Page 4 of 11

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:53 am
by Nicholas Weeks
Here, for spiritually inclined beings who wish to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by
human life, is a treatise on the Lamrim Tradition of meditation, a tradition known as Stages on
the Spiritual Path Leading to Enlightenment.
What is the Lamrim Tradition? It is the essence of all teachings of Buddha, the one path
traveled by the high beings of the past, present and future, the legacy of the masters Nagarjuna
and Asanga, the religion of supreme people traveling to the earth of omniscience, the unabridged
synthesis of all practices included within the three levels of spiritual application. This is the
Lamrim Tradition.
Lamrim is an especially profound aspect of Dharma, for it is a tradition of practice sound
in origin. It has neither fault nor shortcoming, for it is a complete practice perfectly uniting both
method and wisdom aspects of the path. It provides all levels and grades of the techniques passed
through Nagarjuna and Asanga, from the practices meant for beginners up to and including the
final practice before full Buddhahood, the stage of non-practice.
From The Essence of Refined Gold by Third Dalai Lama; Mullin trans.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:09 pm
by Nicholas Weeks
In cultivating one must be "free of any particular motives in one's actions." Don't have thoughts of greed. Don't be thinking, "I'd like to have it be this way or that way. I'd like to become enlightened. I'd like to get spiritual powers." How could it be so rapid as this? Take the seeds and plant them down in the soil. Then it's necessary to wait for them to slowly grow forth. When the time arrives, then they will naturally ripen.
Master Hsuan Hua; from Lotuses in the Spring Sun (Chwun-er Lyan-hwa), p.100

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:36 pm
by Losal Samten
Mipham's commentary on Maitreya's Dharma-dharmata-vibhanga translated by Dharmacakra Translation Committee.

  • The Relinquishment of Marks

    Second, accessing the relinquishment of the marks of the conceited mind also involves four factors:

    (1) Abandoning the mark of fixating on discordant factors such as desire;
    (2) Abandoning the mark of fixating on repulsiveness and the other remedies that eliminate these discordant factors;
    (3) Abandoning the mark of fixating on the focal point of suchness; and
    (4) Abandoning the mark of fixating on the qualities of realization, such as the ten strengths, the subject that realizes, or the authentic view that results from treading the path.

    These are all concepts that conflict with jñāna. Relinquishing them brings about the attainment of jñāna in its purest form.

    As taught in the Sutra That Teaches the Dharani of Nonconceptuality, relinquishing the four marks outlined above brings about a concurrent relinquishment of those marks that are coarse, intermediate, and subtle, up to those marks that remain associated with ones mind stream for a long time and which are difficult to discard.

    (1) Because afflictive phenomena like attachment, which cause negative tendencies, are easy to understand and abandon, the coarse marks of fixating on these discordant factors is relinquished first.

    (2) The next relinquishment concerns the intermediate marks that ensue from seeing their remedies, such as repulsiveness, as something positive.

    (3) Suchness is the unsurpassed remedy for all that needs to be eliminated and also the most sublime factor that is to be realized. For these reasons relinquishing the subtle concepts of fixating on suchness and clinging to it as a mark is very difficult. Hence, it is relinquished after the preceding factors.

    (4) The mark of fixating on realization itself is relinquished after all others. Since the subtle aspiration that involves desiring to attain a higher level of realization is not surrendered in the context of the grounds and paths, association with these marks persists for a long time. Until nonconceptual jñāna has completely matured, it remains linked with the mind stream in the form of subtle thinking.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:24 pm
by Nicholas Weeks
In cultivating the Way, if one is unable to change one's faults, then this is just the same as not cultivating the Way at all. In studying the Buddha Dharma, if one is unable to realize one's own faults and the necessity of change them, then this is just the same as not studying the Buddha Dharma at all. In this connection, there is the so-called, "Having gone through fifty years one then realizes the forty-nine years of faults." If one realizes the points where one has been wrong in what one has practiced and done in the past, anyone who experiences this kind of feeling is a person who possesses wisdom. The road of the future is full of an immeasurable amount of brightness. If on the other hand one does not realize where one has been wrong in the past, this person will remain confused for the rest of his life. One who seeks after an empty reputation is just being confused by the dust of the sense objects. People of this sort are so very pitiable! (p.105)
Master Hua from Lotuses in the Spring Sun (Chwun-er Lyan-hwa), Taiwan, 1995

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:49 pm
by Losal Samten
Rongzom on the four jñānas

  • The four gnoses are taught under eight points:

    (1) the cause (rgyu) of the gnoses,
    (2) the favourable associate (grogs pa) [of the gnoses],
    (3) the function (las) of the gnoses,
    (4) the object (yul) of the gnoses,
    (5) the nature (rang bzhin) of the gnoses,
    (6) the characteristic (mtshan nyid) of the gnoses,
    (7) the number (grangs) of the gnoses, and
    (8) the result (’brasbu) of the gnoses.

    Of these, (1) the cause of the gnoses is the set of eight [vijñānas]:

    The transformed ālaya[vijñāna], which exists as the foundation or cause of all phenomena, is the mirror-like gnosis.

    The [transformed] defiled mind (nyon mongs pa can gyi yid: kliṣṭamanas) is the gnosis of equality, because after eliminating the grasping at a self (bdag tu ’dzin pa: ātmagrāha), [one perceives] oneself and others as equal.

    The transformed mental perception (yid kyi rnam par shes pa: manovijñāna), [by] which [one] cognizes an object and identifies [it by means of exclusion or inclusion], is discerning gnosis.

    [What results] from the transformation of [the perceptions of] the five [sensory] apertures, which come about on the basis of their various respective objects, is the gnosis of earnestly performing [beneficial] activities. Just as [the perceptions of] the five [sensory] apertures determine the respective objects, so too does the gnosis of performing [beneficial] activities cause all sentient beings who [share] the same resolution to mature and be liberated.

    (2) The favourable associate is a mind that is directed towards the noble path. It is, for example, like a thorough rubbing (bskyod, lit. ‘moving’); that is, it is like the removal of stains from a mirror when [it] is rubbed with felt (phying bu). If the mind is directed towards the noble path, the impurities of one’s ālaya[vijñāna] are removed. Once one has directed the mind towards the noble path, the seeds—that is, the latent tendencies—[sown by] wholesome [factors] will prevail (gnas pa) in the ālaya[vijñāna].

    (3) The function is the elimination of the two obscurations (sgrib pa: āvaraṇa).

    (4) As to the object, there are the shared and unshared objects. Of these, the shared object is the dharmadhātu. [As to] the unshared objects, [these are] the clear and unobscured, {[known by means of] the mirror-like gnosis}, the equal and unmixed, {[known by means of the gnosis of] equality}, the continuum of sentient beings, known {[by means of] the discerning [gnosis]}, and the various disciples, {[known by means of the gnosis of] performing [beneficial] activities}.

    (5) The nature is the knowledge of all phenomena [as they actually are and] to the full extent. As to [knowing phenomena] as [they actually] are, [one] knows that [their] ‘universal characteristic’ (spyi’i mtshan nyid: sāmānyalakṣaṇa) is that [they] are unarisen; as to [knowing phenonmena] to the full extent, one knows in an unobscured manner all phenomena, that is, all [their] ‘particular characteristics’ (rang gi mtshan nyid: svalakṣaṇa).

    (6) The characteristic [of the gnoses themselves] is momentariness. It is stated:

    • [One] repeatedly refers to ‘gnosis,’
      [But] even that which is referred to as gnosis is hollow.
      The inexpressible gnosis
      Is the absolute gnosis.

    (7) As for the number, [it] is four.

    (8) The result is the three Bodies. [The result of] the mirror-like gnosis, which is indivisible from the true reality of phenomena, is the dharmakāya; [that of] the [next] two, the gnosis of equality, which causes great compassion to emerge, and the discerning gnosis, which is the foundation of retention, samādhi and so forth, is the saṃbhogakāya; [that of] the gnosis of earnestly [performing beneficial] activities, which does not fail (chud mi za ba) the disciples, is the nirmāṇakāya.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:29 pm
by Losal Samten
  • Buddhas and bodhisattvas are the knowers, and unmistakable true reality is the object of knowledge. Therefore, it is stated that there is no difference between knowledge and the object of knowledge.
- Rongzompa

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:59 am
by Nicholas Weeks
These Three Realms are simply made by thought. Whatever I think, that I see.
The mind creates the Buddha. The mind itself sees him. The mind
is the Buddha. The mind is the Tathagata. The mind is my body, the
mind sees the Buddha. The mind does not itself know the mind, the
mind does not itself see mind. A mind with conceptions is stupidity,
a mind without conceptions is nirvana. There is nothing in these
dharmas which can be enjoyed; they are all made by thinking. If
thinking is nothing but empty, then anything which is thought is
also utterly nonexistent.' So it is, Bhadrapala, such is the vision of
the bodhisattvas who are established in the meditation."

The Buddha then recited the following verses:

Mind does not know mind;
With mind one cannot see mind.
Mind giving rise to conceptions is stupidity;
Free of conceptions it is nirvana.

There is nothing fixed or firm in these dharmas;
They are forever located in thinking.
When one understands emptiness,
One is altogether free of conceptual thinking.
The Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra tr. by Harrison, BDK, pp. 21-22

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:20 pm
by Losal Samten
  • Emptiness is not an entity;
    While appearance is not reified,
    That appearance abides as the great emptiness--
    This is a critical point that destroys the clinging to entities.

    Emptiness is not a non-entity;
    While emptiness is not reified,
    The self-lucidity of emptiness is appearing phenomenon--
    This is a critical point of the dawning of dependent arising.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:31 pm
by Losal Samten
  • Concerning the manners of asserting the phenomena of self-appearance,
    The tradition of Mind-Only (1) posits the mode of appearance as
    Cognition and matter that are the category of the imagined nature, and
    (2) Accepts the mode of reality, which is the essence of the consummate dependent nature, as mind.

    Śāntarakṣita's tradition (1) posits the mere mode of appearance, such as cognition and matter,
    As relative phenomena that are [established by their] own characters, and
    (2) Accepts as the conventional mode of reality
    That all appearances are mind.

    Candrakīrti's tradition is that the mode of appearance, all phenomena of self-appearance,
    Appear to the mind and are produced by the mind;
    Therefore, self-appearances, the great forms of emptiness,
    Are alike as illusions.


    When appearances are asserted as mind,
    The universal ground and reflexive awareness are indispensable;
    In the assertion [of appearances] as merely self-appearance,
    No deliberate refutation or affirmation is made.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:37 pm
by Losal Samten
  • There are three for each
    Of the evaluated objects that are the two truths of appearance/emptiness.
    The three are: (1) what is evident, (2) what is hidden, and
    (3) what is extremely hidden.

    The objects of evident appearance, such as forms,
    Are ascertained by the direct perceptions of sense-faculty valid cognitions of confined perception.
    Objects of hidden appearance, such as impermanence,
    Are ascertained by the mental inferences of confined perception.

    The phenomena of extremely hidden appearance--
    Such as the causality of karma, the heritage of the basic element, and the innate mind--
    Are ascertained through the valid cognition that relies upon the testimony
    Of those who possess pure vision.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:41 pm
by Nicholas Weeks
The Buddha told Good Wisdom, “A bodhisattva who accomplishes four dharmas
receives an upright body. What are these four? [1] The first is not giving rise
to a mind of hatred for bad friends. [2] The second is to abide in great kindness.
[3] The third is to have profound delight in the correct Dharma. [4] The fourth is
to create images of the Buddha.”

At that time, the Buddha spoke a gāthā:
Avoid hatred which spoils good roots,
Have kindness, delight in the Dharma, and make buddha images;
These will cause you to have good features adorning your body
So that all sentient beings are happy when they perceive it.
The Inquiry of Good Wisdom, from Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:05 pm
by Nicholas Weeks
“Moreoever, Good Wisdom, a bodhisattva who accomplishes four dharmas will
attain a body that is rich and noble. What are these four? [1] The first is that you
should give timely gifts. [2] The second is to do so without a mind of disdain for
others. [3] The third is to do so with happiness. [4] The fourth is to do so without
expecting any reward.”

At that time, the Bhagavān spoke a gāthā:
Giving timely gifts without disdain,
Happily giving without seeking reward—
Being able to constantly strive and cultivate this,
You will be born into great wealth and nobility.
The Inquiry of Good Wisdom, from Mahāratnakūṭa Sūtra

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:28 am
by Nicholas Weeks
For innumerable kalpas they [the bodhisattvas] had amassed powerful
aspirations for enlightenment. Their faces were smiling, their words
straightforward; they were never irritated, and they spoke in
musical cadences. Their minds were overwhelmingly brilliant,
and they had ceaseless inner confidence in their knowledge.
They had obtained patient conviction concerning the integral
sameness of all constituents of reality and with their fearlessness
overawed boundless assemblies. They had ways of teaching
across the furthest reaches of ten million kalpas with
a single word. They delighted in seeing how all dharmas are like
illusions, mirages, the moon in water, dreams, and echoes.
Immeasurably fearless was their knowledge, and they fully
understood all the intricacies of behavior and subtle moods of
living beings.
Vast was their virtue, their minds unhindered; they were
without egocentric pride, and were endowed with patience.
Their virtue was like a great wave billowing, and they embraced
all the holy aspirations existing within the limitless array of the
Buddha-fields. They were continuously present in the samadhi
that recollects the Buddhas of the innumerable world systems,
and they were wise in the ways of communicating with the
countless Buddhas. They were skilled in quieting all forms of
emotional turmoil, karmic propensities, and destructive belief systems.
They were skilled in displaying by their samadhi
hundreds of thousands of playful actions.
Bhadrakalpika Sūtra, p. 5

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:59 pm
by Nicholas Weeks
Good Man, of all offerings, the gift of Dharma is supreme. That is to say, the offering of cultivating according to the teachings, the offering of benefiting all living beings, the offering which gathers in all living beings, the offering of standing in for all beings to undergo their suffering, the offering of diligently cultivating good roots, the offering of not forsaking the deeds of the Bodhisattva, and the offering of not renouncing the Bodhi mind.

Good Man, the immeasurable merit and virtue created from making those offerings [of lamps, incense etc], when compared with the merit and virtue from a single thought of offering Dharma, does not equal one part in a hundred, one part in a thousand, one part in a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas.... None of them measure up to a single part. Why is this? Because all Thus Come Ones honor the Dharma. Cultivating according to the teachings gives birth to all Buddhas. If all Bodhisattvas make the offering of Dharma, they perfect the making of offerings to all Thus Come Ones. Cultivation in this manner is a true offering, a vast, great, and most supreme offering.
Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 40

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:39 am
by Nicholas Weeks
Cultivators of the Way, do not cheat yourselves.
It won’t work to plug your ears while stealing a bell.
Barren blossoms cannot bear real fruit.
What a shame to leave precious time pass by vain!
Master Hua

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:44 pm
by Losal Samten
  • The cakravartin (i.e. dharmin) has a manifoldness [in the form of] the [32] major marks and the like (i.e. dharma) [...]

    Therefore, the designation of the dharmakāya, too, is [merely] a ‘borrowed ornament’ (yācitakamaṇḍana) for the [saṃbhogakāya] [...]

    If the saṃbhogakāya ceases, its properties, [constituting] the dharmakāya, no [longer] exist, and its result, the nirmāṇakāya does not [exist], either.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:27 pm
by Losal Samten
  • Dualistic consciousness [rnam shes] and pristine consciousness [ye shes] are similar in terms of merely being conscious [shes pa] and knowing [rig pa]. However, they differ insofar as one is a mistaken apprehension that fails to correctly comprehend its object, while the other is an unmistaken consciousness of the object as it is.
Trans. Malcolm.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:11 pm
by Boomerang
We want enlightenment and we want it quickly, but we must make sure that all the conditions are there. If we want to go to India we have to fly— any other way takes too long—so we really need to make sure we have enough money for the ticket. The flight is the tantric path and realizing bodhicitta and emptiness are like the ticket. Buying the ticket depends on having enough money, the mind that has fully renounced the evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas.
How To Practice Dharma: Teachings on the Eight Worldly Dharmas by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:41 pm
by Losal Samten
Kongtrul on Jambudvipa

  • One is mistaken if one believes that human life in this world is inferior to others. Since humans of the three other continents experience [only] the results of their past [actions]. they have no possibility of performing new karma. Therefore, these places are inferior to Jambu.

    The land of Jambu is the place for new karma. Therefore, any action performed by persons born here has especially powerful [effects]. Moreover, people feel sad when hearing accounts of impermanence, etc., and so are easily guided [onto the spiritual path]. For these reasons, supreme nirmanakayas--supreme guides, including our own teacher Shakyamuni--demonstrate enlightenment in this world and become the teachers of [humanity]. Therefore, human life in Jambudvipa is superior to that on the other continents. The Great Mindfulness Sutra states:

    • Compared to the other three continents, this is a place for karma. Here, people are inspired to practice the ten virtues. Here, buddhas appear. All four places of humans depend on this one. Here, people are conscientious about the ten virtuous actions and are inspired to practice them. This is a place for pure conduct. Here, there is an awareness of birth and death.Here, there is the indestructible seat of enlightenment [Vajrasana].

    From the same source:

    • Among the four continents of our universe inhabited by humans, Jambudvipa is the most important.

Kongtrul on indestructible places

  • Are there places in this world-system not subject to formation and destruction? The pure realms of the sambhogakaya, the natural radiance of the pristine wisdom of the sublime ones, are such places. The realms that arise from the force of the bodhisattvas' inconceivable virtue and vows to purify all realms--Sukhavati and Abhirati, for example--belong to the same category. These realms are not subject to formation and destruction until the activity of the buddhas has been completed.

    The Seat of Enlightenment, Vulture's Peak, and other sacred places are not destroyed along with this world. Although they are [part of] this world, they have not originated from [karma and afflictions that are] the origin of suffering.

Re: Dharma Gems

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:38 pm
by Losal Samten
Mipham on reflexive awareness and the alayavijnana, from the Norbu Ketaka
  • In brief, the refutation of rang rig is refutation with respect to ultimate reality, but is not a refutation of the way rang rig is designated conventionally as the opposite of the state of being inanimate. If that were refuted, one would have to accept that one's own mind would be hidden from itself, and there would be no difference in the way one knew the minds of oneself and others [viz., through inference]; the proofs that one's own continuum possesses a mind would be invalid; and finally the convention of knowing things would be eliminated. Thus, there would be harm, just as the Lord of Reason said.

    One should know that all the reasonings that negate rang rig, like the reasoning negating the skandhas and so forth, are negations with respect to the ultimate, but are not categorical denials at the conventional level. Although it is said in this [Prasangika] system rang rig and alayavijnana are not accepted, here they are neither refuted nor proven [conventionally], but are simply refuted ultimately. On this some say that if one is a Madhyamika, one should not accept alayavijnana, because it is a system of the Vijnaptimatrins; but this is ill-considered. What harm does it do to the Madhyamika if the alayavijnana is accepted, but not as truly existent?

    Things such as permanence that are harmed bv conventional valid cognition should not be accepted conventionally; but if everything that is negated ultimately were likewise not accepted conventionally, then the skandhas, ayatanas, and dhatus, would also have to be accepted as totally nonexistent.