Friday, June 3, 2011

Points for Meditation from Arya Nagarjuna's Ratnavali

Prostrations to the Omniscient One
Who is the only benefactor to all sentient beings.

                             1) There are two goals
a) Higher States
b) Ultimate Goodness
                             There are two means
a) Faith: it consists of the practices of virtue in general like cultivating confidence in the efficacy of law of Karma,  Three Jewels and the truth.
b) Wisdom: the wisdom realizing the ultimate truth.

Of the two - faith and wisdom - the latter is the prime. Faith, however should precede the latter.
 3) Criteria for one to be with faith - one who is not under the influence of attachment, anger, fear, and delusion that one is led towards casting aside virtues.
 4) 16 practices to achieve Higher States - 13 practices to abandon negativities and three practices to partake
 - abandoning 10 non-virtuous actions, alcohol, wrong livelihood and harmful physical actions
 3 practices to partake - respectful generosity, offering service to the deserved and the practice of love (4 immeasurables)
 5) The above 16 practices can be summed up in the following three practices - generosity, ethical discipline, and patience.
 6) Concomitant results of the 16 negativities in opposition to the above 16 practices a) in terms of habit
                                    b) in terms of experience
 7) Dharma for Ultimate goodness

                       Reflect as thus:
Grasping at self is folly → contaminated aggregates which arose from this grasping is also folly → grasping at self will cease → the contaminated aggregates will cease.

Just as an image is formed through dependence on many factors like mirror and so forth, the self also arises by dependence on many factors such as aggregates. The image though appears as the real object, it is devoid as such. Likewise, the self though appears, is devoid of its existence the way it appears to the self-grasping mind.

8) Grasping at the aggregates (grasping at the self of phenomena) → grasping at self of person → accumulates contaminated karmas → revolves in samsara.
 9) What is nirvana?  a) common acceptance: A quality of mind acquired through cessation of grasping at things and non-things.
b) uncommon to Prasangika: The ultimate reality of the mind characterised by the cessation of grasping at things and non-things.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Never Lose Heart! Step Forward in Enlightening Cheer

Never Lose Heart! Step Forward in Enlightening Cheer
Never lose Heart!

Always be optimistic on your path towards the Spiritual Goal of Enlightenment; everyone of us, wherever we are, is in the presence of BUDDHA NATURE – the very seed which, in due course of time and through encounter with conducive factors, will sprout into a flawless state of Buddha hood. This is an incredible wonder, and a potential source of inspiration and hope with which the mundane qualities can find no space for comparison.

Simply, participate in the ecstatic joy of initiating the Awakening of the BUDDHA NATURE, undoubtedly the greatest gift, so intrinsic with each one of us at all times. Come! Let us all join in this great moment of joy, to awaken our Buddha Nature.

How shall we awaken it, you might well wonder.

Feel joyous over Learning, Contemplation and Meditation. These are the incisive means, our beloved teacher, the Buddha, so compassionately reiterated us to engage in, so as to foster a soaring Wisdom – one that instantly cuts through, any misguided views that hinder our progress on the path towards Buddha hood. This WISDOM is the first of the two most instrumental factors to awaken the Buddha Nature.

What greater gift could possibly be availed of to you than the over-flowing, universal LOVE and COMMPASION. How could any being in the entire galaxy provide you a more joyous satisfaction than the unconditional Love, whose loving arms stretch endlessly to warmly embrace all mother sentient beings? A resounding assurance that, "I am here to absorb your grievances. Do not fear, do not be saddened, for I am always here with you, ready to provide protection and anything else that you may need. Cheer Up! My dear, Cheer up!"

Oh! The great BODDHICITTA – the greatest heart to heart bond with all the mother sentient beings, of which even a single glimpse of experience will cause a waterfall of tears. The inexplicably tight bond which, even at a hair's breadth, knows no separation from even a single mother sentient being. This marvelous quality is the ultimate, indomitable impetus that drives the Wisdom of Emptiness towards the quintessential meaning of Enlightenment as opposed to mere Self-Liberation.

Oh, Bodhicitta, the fabulous ambrosia, which Bodhisattvas  - the great children of Buddhas – hold so dear and meticulously engage in. This is the second instrumental factor, to harness and awaken the Buddha nature within us.

Come, Join in the joy and jubilance of embracing the union of BODHICITTA and the harmonious WISDOM of EMPTINESS and DEPENDENT ORIGINATION. Partake in this, the greatest moment of happiness, by intertwining the two most precious and enthralling factors in awakening the BUDDHA NATURE.

Our beloved Buddha assures us:

"In a more profound sense, from the view point of Buddha nature, in no way the sentient beings are inferior to a Buddha."

So always fill your face and heart with ENLIGHTENING CHEER, and step forward in the enduring Bliss of Enlightenment. Help assure solace and serene joy in the hearts of all our kind mother sentient beings by awakening the magnificence of Buddha nature, our true and ultimate inspiration which resides in each one of us at all times.

Never lose heart! Always step forward with Enlightening Cheer!

-by Geshe Dorji Damdul at the request of Lorena Wong, the president of Casa Tibet, Guatemala.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monthly Lecture, February 18, 2010

Tibet House
The Four Seals of Buddha's Teaching to Unravel Our Inner Treasure of Joy
Monthly Lecture by Geshe Dorji Damdul on February 18, 2010
Acharya Shantideva, in his 'A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life', said:
Although wishing to be rid of misery,
The beings run towards misery itself.
Although wishing to have happiness,
Like an enemy they ignorantly destroy it.
We are mesmerized by the appealing though deceptive appearances of this world on the basis of which we see things as permanent and paradise-like. This delusion ensnares us in misery instead. We fail to recognize what constitutes the truth or reality as opposed to our flawed perception and wishful thinking. When examined well, our experiences of the world starkly contrast its deceptively appealing appearance. Chasing after this appearance binds us more tightly in misery. Wisely taking caution of this appearance instead, the Buddha said, will lead us to a genuine healing of all problems. The Buddha thus offered the healing wisdom - popularly known as "The Four Seals" - to free us from the unending, agonizing suffering of samsara. The first two Seals are as follows. All composite things are impermanent; and all objects which are contaminated by mental defilements are of suffering nature. These two highlight the reality and the prison nature of our defilements. Failure to realize this binds us from taking a step forward to total freedom. Realizing the appearance as flawed in this way, one naturally seeks an escape from it. What is the escape? It is the light of wisdom which sees the reality as it is which alone has the ability to destroy the darkness of ignorance which underlies all our suffering. To bring us to this realization, the third seal - Everything is empty of independent existence and self - is taught. Understanding this truth engenders a sense of true relief and freedom from suffering. The Buddha points to this consummate joyful state in the form of the fourth seal - Transcending sorrow is the ultimate peace.
Geshe Dorji Damdul is going to highlight the Four Seals of the Buddha's Teachings pointing to its relevance to our everyday-life happiness.