from Buddhist Teachers
The teachings are invitations to investigate, discern, and see for ourselves.
If accumulating information were going to save us, we’d have made it a long time ago.
I believe there is an important distinction to be made between religion and spirituality. Religion I take to be concerned with faith in the claims to salvation of one faith tradition or another, an aspect of which is acceptance of some form of metaphysical or supernatural reality, including perhaps an idea of heaven or nirvana. Connected with this are religious teachings or dogma, ritual, prayer, and so on. Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit—such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony—which bring happiness to both self and others. While ritual and prayer, along with the questions of nirvana and salvation, are directly connected to religious faith, these inner qualities need not be, however. There is thus no reason why the individual should not develop them, even to a high degree, without recourse to any religious or metaphysical belief system. This is why I sometimes say that religion is something we can perhaps do without. What we cannot do without are these basic spiritual qualities.
H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama
When admonishing someone, keep these six considerations in mind:
Is my heart free of malice towards this person?
Have I been guilty of this offence myself?
Do I speak at the right time?
Is this the truth?
Do I speak gently?
Am I concerned with profit to myself?
Seven Verses on the Path
1. That which clouds the presence of ultimate nature is ignorance.
2. That which disperses that which clouds the presence of ultimate nature is wisdom.
3. The movement from ignorance to wisdom is the path.
4. Though ultimate nature is always present, awareness of this always present ultimate nature is not always present.
5. Awareness of ultimate nature has degrees.
6. Every living being has the capacity to be aware of ultimate nature to some degree.
7. Awareness of ultimate nature is great peace.
I don’t want to sound cynical here, but—my observation is that often when people say that their daily life is their spiritual practice, what they mean is that they don’t have a spiritual practice.
It’s true that washing dishes, making a cup of tea, and all those kinds of things, can be occasions for realization and attentiveness. But it’s also true that by and large they’re not. I’m self-reporting here; I’m not exempting myself from this. My observation is that it takes some specific spiritual practice in order to prepare one’s consciousness so that washing the dishes, making a cup of tea, going for a walk, can blossom and reveal that potential.
It must always be borne in mind that the Path offers salvation only to those who actually practice it.
Emptiness is not a theory, but a ladder that reaches out into the infinite. A ladder is not there to be discussed, but to be climbed…
“Emptiness” is used as a traditional term to express the complete negation of this world by the exercise of wisdom. The central idea is the total denial of, the complete emancipation from, the world around us in all its aspects and along its entire breadth. It is a practical concept, and it embodies an aspiration, not a view. Its only use is to help us get rid of this world and of the ignorance which binds us to it. It has not only one meaning, but several, which can unfold themselves on the successive stages of the actual process of transcending the world through wisdom.
It would be a mistake to think of Emptiness as constituting the self-nature or own-being of dharmas, for there would be no difference between the Buddhist doctrine of Emptiness on the one hand and conceptions such as the Nirguna Brahman of Shankara or the Substance of Spinoza on the other.
All things are empty, therefore emptiness is itself empty and is not to be thought of as being in reality a sort of stuff or substance out of which dharmas have been manufactured and to which they can again be reduced, like pots to clay, much less still as a sort of substratum which somehow stands underneath things and holds them up.
Washing the dishes
Is like bathing a baby Buddha.
The profane is the sacred.
Everyday mind is Buddha’s mind.
Thich Nhat Hanh
A wise person whould be urgently moved
On occasions that make for urgency;
As an ardent discerning bhikkhu
He should investigate with wisdom.
One living ardent thus,
Of peaceful conduct, not proud,
Practising tranquillity of mind,
May attain the destruction of suffering.
The Buddha (Itivuttaka 37)
Nothing whatsoever is to be clung to as “I” or “mine”.
We don’t do compassion by proxy.