence. In the first moment, the I is imputed; in the next, it appears back to us as real, as truly existent, as not merely labeled by mind. ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche.