Tibet Buddhism Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Tibet Buddhism. Here they are! All 42 of them:

No sane person fears nothingness.
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Tibetan Book of the Dead)
Whenever ego suffers from fear of death & your practice turns to seeing impermanence, ego settles down.
Tsoknyi Rinpoche (Carefree Dignity: Discourses on Training in the Nature of Mind)
Buddhism is all about science. If science is the systematic pursuit of the accurate knowledge of reality, then science is Buddhism, Buddhism is science.
Robert A.F. Thurman (Why The Dalai Lama Matters)
The buddha-dharma does not invite us to dabble in abstract notions. Rather, the task it presents us with is to attend to what we actually experience, right in this moment. You don't have to look "over there." You don't have to figure anything out. You don't have to acquire anything. And you don't have to run off to Tibet, or Japan, or anywhere else. You wake up right here. In fact, you can only wake up right here. So you don't have to do the long search, the frantic chase, the painful quest. You're already right where you need to be.
Steve Hagen (Buddhism Plain and Simple: The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day)
Achala, worrying and scheming about your next life, before you have even completed this one, is not a good practice." Rinpoche
Daniel Prokop (Taking It With You: Everybody knows you can't take anything with you when you die... almost everybody.)
There is no reason for a sound faith to be irrational. A useful faith should not be blind, but should be well aware of its grounds. A sound faith should be able to use scientific investigation to strengthen itself. it should be open to the spirit not to lock itself up in the letter. A nourishing, useful, healthful faith should be no obstacle to developing a science of death.
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Tibetan Book of the Dead)
if my memory serves me right, here is my genealogical line: Boccaccio, Petronius, Rabelais, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, Maeterlinck, Romain Rolland, Plotinus, Heraclitus, Nietzsche, Dostoievsky (and other Russian writers of the Nineteenth Century), the ancient Greek dramatists, theElizabethan dramatists (excluding Shakespeare), Theodore Dreiser, Knut Hamsun, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Elie Faure, Oswald Spengler, Marcel Proust, Van Gogh, the Dadaists and Surrealists, Balzac, Lewis Carroll, Nijinsky, Rimbaud, Blaise Cendrars, Jean Giono, Celine, everything I read on Zen Buddhism, everything I read about China, India, Tibet, Arabia, Africa, and of course the Bible, the men who wrote it and especially the men who made the King James version, for it was the language of the Bible rather than its “message” which I got first and which I will never shake off.
Henry Miller (The Books in My Life (New Directions Paperbook))
The preservation of Buddhism is preserving your own internal heart. If Tibetans became terrorists they might win back Tibet, but Buddhism would be destroyed by that attitude.
Rodger Kamenetz (The Jew in the Lotus)
You yourself can be god. You really are that, in fact. You, yourself, are reality. You, yourself, are buddha. (p. 18)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
The Bodhisattva is in no rush. For once we have tasted a single drop of the bliss of bringing others into that freedom, with the Spirit of Enlightenment of love and compassion, once we have loosened the grip of the solid, separated, alienated self that is the core of self-centeredness, then we are already happy in a certain way. The Bodhisattva is always joyful, even when suffering. Bodhisattvas are always happy and cheerful under pressure, because they have felt the essence of reality as freedom (p. 223)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
We have the assurance of the enlightened beings that reality is goodness, that reality is freedom from suffering, that reality is bliss. So we should never fear to open ourselves to reality, to cast aside our preconceptions and biases, and to open more and more to whatever turns out to be real. You can have faith in enlightenment, faith in evolutionary potential, faith in infinity, faith in your infinite self. (p. 222)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
The Three Jewels are the foundation of all forms of Buddhism, and the first jewel is the Buddha. The word buddha means „the Awakened One“. And it doesn‘t mean only Shakyamuni Buddha, formerly the prince Siddhartha, who became a perfect Buddha in the sixth century before the Common Era in India, whom we sometimes call the „historical Buddha“. Buddha means all those who have awakened from the sleep of ignorance and blossomed into their full potential. Awakened and blossomed, they are teachers of others. (pp. 30-31).
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
Those who had seen eyes like hers before understood instantly that she was a woman who had suffered, but wore it well, with dignity and grace. Rather than dragging her down into depression, her pain had lifted her into a peaceful place. She was not a Buddhist, but shared philosophies with them, in that she didn’t fight what happened to her, but instead drifted with it, allowing life to carry her from one experience to the next. It was that depth and wisdom that shone through her work. An acceptance of life as it really was, rather than trying to force it to be what one wanted, and it never could be. She was willing to let go of what she loved, which was the hardest task of all. And the more she lived and learned and studied, the humbler she was. A monk she had met in Tibet called her a holy woman, which in fact she was, although she had no particular affinity for any formal church. If she believed in anything, she believed in life, and embraced it with a gentle touch. She was a strong reed bending in the wind, beautiful and resilient.
Danielle Steel (Matters of the Heart)
Any change in your mind, positive or negative, affects all others. The wish-granting gem tree is a morphic resonance field. The energy of one contains within it the energy of all. Every action affects all other actions. Whenever you turn your mind towards the wish-granting gems, everyone else‘s mind is turned in that way, too. The planet‘s mind turns with your mind. If you let your mind go in some negative, paranoid, self-indulgent, distracted way, the planet‘s mind turns in that way. You‘re totally interconnected with everything.
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
Some people decided they couldn‘t wait for society to achieve freedom over a long period of time, felt they couldn‘t wait for enlightenment through many, many lifetimes of their own. These people decided they would achieve this perfect freedom and perfect ability to help others achieve freedom in a single lifetime. This was the beginning of the Tantric tradition, which was very esoteric at first. In the Tibetan view, Tantra emerged at the same time as the Mahayana, around one hundred years before the Common Era, but it remained completely esoteric for seven hundred years, without a single book on it being published. In its esoteric tradition, people lived on the fringes, on the margins; they were the magical people, the magicians, the siddas, the adepts. (p. 20)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
Buddhist Psychology You can use enlightening Buddhist practices to transform your life. Unfortunately, many people do not know it, but the Buddhist Dharma, or teaching, is actually a scientific system of psychology, developed in India and further refined in Tibet. It is a psychology that works. I call it a „joyous science of the heart“ because it is based on the idea that while unenlightened life is full of suffering, you are completely capable of escaping from that suffering. You can get well. In fact, you already are well; you just need to awaken to that fact. And how do you do this? By analyzing your thought patterns. When you do, you realize that you are full of „misknowledge“ - misunderstandings of yourself and the world that lead to anger, discontent, and fear. The target of Buddhist practice and the constant theme of this book is the primal misconception that you are the center of the universe, that your „self“ is a fixed, constant, and bounded entity. When you meditate on enlightened insights into the true nature of reality and the boundlessness of the self, you develop new habits of thinking. You free yourself from the constraints of your habitual mind. In other words, you teach yourself to think differently. This in turn leads you to act differently. And voila! You are on the path to happiness, fulfillment, and even enlightenment. The battle for happiness is fought and won or lost primarily within the mind. The mind is the absolute key, both to enlightenment and to life. When your mind is peaceful, aware, and under your command, you will be securely happy. When your mind is unaware of its true nature, constantly in turmoil, and in command of you, you will suffer endlessly. This is the whole secret of the Dharma. If you recognize delusion, greed, anger, envy, and pride as the main enemies of your well-being and learn to focus your mind on overcomming them, you can install wisdom, generosity, tolerance, love, and altruism in their place. This is where enlightened psychology can be most useful. Psychology and philosophy are really one entity in Buddhism. They are called the inner science, the science of the human interior. In the flow of Indian history, it is fair to say that the Buddha was a great explorer of the human interior rather than some sort of religious prophet. He came into the world at a time when people were just beginning to experiment with self-exploration, but mostly in an escapist way, using their focus on the inner world to run away from the sufferings of life by entering a supposed realm of absolute quiet far removed from everday existence. The Buddha started out exploring that way too, but then realized the futility of escapism and discovered instead a way of being happier here and now. (pp. 32-33)
Robert A.F. Thurman (Infinite Life: Awakening to Bliss Within)
One of the positive side-effects of maintaining a very high degree of awareness of death is that it will prepare the individual to such an extent that, when the individual actually faces death, he or she will be in a better position to maintain his or her presence of mind. Especially in Tantric Buddhism, it is considered that the state of mind which one experiences at the point of death is extremely subtle and, because of the subtlety of the level of that consciousness, it also has a great power and impact upon one’s mental continuum. In Tantric practices we find a lot of emphasis placed on reflections upon the process of death, so that the individual at the time of death not only retains his or her presence of mind, but also is in a position to utilize that subtle state of consciousness effectively towards the realization of the path. From the Tantric perspective, the entire process of existence is explained in terms of the three stages known as ‘death’, the ‘intermediate state’ and ‘rebirth’. All of these three stages of existence are seen as states or manifestations of the consciousness and the energies that accompany or propel the consciousness, so that the intermediate state and rebirth are nothing other than various levels of the subtle consciousness and energy. An example of such fluctuating states can be found in our daily existence, when during the 24-hour day we go through a cycle of deep sleep, the waking period and the dream state. Our daily existence is in fact characterized by these three stages. As death becomes something familiar to you, as you have some knowledge of its processes and can recognize its external and internal indications, you are prepared for it. According to my own experience, I still have no confidence that at the moment of death I will really implement all these practices for which I have prepared. I have no guarantee! Sometimes when I think about death I get some kind of excitement. Instead of fear, I have a feeling of curiosity and this makes it much easier for me to accept death. Of course, my only burden if I die today is, ‘Oh, what will happen to Tibet? What about Tibetan culture? What about the six million Tibetan people’s rights?’ This is my main concern. Otherwise, I feel almost no fear of death. In my daily practice of prayer I visualize eight different deity yogas and eight different deaths. Perhaps when death comes all my preparation may fail. I hope not! I think these practices are mentally very helpful in dealing with death. Even if there is no next life, there is some benefit if they relieve fear. And because there is less fear, one can be more fully prepared. If you are fully prepared then, at the moment of death, you can retain your peace of mind. I think at the time of death a peaceful mind is essential no matter what you believe in, whether it is Buddhism or some other religion. At the moment of death, the individual should not seek to develop anger, hatred and so on. I think even non-believers see that it is better to pass away in a peaceful manner, it is much happier. Also, for those who believe in heaven or some other concept, it is also best to pass away peacefully with the thought of one’s own God or belief in higher forces. For Buddhists and also other ancient Indian traditions, which accept the rebirth or karma theory, naturally at the time of death a virtuous state of mind is beneficial.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom)
One must admire the achievement of Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita and their disciples, for it must have been difficult to persuade the rough warrior population of Tibet that nonviolence is the way to live, that self-conquest is more important than military conquest, that enlightened humanity is more important than national gods, and that the purpose of life is evolutionary merit and transcendent wisdom, not power and pleasure.
Joan Duncan Oliver (Buddhism: An Introduction to the Buddha's Life, Teachings, and Practices (The Essential Wisdom Library))
There is a prophecy that the "teachings of the Buddha will spread further and further north". Nepal is to the north of India, and after that, isn't Tibet to the north of Nepal? "Later on, they will return to the central land and then go west." I'm not sure where these words are from; they may be from a terma of Padmasambhava or maybe they were spoken by the Buddha himself. But most certainly the prophecy exists; I heard it from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. "From now on the Buddhadharma will spread further west," he said. (p. 20)
Padmasambhava (Advice from the Lotus-Born: A Collection of Padmasambhava's Advice to the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and Other Close Disciples)
Ten ma (bsTan Ma [བསྟན་མ་]). Twelve local female spirits of Tibet who have taken the vow from Guru Padmasambhava to protect the Dharma and its followers: the Four Ten mas of the Dud mo [bDud Mo] type: 1) Tshe ring ma (Tshe Ring Ma [ཚེ་རིང་མ་] or Kun Grags Ma [ཀུན་གྲགས་མ་]), 2) Dor je Ya ma kyong (rDo rje gYa Ma sKyong [རྡོ་རྗེ་གཡ་མ་སྐྱོང་]), 3) Kun zang mo (Kun bZang Mo [ཀུན་བཟང་མོ་] and 4) Geg gyi tso (bGegs Kyi gTso [བགེགས་ཀྱི་གཙོ་]; The Four Ten mas of the Nod jin mo (S. Yakṣasi, T. gNod sByin Mo [གནོད་སྦྱིན་མོ་]) type: 1) Chen chig ma (sPyan gChig Ma [སྤྱན་གཅིག་མ་]), 2) Kha ding Lu mo gyal (mKha' lDing Klu Mo rGyal [མཁའ་ལྡིང་ཀླུ་མོ་རྒྱལ་]), 3) Dor je Khyung tsun ma (rDo rje Khyung bTsun Ma [རྡོ་རྗེ་ཁྱུང་བཙུན་མ་]), and 4) Trag mo gyal (Drag Mo rGyal [དྲག་མོ་རྒྱལ་]); The Four Men Mo (sMan Mo [སྨེན་མོ་]): 1) Pod kham kyong (Bod Khams sKyong [བོད་ཁམས་སྐྱོང་]), 2) Men chig ma (sMan gChig Ma [སྨན་གཅིག་མ་]), 3) Yar mo sil (gYar Mo bSil [གཡར་མོ་བསིལ་]), and 4) Dor je Zu le men (rDo rje Zu Le sMan [རྡོ་རྗེ་གཟུགས་ལེགས་སྨན་]).
Tulku Thondup (Hidden Teachings of Tibet)
Tibet became a laboratory for the enlightenment movement to create its model society, to evolve into an actual manifestation of a buddha‘s pure universe, a „buddhaverse“. A social buddhaverse is a place where everything is geared toward enlightenment, where every lifetime is made meaningful by dedication to optimal evolutionary development. Because that nation embraced the enlightenment movement for more than a millennium, Tibet is the prime example of a sustained attempt by an entire people to create a society, culture, and civilization that cherish the individual‘s pursuit of enlightenment over the needs of society. Instead of believing that a strong central government can force a group of people into making a better place to live, the Tibetans, influenced by ancient India, saw that helping the individual is what transforms society. Imagine a culture in which everything is geared toward helping all individuals become the best human beings they can be; in which individuals are driven to devoting their lives to becoming enlightened by the natural flood of compassion for others that arises out of their wisdom. Once an individual attains enlightenment, society at large automatically becomes enriched. This was the heart of the Buddha‘s social revolution. (p. 32-33)
Robert A.F. Thurman (Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Real Happiness)
There is a real correspondence between biological and psychological masculinity and femininity on the one hand, and spiritual masculinity and femininity on the other. What one must bear in mind is that the Bodhisattva combines both. This may seem strange, but the Bodhisattva can be described as being psychologically and spiritually bisexual, integrating the masculine and the feminine at every level of his or her psychological and spiritual experience. This is reflected in Buddhist iconography. With some representations of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas it is hard to discern whether the figure is masculine or feminine. This iconographical convention reflects the psychological and spiritual bisexuality of the Bodhisattva, and indeed of any spiritually developed person. The idea, or even ideal, of psychological and spiritual bisexuality is unfamiliar to us in the West today, but it was known to the ancient Gnostics, one of the heretical sects of early Christianity. The teaching was quickly stamped out by the Church, but an interesting passage has been preserved in a work known as the Gospel of Thomas, which was discovered in Egypt as recently as 1945. It isn’t an orthodox Christian work, but it consists of 112 sayings attributed to Jesus after his resurrection. In the twenty-third of these sayings, Jesus is represented as saying: 'When you make the two one, and make the inside like the outside, and the outside like the inside, and the upperside like the underside, and (in such a way) that you make the man (with) the woman a single one, in order that the man is not the man and the woman is not the woman; when you make eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image; then you will go into the Kingdom.' This is not the sort of teaching one normally encounters in church, but it is obviously of profound significance. In the context of Buddhism the idea or concept, and even the practice, of spiritual bisexuality features most graphically in the Tantra, where it is represented not just by the androgynous appearance of the Bodhisattva, but by the symbol of sexual union. Here, ksanti, the feminine aspect of the spiritual life, becomes transcendental wisdom, while energy, the masculine aspect, becomes fully realized as compassion. Thus in Tantric Buddhist art one encounters representations of a mythical form of the Buddha in sexual union with a figure who is sometimes described as the female counterpart to his own masculine form. These images are called yab-yum, yab meaning ‘father’ and yum meaning ‘mother’. They are sometimes regarded in the West as being obscene or even blasphemous, but in Tibet such symbolism is regarded as extremely sacred. It has nothing to do with sexuality in the ordinary sense; it is a representation of the highest consummation, the perfect balance, of ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’, wisdom and compassion. Although there are two figures, there are not two persons. There is only one person, one Enlightened person, within whom are united reason and emotion, wisdom and compassion.
Sangharakshita (Bodhisattva Ideal: Wisdom and Compassion in Buddhism)
Dalai Lama Even given positive results of experiments, it is exceedingly difficult for the Western-acculturated mind to accept that supernormal abilities really do exist. The Dalai Lama is often asked about this issue, and he wrote about it in his autobiography: Many westerners want to know whether the books on Tibet by people like Lobsang Rampa and some others, in which they speak about occult practices, are true. They also ask me whether Shambala (a legendary country referred to by certain scriptures and supposed to lie hidden among the northern wastes of Tibet) really exists.… In reply to the first two questions, I usually say that most of these books are works of imagination and that Shambala exists, yes, but not in a conventional sense. At the same time, it would be wrong to deny that some Tantric practices do genuinely give rise to mysterious phenomena.6 This statement is cautiously worded, and appropriate for a spiritual leader who was also a political leader for many years. The upshot of his answer is that yes, advanced meditative practices do give rise to some strange effects, and for the most part these practices have been ignored by science. The Dalai Lama has been personally interested in promoting science-spirit dialogues, but at the beginning these talks were not easy to arrange, even for him. Within meditative traditions advanced methods are considered a secret doctrine, and as we’ve seen repeated in the Yoga Sutras, demonstrating one’s abilities for secular reasons is strongly taboo. Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama believed it was important to get science to investigate these phenomena: I hope one day to organise some sort of scientific enquiry into the phenomenon of oracles, which remain an important part of the Tibetan way of life. Before I speak about them in detail, however, I must stress that the purpose of oracles is not, as might be supposed, simply to foretell the future. This is only part of what they do. In addition, they can be called upon as protectors and in some cases they are used as healers.… Through mental training, we have developed techniques to do things which science cannot yet adequately explain. This, then, is the basis of the supposed “magic and mystery” of Tibetan Buddhism.6
Dean Radin (Supernormal: Science, Yoga and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities)
We recognize that this moment is everything. The seed of our being, all our future states, the product of all our past states, infinity stretching in both directions, infinite expanses in both directions, is now here in this moment, and this moment begins to become more and more infinite. We find more and more fruition in this moment, especially when we know already how deeply wonderful the human life is. We see what a great opportunity for freedom this life is, especially since each moment of it could be the last. What is essential in each moment is the quintessential experience of that moment. When we know this in the deepest part of the soul, then we begin to have a soul life. We begin to have soul intensity in life.
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
The first two steps of the path: the recognition of the preciousness of human life, which is endowed with liberty and opportunity, and the awareness of the immediacy of death. (p. 79)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
We are being developed by what we have done, and what we do, not only physically and verbally, but mentally also. What we now do in mind and speech and body will determine how we will become. The different forms and idiosyncrasies of all beings and things – all worlds in fact – depend on this inexorable causality of evolutionary action, or karma. Karma is not mysterious. Karma doesn‘t mean „fate“, although in a way it occupies the place of fate. Karma means „evolution, evolutionary causality.“ (Pages 79-80)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
The special skill of esoteric Buddhism is transmutation by right view and pure perception, using all appropriate means for training. For example, eating food is not itself a Buddhist practice, but if one uses it as a means of training, it becomes a Buddhist training in transforming one's daily life as Buddhist practice.
Tulku Thondup (Hidden Teachings of Tibet)
Silence is the Buddha‘s greatest expression. It‘s the Buddha‘s great teaching, what the Hindus call „You are That“ in the Upanishads. „You are the ultimate reality. You are God!“ the Hindus boldly declare. But the Buddha‘s way of affirming that fact is by being silent, because if you are that, after all, if you are what the theists think is God, you already know it yourself. (p. 15)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
The Mahayana Buddhism of Tibet certainly does contain an unbroken oral tradition of teachings on the development of supernormal powers, which has passed from realized guru to disciple from the time of the Buddha himself down to the present ...
Thubten Yeshe (Becoming Your Own Therapist)
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The great eleventh-century Nalanda pandit Lama Atisha understood this well, and with a mighty heart of wise compassion he set out to marshal the Buddha‘s eighty-four thousand teachings – found in hundreds of scriptures and thousands of verses – into a logical, sequential, and practical road map to help guide spiritual seekers on the path, from ordinariness to liberation on to full and final awakening. This unique style of teaching came to be called Lam Rim, or the Gradual Path to Enlightenment, and, attesting to its beauty and effectiveness, has been preserved in all lineages and schools of Tibetan Buddhism for the past thousand years. One of the unique features of the Lam Rim is that it recognizes an alternative to the path of sudden, spectacular enlightenment and instead proposes a more modest, gradual awakening. From the beginning of Tibet‘s history of receiving dharma transmission from India, with the great debates involving the eighth-century Indian scholar Kamalashila, it was clear that for the masses the gradual process of studying, contemplating, and embodying insights over the course of a sustained, lifelong practice would be most appropriate and beneficial. While all methods have their validity and are useful for practitioners of various dispositions, the gradual approach explained in these pages is as relevant to modern students as it was to Tibetans centuries ago. – Geshe Tenzin Zopa
Miles Neale (Gradual Awakening: The Tibetan Buddhist Path of Becoming Fully Human)
Buddhism originated from its founding teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha, who gave 84,000 forms of teaching. Lam-rim means “stages of the path to enlightenment.” It was the great Indian master, Atisha, who wrote the first lam-rim text, A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, which condenses all 84,000 teachings into a single body of work. Atisha wrote this text in Tibet at the request of a Tibetan king. He then sent the text to India, where all the great realized scholars and mahasiddhas received it with praise and appreciation. It must be due to the good fortune and merit of the Tibetan people, they said, that Atisha had composed such a wonderful text.
Dalai Lama XIV (Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment: A Commentary on Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana's A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment and Lama Je Tsong Khapa's Lines of Experience)
The teachings in „Advice from the Lotus-Born“ were spoken directlyl by Padmasambhava to his close disciples in Tibet. Primarily they were given in response to questions from Lady Tsogyal, the princess of Kharchen, who wrote them down and concealed them as a precious terma treasure to be revealed many centuries later. Almost every chapter mentions that these instructions were given for the benefit of practitioners of future generations, and often they include the words: „May this meet with all worthy and destined people in the future!
Padmasambhava (Advice from the Lotus-Born: A Collection of Padmasambhava's Advice to the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and Other Close Disciples)
Through the great bliss state, I myself become the mentor deity. From my luminous body, Light rays shine all around, Massively blessing beings and things, Making the universe pure and fabulous, Perfection in its every quality. (p. 10)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
The external teacher figure in Tibetan Buddhism is considered more of a friend than a mentor. Your esoteric teacher, by contrast, is one you imagine and visualize to be indivisible from the Buddha himself, someone who is a living exemplar of enlightenment. You use your mental power of imagination to propel you toward the enlightened state, to mobilize you to become like your teacher. This altered focus makes the teaching more accessible and immediate. It gives you a personal guide from the outset, a companion on the path but one who is always ahead of you, motivating you. The mentor figure empowers you, not just to play at self-transformation but actually to realize the teaching, to experience the higher goal state. Thus, „mentor devotion“ is a practice of acknowledging or worshiping the Buddha in a model figure of your choice. (p. 9)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
The great bliss state is the state of reality – where we actually are, right here and now. It is not some elaborate place far away from where we are. The wonderful thing about the Buddha‘s revelation, the Buddha‘s insight, is that this reality itself is the great bliss state, that which he first called „Nirvana“, the extinction of all suffering, which he came to describe as „bliss void indivisible.“ The extinction of suffering and the achievement of perfect happiness and the reality of perfect happiness is the reality of our world. This was the Buddha‘s good news. This is what he realized under the bodhi tree, where he first became enlightened. The bodhi tree was the original wish-granting gem tree. To find happiness or peace or enlightenment, we do not have to create some artificial world, a world apart from this world. We have to understand the nature of this world. And the nature of this world, when we do understand it, is revealed to us through our understanding, not from some other person just showing us something. Our own understanding reveals the nature of the world to us as the great bliss state of emptiness and openness. The nature of this world is superbliss, intertwined and indivisible.
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
Remember that awakening, freedom from suffering, salvation, if you will, liberation, omniscience, buddhahood, all come from your own understanding, your insight into your own reality [...] The highest meaning of Dharma is the reality that is our own reality – the reality that holds us in freedom from suffering, holds us in a state of bliss. Dharma is our own reality that we seek to understand fully, to open to fully. Dharma, therefore, also consists of those methods and the teaching of those methods that are the art and sciences that enable us to open ourselves [...] Ultimately, we take refuge in reality itself, because that is the only secure refuge. If we took refuge in any unrealistic thing, it could be blown down by this-and-that howling wind - but when we take refuge in reality, that is what endures. It is uncreated. It is not made by anyone. It lasts. It is there, and therefore it can give refuge.
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
The Buddha‘s life is not just something in a historical past, with us left behind and lost here. The Buddha is not meant to be envisioned as a presence whom we will encounter in some world in the future. We should, rather, make the Buddha immediate for ourselves. We should connect ourselves to the Buddha‘s immediate presence in our minds, intentions, and actions. We do not just aim to emulate or admire the Buddha, the ancient saints, and bodhisattvas. We aim to become buddhas today, saints today, bodhisattvas today, at our level of ability. (p. 39)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
In a lovely statement in Maitreyanatha‘s Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature, the future buddha says, „There is not one buddha and there are not many buddhas. Buddhas are neither one nor many.“ You can‘t say there are many buddhas because all buddhas are one in the body of reality. They share the same body of reality, which is infinite and absolute. But you can‘t say there is only one buddha, because each individual being evolves to buddhahood and enjoys her or his own communion with all other buddhas in oneness. Each enjoys it individually, so in their form bodies, in their beatific bodies, all buddhas are distinct, so that your buddhahood does not somehow subsume my buddhahood. Shakyamuni‘s buddhahood doesn‘t prevent us from the joy of our own buddhahood, even though when we achieve our own buddhahood we realize we are one with Shakyamuni. We are the same being as Shakyamuni, yet we individually enjoy being the same being, each of us. Isn‘t that lovely? (p. 118)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
Now, we come to the heart of the Buddhadharma, to compassion. If you wanted to say in one word what is the essence of Buddha‘s teaching, of the enlightenment teaching, it would be compassion. The statement of Nagarjuna, the great master of two thousand years ago in India, crystallized this. He said, „Voidness is the womb of compassion.“ In Sanskrit this reads, shunyata karuna garbham; in Tibetan, tong nyid nying jey nying po jen, which may be the most beautiful phrase ever in Tibetan […] when we discover our freedom, this discovery flows immediately into universal compassion for all beings. (p. 111)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
Being in love with someone is wanting his or her happiness. It is not wanting to possess him or her for our happiness. That’s possessiveness and desire for control. But when we’re really in love with others, we want only their happiness. We forget about our happiness, and then, therefore, ironically, we get very happy, because we temporarily stop worrying about how happy we are. When we forget about how happy we are, we become happy. That’s why people like to be in love, because when they’re in love, they focus only on the beauty and the happiness of the beloved other. (p. 127)
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism)
worship of gods. Buddhism told people that they should aim for the ultimate goal of complete liberation from suffering, rather than for stops along the way such as economic prosperity and political power. However, 99 per cent of Buddhists did not attain nirvana, and even if they hoped to do so in some future lifetime, they devoted most of their present lives to the pursuit of mundane achievements. So they continued to worship various gods, such as the Hindu gods in India, the Bon gods in Tibet, and the Shinto gods in Japan. Moreover, as time went by several Buddhist sects developed pantheons of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. These are human and non-human beings with the capacity to achieve full liberation from suffering but who forego this liberation out of compassion, in order to help the countless beings still trapped in the cycle of misery. Instead of worshipping gods, many Buddhists began worshipping these enlightened beings, asking them for help not only in attaining nirvana, but also in dealing with mundane problems. Thus we find many Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout East Asia who spend their time bringing rain, stopping plagues, and even winning bloody wars – in exchange for prayers, colourful flowers, fragrant incense and gifts of rice and candy.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The two major branches of Buddhism are Theravada and Mahayana. Mahayana has several subsets that you may have heard of, like Zen, Tibetan, and Pure Land Buddhism. There is also an extension of Mahayana Buddhism called Vajrayana, which is sometimes referred to as a distinct, third branch of Buddhism. Theravada is the main form of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos, while Mahayana dominates in China, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Mongolia, Korea, and Vietnam. Vajrayana is the main form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet and the form that the Dalai Lama practices and teaches.
Noah Rasheta (No-Nonsense Buddhism for Beginners: Clear Answers to Burning Questions About Core Buddhist Teachings)