Shakyamuni Buddha

The Buddha’s Words on Loving Kindness - Metta Sutra

This is what should be done
by one who is skilled in goodness,
and who knows the path of peace:
 let them be able and upright,
straightforward and gentle in speech. 
Humble and not conceited,
contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skilful,
not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
that the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.

Whatever living beings there may be;
whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
the great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
 the seen and the unseen,
those living near and far away,
those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease.

Let none deceive another,
or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill will
wish harm upon another.

Even as a mother protects with her life,
her child, her only child,
so with a boundless heart
 should one cherish all living beings;
radiating kindness over the entire world;
spreading upwards to the skies,
and downwards to the depths;
outwards and unbounded,
 freed from hatred and ill will.

Whether standing or walking,
seated or lying down
free from drowsiness,
one should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding on to fixed views,
the pure hearted one, having clarity of vision,
being free from all sense desires,
is not born again into this world.


Reflections on Universal Well-being

May I abide in well being:
In freedom from affliction,
In freedom from hostility,
In freedom from ill-will,
In freedom from anxiety,
And may I maintain well being within myself.

May everyone abide in well being:
In freedom from affliction,
In freedom from hostility,
In freedom from ill-will,
In freedom from anxiety,
And may they maintain well being within themselves.

May all beings be released from all suffering,
And may they never be parted from
The good fortune they have attained.

When they act upon intention,
All beings are the owners of their actions,
And inherit its results.

Their future is born from such actions,
Companion to such action,
And its results will be their home.

All actions with intention,
Be they skillful or harmful,
Of such acts,
They will be the heirs.


"Liberation is a natural process"

Monks, for one who is virtuous and follows the ethical norms, there is no need to want,
"May freedom from remorse arise in me".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that for one who is virtuous and follows the
ethical norms, freedom from remorse arises.
Monks, for one who is free from remorse, there is no need to want,
"May satisfaction arise in me".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that for one who is free from remorse
satisfaction arises.
Monks, for one who is satisfied there is no need to want,
"May joy arise in me".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that for one who is satisfied.joy arises,
Monks, for one who is joyous there is no need to want,
"May my body be relaxed".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that for one who is joyous the body is relaxed.
Monks, for one whose body is relaxed, there is no need to want,
"May I feel happiness".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that one whose body is relaxed feels happiness.
Monks, for one who is happy there is no need to want,
"May my mind be concentrated".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that the happy man's mind is concentrated.
Monks, for one who is concentrated, there is no need to want,
"May I understand and see it as it really is".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that one who is concentrated understands and
sees it as it really is.
Monks, for one who understands and sees it as it really is, there is no need to want,
"May I be disgusted and detach myself".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that one who understands and sees it as it really
is becomes disgusted and detaches himself.
Monks, for one who is disgusted and becomes detached, there is no need to want,
"May I experience the knowledge and insight of liberation".
Monks, this is in accordance with nature, that one who is disgusted and has become
detached will experience the knowledge and insight of liberation.

Anguttara Nikaya V2f


“ Enraptured with craving,
enraged by hatred,
blinded by confusion, overwhelmed,  ensnared,
man aims at his own ruin,
at others ruin,
at the ruin of both,
and he experiences mental pain and grief.

He follows unskillful ways in deeds, words
and thoughts, and he really knows neither
his own welfare, nor the welfare of others,
nor the welfare of both.

These things make him blind and ignorance,
hinder his knowledge,
 are painful,
 and do not lead him to peace."

Text from the Anguttara Nikaya,  part of the Sutta Pitaka


 This teaching is taken from Rinpoche's online Shedra talks -
his commentaries on Shantideva's 'Way of the Bodhisattva'

 6th Chapter, Patience,  Stanzas 6 – 10

So now we go back to Chapter 6, the chapter on patience.  We have gone through the first five stanzas and now we are on stanza number six :

All these ills are brought about by wrath,
Our sorrow-bearing enemy.
But those who seize and crush their anger down
Will find their joy in this and future lives.

So all the pain and sufferings and difficulties that we [discussed] are bought about by our anger , our wrath - which brings lots of sorrow, lots of suffering, lots of pain to ourselves and others – so therefore we must see that wrath, that anger, that hatred as our enemy.  Because what is our enemy?  The enemy is somebody or something that brings suffering and problems and pain to ourselves – that harms us.  So therefore since this is the thing that brings most harm to us we must see it as our enemy.  And therefore if we can somehow crush this anger down – somehow get rid of this anger and hatred and [similar things] – many different emotions, or different reactions that are of this same kind – then, and then only, we will find peace and happiness and joy – not only in this life but also continuously in [future] lives - because our mind is a continuum.  So therefore if it can bring joy now, it can bring joy in that continuum [as well] – as long as there is a consciousness.  So therefore both in this life and in lives to come, and both in myself and in others – both in me as an individual and in my family and my society - the joy will happen.  So that’s the understanding.
Then, stanza number seven:

Getting what I do not want,
And all that hinders my desire –
In discontent my anger finds its fuel.
From this it grows and beats me down.

You know [the reason] why I get angry, [experience] hatred and all the negative emotions is because when I get something that I do not want then my mind becomes disturbed, unhappy, upset.  And that brings anger, and, slowly, hatred, aversion and all negative things.  In the same way, not getting something that I want also makes me upset, makes me unhappy, makes my mind disturbed and thereby I get angry, upset, all those [kinds of] things.  So the real fuel that makes me angry or upset – have hatred and things like that, and brings lots of suffering – is in fact my ‘upset mind’ – my mind that is upset, disturbed.  The Tibetan word here is [   ?     ].  Here it is translated as discontent.  It is kind of discontent but it is not just discontent.  [   ] means mind and [    ] uncomfortable.  So uncomfortable mind, disturbed mind, the mind that’s not okay, the mind that’s a little bit upset or unhappy – not joyful - hurt.  So therefore that’s the ‘view’  – the upset mind – the mind that is hurt, upset, disturbed.  The disturbed mind is the main [way we view]  anger and all the other negative emotions.  So therefore that upset mind, or discontented mind or disturbed mind then grows – [gets] bigger and bigger and that brings upset and hurt and anger and then, slowly, wrath and then hatred and wanting to take revenge and all sorts of very, very serious problems – so therefore this [is something we] have to understand.

And then the eighth:

Therefore I will utterly destroy
The sustenance of this my enemy,
My foe who has no other purpose
But to hurt and injure me.

So therefore I must now destroy the sustenance of this, my big enemy that’s harming me – that’s unhappiness, upset mind, disturbed mind.  So what I have to do is - when I am a little bit upset – something makes me upset, or makes my mind unhappy or upset or disturbed – then I have to look at my mind for this is upsetting me.  This is making my mind disturbed.  This is not good.  There is no use allowing my mind to be disturbed because that will make me unhappy.  It’s also of course the other people – what they say, what they do – but more important is myself, my emotions – how I hold on to these emotions.  So when I’m upset, when I’m disturbed - my mind is disturbed - then suddenly I find that I’m unhappy – and I don’t want to be unhappy, I want to be happy.  So therefore I should take it very seriously – it’s very important.  ‘No, I’m not going to let my mind be disturbed. I’m not going to let my mind be upset. I’m going to be happy, I’m going to be positive. I will divert my attention from being upset.  I’m not allowing my mind to be upset for nothing because I want to be joyful and happy and at peace’.
People sometimes get things mixed up thinking ‘I have to make something right, try to do something’ to [make things] become better.  And then I let my mind be totally disturbed and unhappy and angry.  But that doesn’t help to make things better.  That actually harms making things better.  So therefore I need to be more clear, more understanding, more intelligent - cleverer.  And say that ‘Yes, what I have to do is to make things better, but first I must make myself better, otherwise I will destroy my own happiness by myself and I [don’t want to do that]’.   So this is very important.  So I’m not allowing myself to be destroyed by my enemy of  ‘upsetness’, and feelings of hurt and all those kinds of things.
Then the ninth:

So come what may, I’ll not upset
My cheerful happiness of mind.

So this resolution I have to try to make that whatever may come I will not let my mind be upset.  ‘I will not let my mind be hurt.  I’m not going to keep the feeling of hurt and upset and disturbance.  I will continue to make my mind cheerful, happy, joyful, positive – for that’s what I want and I should never allow anybody to disturb my mind – why should I?’  Because if I do then:

Dejection never brings me what I want;

Dejection here means the same thing – the mind is disturbed.  The disturbed, unhappy, discontented mind will never bring [me] what I want.  If I keep up this emotion that is not going to make things better for me, it’s not going to change [things].  If I’m getting something I don’t want, however upset I am, however disturbed I am, however hurt I am, that’s not going to make this thing disappear – [the thing] that upset me.  [The] only thing that can help me get rid of this is if I do something and for that I don’t have to be upset.  So

Dejection never brings me what I want;
My virtue will be warped and marred by it.

If I keep on [being] upset and keep on being disturbed and unhappy that will get rid of, that will destroy my joyful state of mind, my positive state of mind, my kindness and compassion – my positive way of looking at things.  So therefore all my virtues will degenerate -  will be destroyed and marred and so therefore I must be very careful about this, I must be very clear about this, this understanding that I should not allow my mind to be disturbed. 

If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?

Now this is translated in many different ways.  Here the tenth stanza is translated [in this way].  But usually what I say is that if something happens, if I can do something, there’s no need to be upset.  If  I cannot do anything there’s no use in [being] upset.  This philosophy or this way of looking or this attitude is the most important thing.  I say that because something happened [that caused me not to] get what I wanted [and] that’s why I’m upset.  Or I got something that I didn’t want – that’s why I’m upset.  Or somebody did something that they shouldn’t have done and that’s why I’m upset.  Or somebody didn’t do something that they should have done and that’s why I’m upset.  Okay.  Now all those things, whether I got something or didn’t get something -what can I do [about] the thing I didn’t want – can I get rid of it or not?  If I can get rid of it there’s no need to be upset – I just get rid of that and then it’s okay.  There’s nothing to be upset about.  It’s useless to be upset.  It’s needless to be upset.  It’s useless to be angry and make all the fuss, all the pain, problems and suffering for my self and others.  I can just do it.  If whatever I do it cannot be changed – I cannot get rid of what I didn’t want – it’s [already] happened - then how [ever] much I get upset is not going to change anything.  So then why [get] upset?  It will only make me more unhappy, more disturbed, more angry and suffer [more].  So I should not get upset, I should not get hurt because it’s [of] no use – it’s only [more] pain – it doesn’t help.  When you have this understanding then you know it’s totally useless to be angry and upset and therefore the most important thing is that I want to be happy and joyful and live peacefully in a positive way – that’s what I want.  So therefore I should do that and get rid of my upset mind or disturbed mind.  So this is the important thing to understand.
So this is stanza number ten of chapter six and I’ll stop here and see you next time.

Transcribed by Rinchen             
7 February  2013                                                                  

This teaching comes from Rinpoche's talks on Shantideva's "Way of the Bodhisattva" which he is giving weekly at the moment on the online shedra at http://www.bodhicharya.com/
This is the 18th class he gave on the first chapter which is called 'The Excellence of Bodhichitta' - all the other classes, the first seventeen and the few he has given since this one, are available as video, audio or text files.
The talks give this classic text, very much revered in both the Tibetan and Zen traditions, a clear and warm hearted exposition.

Transcription of  BA 18  BA1_31-36

So good day again.  Now we come to stanza number 31, our first chapter of Bodhicharyavatara, and now we talk about the people or the persons, who have that bodhichitta - who have generated that bodhichitta - which means the bodhisattvas.
 So it starts with:

 "If someone who returns a favor
 Is deserving of some praise,
Why need we speak of Bodhisattvas,
 Those who do good even unsolicited."

  It’s saying that, generally speaking, if you do something good to somebody and that person is returning that good deed or that favor, if that person is good enough or has that personality that he can return some good things or some good actions, he is usually everywhere in the world seen as a good person - ‘At least I did something good.’  And he also returns that good, so he is seen as a good person. 
 If that person is seen as a good person, then what to [say] about a bodhisattva who, whether we do good things to them or nothing to them or even [if] we don't know them or even if we do bad things to them they always want to do good thing to you.  So how much good, how much positive, how much great that person would be - a bodhisattva.
 And then next stanza says:

 "People praise as virtuous donors
 Those who with contempt support 
A few with plain and ordinary food:
A moment's gift that feeds for only half a day."

You know, if somebody was giving food freely, not to everybody, but to a few people or quite a few people, hundreds of people - and they give them food, but not with so much respect you know [but] with [a] little bit of contempt - you know like not the best kind of food - if they feed - you know we have lots of people who are feeding poor people, destitute people, sick people and they are really good, they are considered very good people, they are considered to be doing a great job - great benefit for the people.  And they are doing a great job and so we are very respectful to them, we like them, we praise them - but, what they are doing - it’s not saying that doing that is a bad thing - but if somebody gives you food, the food is - however much food you have or you give for one - as much as you can eat -  the benefit of that food remains for half day.  [At noon] you eat your big lunch, [but] by the evening, you get hungry again.  So it's only half a day that you help by giving food.  But that is regarded [as] very good, that's regarded [as] very nice - and it is very nice.  
 So if it is like that then [stanza] 33:

"What need is there to speak of those
 Who long bestow on countless multitudes
 The peerless joy of blissful Buddhahood,
 The ultimate fulfillment of their hopes?"  
It's not saying that giving food or drink or clothes is not a good thing.  It's a very good thing.  But if you compare that - that's a very good thing - but if you compare that to what a bodhisattva wants and wishes and tries to do - a bodhisattva not only wants to give food, it’s not that they don't give food, they give.  A bodhisattva should give food also and they would give food and medicine and education and whatever, but on top of that, they also long to bestow, to give to all the beings, the countless multitudes - to every being - the peerless joys, the unlimited happiness or the joy of total, lasting - what we call lasting peace and happiness - the peerless joy of Buddhahood - the ultimate fulfillment of their hopes.
  And the bodhisattva wants or wishes that each and every being, wherever they are, whoever they are, whether you know them or not, whether they've harmed you, helped you or did nothing - to all of them the bodhisattva wishes that every hope, every wish of them, be totally fulfilled.  So that if that kind of a person is there or if somebody has that motivation and commitment, then it comes to the next stanza:

"All those who harbor evil in their minds
 Against such lords of generosity, the Buddha's heirs,
 Will stay in hell, the mighty Sage has said,
 For ages equal to the moments of their malice."

So therefore, because it is so positive - this person, that bodhisattva is - Buddha said that it is very bad, it's very bad to have negative contacts, relationship with these bodhisattvas.   If you do, if you harm, if you're angry at or if you say bad things, if you do bad things, if you harm a bodhisattva, it's very bad because they are so generous, they are so good, they want so much to help people.  And then if you are harming them, you are in a way obstructing them to help other beings.  You are obstructing them to do good things for other people.  So therefore Buddha said, many times, that if you harm bodhisattvas, you say bad things, you kind of think bad things about bodhisattvas you're kind of angry at the bodhisattvas, then it’s very bad - it’s like very negative results, very negative karma - but at the same time.  So therefore the bodhisattva is very strong - very sensitive for both good and bad actions. 
 "But joyous and devoted thoughts
 Will yield abundant fruits in greater strength.
 Even in great trouble, Bodhisattvas
Never bring forth wrong;  their virtues naturally increase."

The first two stanzas mean that if you make a positive connection with the bodhisattvas, then it’s extremely powerful - joyous and joyful thoughts, devoted thoughts, well meaning kind of devotion or respect.  Or you say good things about them, think nicely or [think] helping thoughts to them, this yields much more positive deeds than doing harmful things.  So this is usually said that it’s very good to make a good connection with a bodhisattva.  It's not good to make a bad connection with a bodhisattva because that's very harmful, that's very harmful to them, not them but that's very harmful to the beings because he or she is trying to help and that's very bad to you, because you are not on the side of good.  But this is also very important to understand, that even if you have a connection - this is not here at the moment, but it is said like this - I have to tell this - even if you make a very negative connection with a bodhisattva it's not good for now, but in the end it’s also very good.  So if you make a good connection then it is very good for you and very good for everybody.  If you make a bad connection it’s not good for you now, but at the end it will also be good.
 [There is the] story of when Buddha became enlightened and when he gave his first teaching in Sarnath to the five of his first students. Then  (?) Golden Ear (Kondanna), one of them, saw the truth [so] that he became an arhat.  So when He was asked why is it like this, that of all the people He gave his first teaching to these five persons and of all the five people this Golden Ear was the first to really understand His teachings and get benefits out of it and become clearly arhat - enlightened.  Why is it?  He said it is because of a karmic connection, not a good one but a bad one.  He said that when he was a rishi who was meditating on patience, that time he met a king who was a hunter.  And out of jealousy, this king cut his limbs, cut his limbs into pieces and he was killed, he died.  And every moment he cut off one limb he said
 ‘Are you still patient? Are you meditating on patience?’
 And he said
‘Yes, yes, I have no negative feeling towards you’.  And when he was dying he said
 ‘You have done a very bad deed that you killed me for no reason. But I have no anger against you.  I have no hatred against you.  I pray that when I finally become enlightened and a Buddha, [at] that time may I - I make this promise, I make this prayer, commitment, dedication that, at time you will be the first person I will deliver, I will liberate.   At that time I will cut all you ignorance, and negative emotions and negative karma, as you cut my limbs now.  And you will be the first one to get liberated from samsara.’

So because of that, it is said that this (? seeker), the first Golden Ear became the first arhat.  In between he had to go through lots of negative realms and lots of sufferings for centuries, and eons after eon, but finally it was good.  So it is said like this, that to make a good connection with the bodhisattva is always good.  Good for now and good for the long term, good for the future.  But if you make a negative connection with the bodhisattva also, it's bad for you now and the near future, but eventually that will also be good.   So therefore any kind of connection with a bodhisattva is regarded as  very good - but this is not for that - this is that we need to appreciate and really understand the value of being - having the bodhichitta, being a bodhisattva.  Bodhisattvas are something very rare, something valuable, always thinking good and trying to do good.  So therefore, when I understand that, then I would naturally want to generate that bodhichitta and want to become a bodhisattva and try to tread that path.  So this is important.
So let us think deeply what we want to do, which direction we want to go.  Should we go in a direction where we would like to work, try, train, find out how to help myself, how to help other beings?  How to help all sentient beings and not rest till that happens?  Or do we want to do something that's harmful to me and harmful to others?  So therefore the first thing is that I want to do something good for me - that's also important.  I want to help myself.  If I don't help myself, who will help me?  But then, it's not enough that I do something good for me and I help myself.  I need to help others also who are like me and then not just some other people, but everybody because everybody is like me.  So therefore, if I can help people, then I would feel that I've done something good.  I've done something valuable.  My life is temporary - my life is not going to be permanent, so when I leave, when I die, what have I done in this life?  So if I've amassed lots of wealth, if I've a big bank balance, I've done something - enjoying my life, doing things that's not good for others, if I have got [a] very high post or if I became a little bit popular or famous or whatever, I’ve some power now - would it help then?  If I’ve done something that’s really useful to others, lots of people, that will go on helping, that I made myself wise enough and train myself in such a way that I will be able to look after my own problems whenever, whatever problems come, now or in the future or at death.  And then that I can keep on helping others, then I think that I would have done something really great.  So therefore my incentive to become a bodhisattva and generate bodhichitta would also become strong.  And also if others have a little bit of bodhichitta or [a] great deal of bodhichitta also I would honor them more, I would respect them more, I would value them more.  So this is important; not just intellectual but really thinking.

So now this is the last stanza of this chapter - chapter 1 and stanza number 36. It says:

"To them in whom this precious jewel of mind
 Is born - to them I bow!”

So I bow down, I prostrate, I really give my complete respect to people who have this jewel like, this precious, compassionate mind or the intention and commitment to do positive things for people - what we call bodhichitta.

 "I go for refuge to those springs of happiness
 Who bring their very enemies to perfect bliss."

I go [for] refuge to the bodhisattvas or bodhichitta because bodhichitta is like the spring - the beginning, the beginning of - in the spring or the little fountain coming from the mountains, is the beginning of the great rivers.  So in the same way bodhichitta or generation of this attitude is the beginning of all good things that one can do.  So therefore, even a little bit of bodhichitta, a little bit of compassion cannot be regarded as something small.  It’s very big, because it’s going become a big river - it’s going to help lots of people, it’s going to bring great joy and great benefit to all people.  So therefore, this great bodhisattva or bodhichitta not only brings good things for yourself, not only brings peace and happiness and benefit to your friends and to people whom you like.  But it brings good, it brings happiness, it brings lasting kind of benefit, even to your enemies, even to those who are being harmed by others, those who harm you, even to them this bodhichitta and that bodhisattva brings only good things.   So the bodhisattva seed is something that brings good things now, good things in the long run, good things to yourself, good things to others, good things to friends, good things to enemies also.  So the only thing that it generates is something very good in the long run.  So therefore, if there is one thing that I really bow down to, if it’s one principle that I really value and appreciate, [it] is the bodhichitta.  
 So we need to read this again and again. We need to contemplate on [the stanzas].  We need to not just think from the book, but from our life point of view, not from the Buddhist point of view alone, but from the way a common person really thinks and reasons and things like that.  What is good for me?  What is good for others?  And with that, not taken as a religion, not taken as a kind of a command, not taken as a way of seeing from a Buddhist point of view - that's not useful - that’s not good.   I have to try to see from my own point of view, from a general kind of ordinary person’s point of view and then think [it] over, and then decide what is the best way.

So with this we have completed the first chapter of Bodhicharyavatara.  So thank you very, very much and see you again for the next chapter, second chapter.
 Thank you very much.

 Transcribed by Desi and revised by Rinchen                                                                     15 Feb 11


Transcriptof  BA 2   Verses 60 - 65

So this is now the last part of the second chapter and we are on stanza number 60 which is very important.
 The stanza is translated like this in the Padmakara translation:

Of life’s experience, all seasons past,
What's left to me, what now remains?
By clinging to what now is here no more,
My teacher’s precepts I have disobeyed.

Now this is translated by another translator which is actually on the internet under ‘Bodhicharyavatara commentary’:

Is there anything that remains with me
From what I experienced before
Which has not already vanished?
Nevertheless I am clearly attached to these pleasures
And I’ve disregarded my guru’s advice

This is more clear in meaning. What it means, what it's saying, is that we do negative deeds because there is something enchanting.  Something that - what can you say? - that we're attached to.  Something that we think is nice or pleasurable or something that satisfies our emotion, or excites something.  But when we look back - all the things that we have done, you know, everything that we have experienced - is there any experience that's left and not passed away, not vanished?  Whatever I have experienced, the next moment it's gone, it's vanished, it doesn't come back.  However [much] I am attached to that experience, to that pleasure, to that excitement, to that whatever emotion - the next moment it's gone.  It never comes back.  But the effect of that action, if it is a negative action, I have created that - and it is harmful to others, its effect remains on me also - and I continually, you know create problems for myself because of that instant action.  So therefore, why should I be attached to an experience which passes and diminishes in one moment just after experiencing it.  And it’s a kind of a consequence that I have to carry all the time. 

So this is a very important thing - when you look at any experience, or at anything you have to do - our emotions instigate us to act.  I have to see what this is going to give me - what consequences will that action have? - will that emotion have?  If it has negative consequence, then I should not do it even if it’s very nice, or very satisfying in this one moment, because that satisfaction, that moment passes, never to come back. But the consequence remains.

So this is something that is very deep and very important.  This is the main reason why we should not indulge in negative actions.  If we can see this, then it becomes extremely clear.  So this is supposed to be the most important stanza in this chapter.  So one must, deliberate, one must think on this, put one’s mind on this, study this, and investigate this, and try to experience it again and again.

And then stanza 61:

And when this life is left behind,
And with it all my kith and kin,
I must set out on strange paths all alone:
Why make so much of all my friends and foes? 

And even if you say ‘I do this for my friends or for my foes - to help my friends or to harm my foes’ - [yet] you should not do negative things even to help your friends or harm your foes, because eventually, it doesn't help.  It doesn't help me and it doesn't help others.  Because everything passes.   Because, when my life is gone, then all the kith and kin are gone, all the enemies gone also and so therefore I go alone.  I come in this world alone and I go from this world also alone.  But whatever actions I have made -  whether it’s for myself, whether it’s for my foes or enemies – whether [or not] my friends remain, if I do negative things for my friends, it doesn't help them either.  And moreover - even more important - if I harm my enemies - why harm them anyway?   After I die, there is no foe, there is no enemy.  It doesn't help to harm my enemies, because they're also fleeting. And anyway there is no permanent enemy - the worst enemy can sometimes become your best friend - not only in the next life - it can be in the next life also - but even in this life.  So there's no permanence.

[Stanza] 62:

How instead can I make sure
 To rid myself of evil, only cause of sorrow?
This should be my one concern,
My only thought both night and day.

So therefore I should not be concerned about anything else, I should only be concerned [thus]: ‘ How do I transform myself, how do I get rid of my negative actions, negative karma and the things that will bring harmful consequences for myself and others’  -because that is the only thing that matters.  So therefore the most important thing for me should be to think about this.  ‘What is it that I can [do to] bring total purification of all negative actions and to cultivate my positive side so that I become positive - I become wise and compassionate?’  So therefore I am liberated.  And that is the best for me and that is the best for others also. 

 The wrongs that I have done
 Through ignorant stupidity:
All actions evil by their nature
 And transgressions of the precepts,

Then therefore in front of all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas I must pray, I must acknowledge, I must say this, promise this, that all the negative things, wrong things that I should not have done, but I have done because of my ignorance, because of my stupidity, because I was under the power and influence of my negative emotions, because I didn't know that negative emotions actually have no good result – [I will not do them again].  If I indulge in something that gives me some kind of a satisfaction or pleasure at that one moment, it’s completely gone the next moment - but the consequence remains.  So therefore [we are including] the natural negative things, as well as transgressions of precepts.  You know there are two negative things: one negative thing is ‘natural negative’.  That is like - you kill, you cheat, you steal, you tell lies - all these are [under] natural law.  So whoever does it - it's negative, it's harmful.  And then there are some [acts for] which I take a precept and [it’s] only because I take the precepts [that it’s wrong] - there are things that, in order to remain under that precept, in order to prevent me doing something wrong, then there are [particular] kinds of things - say I take the precepts of a monk, and when I take the precepts of a monk, then it is said that if I cut the grass, or a kind of a plant or something like that, then it's wrong.  I shouldn't do that.  But if I didn't take that precept it's not necessarily wrong.  So those kind of two categories: what is wrong naturally because it's  harmful and [what is] not naturally wrong but because I have taken a precept and because of that then it’s one of the branches - so any of those.

 Fearing all the pains to come
I join my palms and ceaselessly prostrate,
And everything I will confess
 Directly in the sight of my protectors.

So I will confess. I will think about those negative things.  I will say that all the negative things that I have done I confess now, I get rid of, I let go.  I [will] do all the positive things [and request]   ‘Please give me the blessings, please give help, please give me your positive energy - you know your strength and blessings - so that all my negative things are purified’.

I pray you, guides and guardians of the world,
To take me as I am, a sinful man.

 So please see me, please look at me - see me as somebody who has done something negative. Now ‘sinful’ is the translation given by this [group] - but whether we use the word ‘sin’ for negative deeds or not is [the subject of] a discussion which is going on [amongst] the interpreters and translators.  We discussed this before. So because the enlightened beings, wherever they are, they have the capacity to see, the capacity to bless, the capacity to help, so therefore [I request]  ‘Please help me and give me the blessing so that I can totally purify them’.  I want to purify them, I must purify them, I would purify them, I'd do everything to purify them.  I dedicate all my positive actions for that.  So therefore this is the way of purification - I think we discussed this before.  So this is what we call ‘the third power’.

And then the fourth power is the power that we promise not to indulge in this negativity again - try not to indulge, try not to do the negative action again.

 So this is the last two lines of this chapter.  It says:

And all these actions, evil as they are,
I promise I will never do again.

So this I think I've discussed before also.  Because I see very clearly and directly [that] these negative actions only create harm and problems and suffering for myself and others, so therefore there is absolutely no intention, there is absolutely no kind of desire, there is absolutely no kind of attraction to do any of these negative deeds any more.  I see it so clearly - I see it like a bad smelling, bad looking, bad tasting and giving me pain thing.  If there is something that I see which doesn't look good, which doesn't smell good, which doesn't taste good and which doesn't give any kind of benefit for me but only harm, then I would totally avoid that [thing].  I would totally not go near it.  So if I see these negative deeds in this way then I must be able to say ‘I wouldn't do it again’.  So therefore I promise I will never do [it] again.  So therefore, the more I can clearly understand this, then the more my purification becomes stronger. 

Of course this does not mean that when I make a purification I become totally pure [at once] and have done away with [all] my old negativity and negative emotions and negative habitual tendencies. This cannot be, but at least I make a try, I make [the] intention, I start - I start to work on that.  So if I start work on that, then I purify - and once I have no attachment to negativity, once I have no clinging to negativity, I'm totally pure, I'm totally pure. That's where I totally get rid of my karma because when I have no clinging and I have no attachment, my negative karma doesn't work anymore.  So therefore that's the total purification.

And this is then the second chapter of Bodhicharyavatara – ‘The Purification’. I would like to call it purification although the translators of this text call it ‘Confession’.  Because (?)  ‘chag pa’ is like splitting, taking it away from me, separating it from me - and that I think is purification. 

Thank you

 Transcribed by Desi and revised by Rinchen                                                                                  29 June 11 

For other video and written teachings of Rinpoche please go to the first page of the blog


Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Happy Losar, friends, students and fellow meditators,

I am now at my monastery in Nepal, where we are just beginning to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan New Year. As I sit here, surrounded by family, friends, and the monks of Osel Ling Monastery, my thoughts turn to all of you with whom I share a connection. My deepest wish is for each of you to experience abundance and joy in the year to come, and for all beings, wherever they may be, to have some measure of peace and joy in their lives.
Losar is a time to reflect on the year that has passed and to set one's intentions for the year ahead. For me, this is also a time to reflect on what meditation is all about, and to make sure that I haven't lost sight of the precious instructions that I received from my teachers. With this in mind, I thought I'd share with you some of my thoughts on the heart of meditation.
Over the past twelve months, I have traveled all over the world teaching people how to meditate. Whether I am talking to a large group or chatting with a few people in private, it seems that everyone wants to know the same thing: Where is lasting happiness to be found? True, not everyone phrases this question the same way - some people may not even know this is what they are asking - but when we reduce our many desires, hopes, and fears down to their essence, this is usually the answer we are seeking.
For those of us who follow a spiritual path, we may think we know the answer. Anyone who studies the Buddha's teachings, for example, will be able to tell you that true happiness is found within. But if we really understand that our basic nature is already whole, pure, and complete, why do we continue to act as though our level of contentment depends on the size of our paycheck, the quality of our relationships, or on the number of pleasurable experiences we can surround ourselves with. In other words, why do we expect things that are ephemeral and changing by their very nature to provide us with something stable and secure?
The answer is quite simple: It's a bad habit. We have believed this myth for so long, that it takes a while for any new understanding to filter down to the core of our being. What's more, we often bring this same mindset - the expectation that temporary experiences can produce lasting happiness - into our meditation practice as well. We mistake fleeting experiences of peace and relaxation for the true relaxation of feeling at ease with whatever manifests in the present moment. We think that calming the mind means to get rid of thoughts and turbulent emotions, rather than to connect with the natural spaciousness of awareness itself, which doesn't get any better when there are no thoughts or any worse when there are. And we chase after ephemeral experiences of bliss and clarity, all the while missing the profound simplicity of awareness that is with us all the time.
What I'm getting at here is that we need to be patient with ourselves, and with the process of loosening this deep-rooted conditioning. The good news is that everything we hear about meditation is actually true. Our essential nature really is completely pure, whole, and infinitely spacious. No matter how trapped we may feel by anxiety, depression, or guilt, there is always another option available to us, and one that doesn't ask us to stop feeling what we already feel, or to stop being who and what we are. Quite the contrary, when we know where to look, and how to look, we can find peace of mind in the midst of raging emotions, profound insight in the midst of complete confusion, and the seeds of compassion in our darkest moments, even when we feel completely lost and alone.
This may sound too good to be true. In fact, I must admit that the first time I heard this, it did seem a little too easy, and too convenient. It took me a number of years, actually, before I stopped using meditation like a hammer, trying to beat all of my painful feelings and cruel thoughts out of existence. I can't tell you how hard it was to be confronted continually with the tempest of my own anxiety while still holding onto the idea that difficult thoughts and emotions were keeping me from tasting true peace of mind.
It wasn't until I gave up in desperation that I finally saw the truth of what my teachers had been telling me all along. What they taught me over and over again, waiting patiently for me to see in my own experience what they had learned themselves, was that love, compassion, and wisdom are manifesting all the time. It's not that we are pure way down in the depths of our being, but somehow up on the surface everything is messed up. Rather, we are pure inside and out. Even our most dysfunctional habits are manifestations of this basic goodness.
There is only one problem: We don't see this true nature in the present moment, and even less so the innate compassion and wisdom that arise from it. Even when we understand intellectually that we have buddha nature - the potential to awaken ourselves from the slumber of ignorance and suffering - we rarely acknowledge this innate purity in the present moment. We see it as a distant possibility, as something that we can experience sometime in the future, or maybe even in another lifetime.
Nevertheless, these enlightened qualities really are present, even right now in this very moment. Don't believe me? Well, let's take a moment to see if this rings true. Why are you sitting here reading this letter? Why are you interested in meditation at all? I'll bet that at least part of the reason is that you want to be happy. Who doesn't? That wish to be happy is the essence of loving-kindness. Once we recognize this basic desire in ourselves, seeing how it manifests all the time in so many little ways, we can begin to extend it to others. Similarly, the flip side of wanting to be happy is the wish to be free from suffering. Once again, I'll bet that in some way, the drive to be free from suffering is motivating you at this very moment. This simple wish is the essence of compassion. And finally, it must be said that even though we want to be happy and free from suffering, we often do things that bring us the opposite result. Reflect for a moment on what it feels like in those moments. When you are looking for lasting happiness somewhere it can never be found, in switching on the TV, for example, can't you feel it in your gut that something isn't quite right? Isn't there a subtle nagging feeling that perhaps you are looking in the wrong place for happiness? Well, that is your buddha nature calling, your innate wisdom.
So you see, we don't have to look outside the present moment to experience wisdom, compassion, and the boundless purity of our true nature. In fact, these things can't be found anywhere but the present moment. We just need to pause to recognize what is always right in front of us. This is a crucial point, because meditation is not about changing who we are, or becoming better people, or even about getting rid of destructive habits. Meditation is about learning to recognize our basic goodness in the immediacy of the present moment, and then nurturing this recognition until it seeps into the very core of our being.
Now that Losar has arrived, each of us has a fresh opportunity to take this message as the heart of our practice. The fact that you are reading this letter now shows that you are not only interested, but ready to wake up to your true nature, to directly experience the purity and richness of your own heart and mind.
Before you get up to do something else, please take a few moments to rest in this recognition, whatever that means to you right now. Simply let go and relax. Allow everything that is happening in and around you to be as it is. Then, as you carry on with your day, see if you can let this experience linger in your being. Whatever you do and wherever you go, remind yourself to let go and relax from time to time.
I will keep you in my heart and prayers. My sincere wish is that you find true happiness within, and that you share this joy with all other beings. May the year ahead be filled with blessings and peace.
Yours in the Dharma,

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche


A first practice :  meditation - training the mind

Introductory notes

               Our minds will naturally find peace, compassion and wisdom if we give them the opportunity. Living with these qualities present leads to a very good life - a  content, happy - even an enlightened life.  However, due to the way we’ve lived our lives and the mental habits we’ve developed we no longer know how to find this good and pleasant state. So ways of training the ‘heart-mind’ have come into being to help with this - meditation practices.
There are many meditation practices, some come within a religious framework and some do not.  Basically though they all fall into one of two types – ‘calm abiding’ and ‘insight’.
‘Calm abiding’ meditation helps you become more at peace and helps you stay in that state even after you’ve finished the practice.  It can also help you see your life more clearly - and so give the opportunity to make changes and live life in a better way.
‘Insight’ meditation helps you develop the qualities of calm abiding meditation more deeply - you find yourself becoming more compassionate, and insights into the nature of your life arise more frequently.  We come to see ourselves, others and the world about us to be inherently perfect, and we find ourselves living in ways that produce good results for all.
You do not have to believe anything in order to do this practice - except that you can change, can live life in a better way.  And you have to want to do that.

Calm abiding - practice guidelines for counting the breath

                        Meditate in a quiet, well ventilated room.  The room should be neither too bright nor too dark.  Wear clean clothing that does not restrict your waist or legs.  Find the most stable position you can - sitting on either a chair or on a meditation bench.  If you are very flexible you can use a meditation cushion sitting in a cross legged position.  Sit on the front half of the cushion and, with each meditation period, alternate the leg you place on top.  Do not persist in using a meditation cushion if you find the position painful.
The most important thing is to be sitting in an upright position, not resting against anything, and at the same time to be completely relaxed.  The stomach in particular should not be held in or constrained. 
To centre yourself, sway the body gently from left to right and then backwards and forwards.  Allow the natural curves of the spine to form at the neck and in the small of the back. The head should be held upright - the chin should be slightly tucked in.  The tongue is held lightly against the back of the top teeth with the lips and teeth closed
The hands are arranged into a kind of circle - put your right hand on your lap and then cover the fingers of the right hand with the fingers of the left-hand.  Now bring the two thumbs together to touch in such a way as to make a circular shape.  The hands should then be placed gently against the stomach with the thumbs roughly at the height of the naval (an alternative to this is to place the hands separately each one on or near its knee).
Keep the eyes open and lowered, allowing your gaze to fall on the wall or floor in front of you.  Keep the eyes gently focused - do not stare.  If you wear glasses it’s generally best to leave them on.
 Now check and make sure that there is no tension anywhere in your body or even in your neck, head or face that you are able to let go of  (some tension is so habitual we cant completely let go of it).
.  For this meditation practice there’s no need to try and adjust the depth or speed of your breathing. But, just to start with, take two or three deeper breaths - follow the breath up the back on the inhalation and down the front of the body on the exhalation, thus describing a circle.  Then sit steadily with an alert and bright mind.

Now we come to the counting practice:  as you exhale the first breath count ‘one’.  Then inhale. As you exhale the second breath count ‘two’.  The counting should be continued throughout the whole out-breath.  Carry on in this way counting up to ‘ten’ and then return to ‘one’ and repeat the sequence.  During this time thoughts will come and go and you will hear sounds but do not pay them any real attention.  Your primary focus should be on the counting.
Meditate regularly, every day if possible, if only for a few minutes.  Mornings and evenings or a regular quiet time in your day is best.  Decide how long your sessions will be and keep to that as much as you can.  Meditating with others in a group is helpful, as is keeping in touch with a teacher.          Best wishes with it all.
My email is monk.rinchen at gmail.com    (please modify to use).


The way of the Buddha

There is an abiding peace not dependent on getting hold of things we
In fact it's obscured by wanting things, running after things, trying to get
them, hold them, keep them.
And it's similarly obscured by not wanting other things, running away
from them, trying to avoid them, hold them off, reject them, lose them.
These "things" can be outer things in the world—money, people, proper-
ty,  possessions, experiences,  animals and  so  on—as well  as  inner  things—
our own personal thoughts and feelings.
These ways of trying to satisfy ourselves are regarded by Buddhism as
unskillful ways of seeking happiness—even if we get what we want and it
pleases us for a while the pleasure doesn't endure. We experience dissatis-
faction and go looking for something else. We can commit ourselves, our
whole lives, to treading endless treadmills.
In doing this we lose that even tempered, contented mind that we all know
to some extent—our natural treasure, our inborn happiness—that easy,
simple contentment of being, of living. That peace that asks for nothing.
If we can live in this abiding peace, this kind connectedness, even when
circumstances are difficult, we are helping others whether we know it or
not. This makes our hearts glad.
To be able to do this we have to deepen our practice—meditation and
precepts. We come to accept things as they come to us, and surrender
things as they leave us, and to act in ways that are best for all concerned.
And then we are simply following all those who have gone before us on
the Great Way
- the way of peace


Alive and well

We are alive but we don't know why. The world displays so many aspects good and bad. Different people live very different lives. Life can seem meaningless. How do we know which way to go? Or even if there is a true way.

Only we, each one of us, can find the way forward. But a few clues can be helpful if we feel ourselves separate and disconnected [which is not such a bad thing to start with].

It may seem strange, but the nature of the universe is kindness. When we act in harmony with this we feel happy. The universe, we, are pleased.

And yet as individuals we have our own wants and needs. Trying to fulfil these we can act in selfish ways, unkind ways. This leads to unhappiness. The universe is not pleased.

We have 70 years or so to figure this out and get good at it - at being kind. This being kind benefits both ourselves and others.

Although our minds are naturally good and kind there are many reasons why we don't act with kindness. So, for instance, we want/need things and are afraid we won't get them. Maybe we decide we will get them at any cost. And perhaps our objectives aren't very wise – like 'get rich'. After years of struggle maybe we succeed - and yet the cost has been and is very high. We experience unhappiness - perhaps isolation and very deep misery.

Or it could be that when we feel bad we tend to want others to feel bad too. When we come face-to-face with somebody we want to make it clear to them they're beneath us, lower than us.
Old ways die hard. We go round and round creating more problems and unhappiness. We get quite lost and can't find a way out. We're in a cage of our own making. Even if we were shown the way out it wouldn't make any sense to us. We wouldn't want to go that way. We're not very much in harmony with the universe or anybody else [but if somebody were to ask us we might say we're doing fine].

A way forward is to try even one small kind act - something we don't have to do, wouldn't normally do, and perhaps even goes against the grain to do it. Then see - does this give a good result - a little satisfaction? If so we could then decide to do this every day. Once a day. Maybe later we decide to do it regularly. We're pleased to find ourselves feeling more at one with things, with others. After a while we find we're doing it all the time! Finally we find we're not just doing kind things - we are kindness. We have become kindness. We are at last living in accordance with the universe. Now there is no separation, no fighting, no anguish. We are the universe. Happiness is our home. We are the completion of meaning.

Rinchen, Cork, July 2018


Book list for Bodhicharya Caribbean June 2016


All books by H.H. Dalai Lama
e.g. The meaning of life; The universe in a single atom

All books by the Karmapa
e.g. Heart advice of the Karmapa

The torch of certainty – Jamgon Kontrol

The hundred verses of advice – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
The heart treasures of the enlightened ones – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
The heart of compassion- Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche

Words of my perfect teacher – Patrul Rinpoche

Path of heroes [vols 1&2] ZGPG Namgyal

The nectar of Manjushri's speech – Kunzang Pelden (an extensive commentary on Shantideva's 'Way of the Bodhisattva').

Essential practice – Thrangu Rinpoche

All books written by our teacher Ringu Tulku, including:
Mind Training - Ringu Tulku
Bodhichitta - Awakening Compassion and Wisdom - Ringu Tulku (Lazy Lama series)
Refuge - Finding a Purpose and a Path - Ringu Tulku (Lazy Lama series)
Relaxing in Natural Awareness - Ringu Tulku (Lazy Lama series)
Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness - The Three Vehicles of Buddhism - Ringu Tulku
Path to Buddhahood - Teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation - Ringu Tulku

and also:
The life of Milarepa – translated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa
Taming the tiger – Akong Rinpoche
All books by by Pema Chodron
Lion's Roar articles / videos (used to be called 'Shambala Sun' - can also be viewed online)
Dreams of awakening – Charley Morley
Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness - Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
(advanced overview of the path to full liberation)

Books from the Theravaden tradition:
The Dhammapada
The Buddha and His Teachings - Narada
A Manual of Buddhism - Narada Thera
The First Sermon of the Buddha - Rewatta Dhamma
What the Buddha Taught - Walpola Rahula
The Buddha’s Ancient Path - Thera Piyadassi
A Buddhist Bible - Ed.: Dwight Goddard
Buddhist Scriptures - Ed.: Edward Conze
The Light of Asia of the Great Renunciation - Mahabhinishkramana – a poem by Sir Edwin Arnold
Seeing the Way - Disciples of Ajahn Chah
Bodhidhanya - Talks of Ajahn Chah
Mindfulness - The Path to the Deathless - Ajahn Sumedho
Cittaviveka - Teachings From the Silent Mind - Ajahn Sumedho
Venerable Father - A Life with Ajahn Chah - Paul Breiter
Small Boat, Great Mountain - Amaro Bhikkhu (this is from a retreat given by a Tibetan lama and a Theravaden monk).
Chanting Book - Morning and Evening Puja and Reflections – Amaravati

The Threefold Lotus Sutra (pub. Kosei Publishing Co.)
The Infinite Mirror - Master Sheng-Yen
Zen Wisdom - Master Sheng-Yen
The Poetry of Enlightment - Master Sheng-Yen
Setting in Motion the Dharma Wheel - Talks on the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism - Master Sheng-Yen
Complete Enlightenment - Master Sheng-Yen
Hoofprint of the Ox - Principles of the Chan Buddhist Path - Master Sheng-Yen

Principles of Zen - Martine Bachelor
Zen - Martine Bachelor
The Way of Zen - Alan Watts
The Three Pillars of Zen - Philip Kapleau
Gentling the Bull - Myokyo Ni
The Zen Way - Irmgard Schloegl (Myokyo-ni)
Zen Mind, Beginners Mind - Shunryu Suzuki
Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness - Zen Talks on the Sandokai - Shunryu Suzuki
Crooked Cucumber - The Life and Teachings of Shunryu Suzuki - David Chadwick
The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo - Kosho Uchiyama
Opening the Hand of Thought - Kosho Uchiyama
The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching - Thich Nhat Hanh
After the Ecstasy, The Laundry - How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path - Jack Kornfield
Zen flesh, zen bones – Paul Reps
Beyond the Pale of Vengance - Kan Kikuchi

OBC publications including:
Buddhist Writings on Meditation and Daily Practice - OBC
The Kyojukaimon - Keizan - OBC
Buddhism From Within - Rev. Daizui McPhillamy - OBC

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - Trans.: D. C. Lau
Ancient Secret of the fountain of youth – Peter Kelder
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen – Pub. Shambala

Note: Generally speaking, the logical way to study these books is really Theravada, Cha'an, Zen and then Tibetan – as this was how the dharma unfolded and developed as it moved east and north. Evenso Rinpoche's [Ringu Tulku's] Lazy Lama series make a marvelous and straightforward introduction to Buddhism.


J'ouvert - a new year opening – 1st January 2014
I'm in Antigua for two days now living in a small house the sangha have found for me which overlooks Falmouth Harbour.  It's a wonderful view of the harbour - the boats and also the land - the vegetation, houses and roads.
But if I just look forward without thinking, it is the main road beneath me my eyes tend to focus on, as this this is where something is happening – cars are running- things are changing - things are capturing my interest.
And so I start to miss the wider picture, which is not changing - which is most of the picture - which has its own perfection.  I unwittingly allow myself to become only marginally aware of it.

So it is with our minds - and the way we habitually use them.  We overlook the wider mind, the stillness, and focus on some detail that is happening - maybe something that needs attending to.  And that becomes our world.  Then it is the next thing we are drawn to, and the next, and the next. And so on.  In this way we can go from one thing to another, one job to another, fixing things, doing things, preparing for things - and pretty much miss the whole life we are living. 
There will always be problems and work to be done - but so what?  We can establish our meditation and open ourselves to the wider view, the wonder, the naturally arising happiness, even within this.

But don't confuse this way of being with the other extreme - Buddhism is always the middle way.  So don't get caught by the opposite (of constant mental and physical involvement) - which is just passively watching, passively being. This can appear to be a seductive alternative to the endless, driven, busyness of modern island life - and there are many living and dead masters of it!  But if we live in this way, in time, a certain dullness develops. Where is the compassion?  The active kindness?  Seeing the troubles, the suffering - the work that needs doing - doing what we can to help - the bodhisattva life.  Where is it? Instead, chances are, little is offered - and we may occasionally witness the inactivity flipping over into an imposing opposite - “Give me, give me, give me” - people behaving like hatchlings. 

So we have to keep finding and re-finding the middle way in whatever we do, and in the way we view this our world.  Moment by moment.  That is our way, training the heart-mind to be continually open to the perfection of things and living in that perfection (it only takes a gentle effort to re-find this bigger mind, but once re-established it will stay naturally and happily there - for some time at the least!).
Do we really have to read everything in the papers, post an article on face book, watch the evening TV, send some texts and emails, go to some time-wasting event?  Think about it, or you will reach my old age and think "What was all that about?  What was I so busy doing?  Why do I still feel dissatisfied?  Why did I not get my share, what I really wanted - my due"

It's all there just waiting for us to open our hearts to it.

What are the benefits of Buddhist practice?

Origionally written for B King Trini online magasin Dec 2010

I've been invited to say something about the benefits of undertaking Buddhist practice, but maybe I should say first that I’m a Buddhist monk who's been visiting Trinidad since 2003.  I first started meditating in 1970 and I became a monk 20 years later having lived in the West Indies most of that time.  My country of origin is England.

I think if most people were to look carefully and honestly at their life they would find that, while many things are good, there is also a sense of something being missing, or something slightly unsatisfactory - though what that something is exactly might be hard to determine.   Maybe they would look at life itself and see birth, old-age, sickness and death and find the whole process of living and the nature of our own bodies and minds leaving something to be desired.  The same thought occurred to a young prince 2500 years ago who lived in northern India.

  I think most of us try and make the best of it and if any people are good at celebrating life Trinis would have to be amongst the best of the best!  And yet at any moment, if we investigate now at this very moment, do we feel completely content and at peace, relaxed  - completely fulfilled?

The Buddha to be, this young Indian prince, had a feeling that all the unsatisfactoriness of life, like anything else that happens, must have a cause.  And he felt that if he could find the cause of this unsatisfactoriness, or dukkha, then he would be able to bring it to an end - not just for himself but for all living beings.  He soon left his palace and spent the next six years in his quest until eventually he sat underneath a Bodhi tree outside a small village in northern India vowing that he wouldn't get up until he’d found the cause of suffering.  Legend has it that after meditating day and night for seven days, he saw the morning star rise and at that moment realised perfect and complete enlightenment.

So what is this enlightenment that he later helped people find - what is this liberation from suffering?  The Buddha (as he then was - it just means somebody who was woken up to the truth of life) saw that all our suffering in the end comes from our own mind.  We somehow create it!  We have mental habits which cause us to suffer.  All of us do.  And he summarised these as greed, hatred and ignorance.  He said it’s not what's happening around us that is the main problem, it’s the way we are reacting to it.  If we can just train the mind to react in a different way, in a better way, then we won't have to suffer any more.  He’d realised that it’s possible to convert these negative mental habits, negative emotional traits, into very beautiful qualities.  We become fully human in the best sense, having converted our normal reactive spirit into compassion, love and wisdom.

So the practice as I learned and now teach is focused on training the mind so that it doesn't give us all this grief, all this suffering.  We give up the feeling of being the victim of circumstances and instead work towards true liberation.  This liberation is not some cute idea but a very real everyday reality.
  And wonderfully, the Buddha said ‘Don't believe anything, even if I tell you it's true, or even if it’s written in the ancient scriptures, or agreed by a group of wise men.  But instead find out for yourself’.  And the way we find out is through doing the practice he recommended and seeing if we do truly find ourselves moving towards peace and liberation.  And if we do, then we can be said to be ‘on the path’ and working towards liberation.

This enlightened state of mind knows nothing about gender or race or age.  It doesn’t matter what’s happened to us in the past, or what we’ve done, or what kind of a person we are now.  It’s immaterial.

But it’s said that it’s only from this human state that we can we attain liberation - and therefore that this life should not be wasted pursuing things which in the end we’ll find to be unsatisfactory –  if we do, likely as not, they’ll disappoint us once more and then we’ll go off again looking for something else.  It seems we’re destined to continue treading endless treadmills - unless we seek a true path.

Thankyou for reading this.  Please think this through for yourself.

We have small groups practicing in Antigua and Montserrat, Trinidad and Tobago
You are welcome to contact me.  All are very welcome to come.  We will have talks, meditation sessions, workshops, retreats and other events.

My email is monk.rinchen at gmail.com    (please modify to use).

There are no charges for any of our activities and meetings.  But since the time of the Buddha it’s been the monk's job to teach the laity and the laity’s job to support the monks.  

With best wishes