Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

These are the weekly collection of the email on "Dalai Lama Quote of the Week" from Snow Lion Publication.

In order for the wisdom of special insight to remove impediments to proper understanding, and to remove faulty mental states at their very roots, we need concentrated meditation, a state of complete single-mindedness in which all internal distractions have been removed.
Single-minded meditation involves removing subtle internal distractions such as the mind's being either too relaxed or too tight. To do so we must first stop external distractions through training in the morality of maintaining mindfulness and conscientiousness with regard to physical and verbal activities--being constantly aware of what you are doing with your body and your speech. Without overcoming these obvious distractions, it is impossible to overcome subtler internal distractions. Since it is through sustaining mindfulness that you achieve a calm abiding of the mind, the practice of morality must precede the practice of concentrated meditation.(p.23)
--from How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins

Usually the reason that we can't experience transcendent bliss is because our consciousness is actually chained by the illusion called "I." It is chained because this concept literally ties our consciousness to the prison of duality, the prison of concepts and ideas. What most people experience is that their consciousness is chained by that illusion.
But now and then there are people who find the so-called spiritual path. This is another quite strange and sneaky way that ego can actually keep binding our consciousness once again to another form of prison, the prison of duality, the prison of concepts and ideas. Transcendent bliss comes from breaking every chain.
Breaking all chains, losing every concept, every idea, sounds very frightening to the ego's mind. But actually when we let go of every concept, we land on this infinite ground of eternal bliss, and that bliss is not some kind of religious or mystical experience, some altered state of consciousness. That bliss is not the result of doing something to our consciousness, rather it is the pure state of our consciousness.(p.74)
--from The Magic of Awareness, by Anam Thubten, edited by Sharon Roe, published by Snow Lion Publications


Boundless joy is the joy you should feel when you see gifted and learned beings who are happy, famous or influential. Instead of feeling uneasy and envious of their good fortune, rejoice sincerely, thinking, "May they continue to be happy and enjoy even more happiness!" Pray too that they may use their wealth and power to help others, to serve the Dharma and the Sangha, making offerings, building monasteries, propagating the teachings and performing other worthwhile deeds. Rejoice and make a wish: "May they never lost all their happiness and privileges. May their happiness increase more and more, and may they use it to benefit others and to further the teachings."
Pray that your mind may be filled with boundless equanimity, loving-kindness, compassion and joy--as boundless as a Bodhisattva's. If you do so, genuine bodhichitta will certainly grow within you.
The reason these four qualities are boundless, or immeasurable, is that their object--the totality of sentient beings--is boundless; their benefit--the welfare of all beings--is boundless; and also their fruit--the qualities of enlightenment--is boundless. They are immeasurable like the sky, and they are the true root of enlightenment.(p.49)
--from The Excellent Path to Enlightenment, by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, translated and edited by The Padmakara Translation Group, published by Snow Lion Publications


What is the Bodhisattva's Way of life? It is the way of life that follows naturally from having cultivated the awakening mind of bodhicitta. Omniscience is achieved only through the process of purifying the disturbing emotions within your mind. It cannot be achieved merely through wishes and prayers. We have to train in eliminating all the specific disturbing emotions within your mind. We have to train in eliminating all the specific disturbing emotions by relying on specific antidotes.
All the activities of a Bodhisattva can be included in two major categories: the practice of skillful means and the practice of wisdom. If the practices of giving, ethics, and so forth are to be perfected, they should be supported and influenced by the practice of wisdom. Without the practice of wisdom, the first five of the six perfections cannot actually become practices of perfection. In order to cultivate such wisdom, you must first cultivate the genuine unmistaken philosophical view that is known as the view of the Middle Way, or Madhyamika.
...even when you have understood the wisdom realizing emptiness, that alone will not become a powerful antidote to ignorance if it is not supported by other practices such as giving, ethics, patience, and so forth. Mere understanding of selflessness is not sufficient to defeat the disturbing emotions.(p.76)
--from Stages of Meditation by the Dalai Lama, root text by Kamalashila, translated by Geshe Lobsang Jordhen, Losang Choephel Ganchenpa, and Jeremy Russell, published by Snow Lion Publications


Greed is a form of desire. However, it is an exaggerated form of desire, based on overexpectation. The true antidote of greed is contentment.
For a practicing Buddhist, for a Dharma practitioner, many practices can act as a kind of counterforce to greed: the realization of the value of seeking liberation or freedom from suffering, recognizing the underlying unsatisfactory nature of one's existence, and so on. These views also help an individual to counteract greed. But in terms of an immediate response to greed, one way is to reflect upon the excesses of greed, what it does to one as an individual, where it leads. Greed leads one to a feeling of frustration, disappointment, a lot of confusion, and a lot of problems.
When it comes to dealing with greed, one thing which is quite characteristic is that although it arises from the desire to obtain something, it is not satisfied by obtaining it. Therefore, it becomes limitless or boundless, and that leads to trouble. The interesting thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, as I pointed out, even after obtaining the object of one's desire, one is still not satisfied. On the other hand, if one has a strong sense of contentment, it doesn't matter whether one obtains the object or not; either way, one is still content.(p.32)
--from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications


The famous nineteenth-century dzogchen master Paltrul Rinpoche explained self-liberation concretely and precisely:
"The practitioner of self-liberation is like an ordinary person as far as the way in which the thoughts of pleasure and pain, hope and fear, manifest themselves as creative energy. However, the ordinary person, taking these really seriously and judging them as acceptable or rejecting them, continues to get caught up in situations and becomes conditioned by attachment and aversion.
    "Not doing this, a practitioner, when such thoughts arise, experiences freedom: initially, by recognizing the thought for what it is, it is freed just like meeting a previous acquaintance; then it is freed in and of itself, like a snake shedding its skin; and finally, thought is freed in being unable to be of benefit or harm, like a thief entering an empty house."
...Freeing or liberating thought does not mean ignoring, letting go of, being indifferent to, observing, or even not having thoughts. It means being present in hope and fear, pain and pleasure, not as objects before us, but as the radiant clarity of our natural state. Thus anger, for example, when experienced dualistically, is an irritation which we may indulge in or reject, depending on our conditioning. Either way we are caught up in it and act out of it. But when aware of anger as a manifestation of clarity, its energy is a very fresh awareness of the particulars of the situation. However, these particulars are no longer irritating.(p.77)
--from You Are the Eyes of the World by Longchenpa, translated by Kennard Lipman and Merrill Peterson, introduction by Namkhai Norbu, published by Snow Lion Publications