Tibet Buddhist Quotes

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The wild worship of lawlessness and the materialist worship of law end in the same void. Nietzsche scales staggering mountains, but he turns up ultimately in Tibet. He sits down beside Tolstoy in the land of nothing and Nirvana. They are both helpless—one because he must not grasp anything, and the other because he must not let go of anything. The Tolstoyan’s will is frozen by a Buddhist instinct that all special actions are evil. But the Nietzscheite’s will is quite equally frozen by his view that all special actions are good; for if all special actions are good, none of them are special. They stand at the crossroads, and one hates all the roads and the other likes all the roads. The result is—well, some things are not hard to calculate. They stand at the cross-roads.
G.K. Chesterton
No sane person fears nothingness.
Robert A.F. Thurman (The Tibetan Book of the Dead)
The Tibetans do not mourn for the dead in our sense of the word. Sorrow for the parting is relieved by the prospect of rebirth, and death has no terrors for the Buddhist.
Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet)
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)
Padampa stayed for a long time in the high valley of Tingri, on the frontier between Tibet and Nepal. Among his innumerable disciples, four were particularly close to his heart. One day, one of these close students arrived in Tingri after a long absence and was so saddened to see how much the master had aged that he asked, “Sublime being, when you leave this world, you yourself, without doubt, will go from bliss to bliss; but what will become of us, the people of Tingri? In whom can we place our trust?” For Padampa, dying would indeed be no more than passing from one Buddha-field to another. But for his disciples, his death would mean never again seeing his face or hearing his voice. “In a year’s time,” he said, “here you will find the corpse of an old Indian hermit.” Their eyes filled with tears, and it was for them that Padampa taught these Hundred Verses of Advice. A year went by, and Padampa began to show signs of illness. When his disciples worried about his health, he told them laconically, “My mind is sick.” To their perplexity, he added, “My mind has blended with the phenomenal world.” He thus demonstrated that all dualistic perception had disappeared from his mind. “I do not know how to describe this type of disease,” he added with a serene sense of humor. “Bodily ills can be treated, but this is incurable.” He then fixed his gaze on the sky and passed away.
Dilgo Khyentse (The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most)
As a displaced community, Tibetans often speak of learning to look to the future without forsaking tradition. And as Tibetans continue their flight from Tibet to India or Nepal and then scatter farther and farther away from the physical land of Tibet, the conversations on identity and culture become more crucial and complex. As the distance increases so does the desperation in keeping Tibet as the eventual home, our aspired home. Yet it is the loss of Tibet and its very distance that also awakens us to view patriotism and identity in new ways that are not guided solely by Buddhist philosophy. Self-assertion- an approach avoided in the past because of the Buddhist aspiration to prevent focus on the self- enters our identity as Tibetans.
Tsering Wangmo Dhompa (A Home in Tibet)
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)
After Guru Rinpoche subdued Tseringma, he pursued her four younger sisters. One by one, they repented and became Buddhist deities, moving to mountains of their own. Miyolangsangma patrols the summit of Everest on the back of a tigress. Now the goddess of prosperity, her face shines like 24-carat gold. Thingi Shalsangma, her body a pale shade of blue, became the goddess of healing after galloping on a zebra to the top of Shishapangma, a 26,289-foot peak in Tibet. Chopi Drinsangma, with a face in perpetual blush, became the goddess of attraction. She chose a deer instead of a zebra and settled on Kanchenjunga, a 28,169-foot peak in Nepal. The final sister—Takar Dolsangma, the youngest, with a green face—was a hard case. She mounted a turquoise dragon and fled northward to the land of three borders. In the modern Rolwaling folklore, this is Pakistan. Guru Rinpoche chased after her and eventually cornered her on a glacier called the Chogo Lungma. Takar Dolsangma appeared remorseful and, spurring her dragon, ascended K2, accepting a new position as the goddess of security. Although Guru Rinpoche never doubted her sincerity, maybe he should have: Takar Dolsangma, it seems, still enjoys the taste of human flesh.
Peter Zuckerman, Amanda Padoan (Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day)
Buddhist meditation takes this untrained, everyday mind as its natural starting point, and it requires the development of one particular attentional posture—of naked, or bare, attention. Defined as “the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception,”1 bare attention takes this unexamined mind and opens it up, not by trying to change anything but by observing the mind, emotions, and body the way they are. It is the fundamental tenet of Buddhist psychology that this kind of attention is, in itself, healing: that by the constant application of this attentional strategy, all of the Buddha’s insights can be realized for oneself. As mysterious as the literature on meditation can seem, as elusive as the koans of the Zen master sometimes sound, there is but one underlying instruction that is critical to Buddhist thought. Common to all schools of thought, from Sri Lanka to Tibet, the unifying theme of the Buddhist approach is this remarkable imperative: “Pay precise attention, moment by moment, to exactly what you are experiencing, right now, separating out your reactions from the raw sensory events.” This is what is meant by bare attention: just the bare facts, an exact registering, allowing things to speak for themselves as if seen for the first time, distinguishing any reactions from the core event.
Mark Epstein (Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective)
It has been the strange fate of Tibet, once one of the most isolated places on earth, to function as a laboratory for the most ambitious and ruthless human experiments of the modern era: the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and now a state-imposed capitalism. After having suffered totalitarian communism, Tibetans now confront a dissolute capitalism, one that seeks arrogantly, and often violently, to turn all of the world's diverse humanity into middle-class consumers. But it seems wrong to think of Tibetans, as many outsiders do, as helpless victims of large, impersonal forces. It is no accident that the Tibetans seem to have survived the large-scale Communist attempt at social engineering rather better than most people in China itself. This is at least partly due to their Buddhist belief in the primacy of empathy and compassion. And faced with an aggressively secular materialism, they may still prove, almost alone in the world, how religion, usually dismissed, and not just by Mao, as "poison," can be a source of cultural identity and moral values; how it can become a means of political protest without blinding the devout with hatred and prejudice; how it can help not only heal the shocks and pain of history- the pain that has led people elsewhere in the world into nihilistic rage- but also create a rational and ethical national culture, what may make a freer Tibet, whenever it comes about, better prepared for its state of freedom than most societies.
Pankaj Mishra (Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond)
Much more than skeleton, it is flash, I mean the carrion flesh, which disturb and alarm us – and which alleviates us as well. The Buddhists monks gladly frequented charnel houses: where corner desire more surely and emancipate oneself from it? The horrible being a path of liberation in every period of fervor and inwardness, our remains have enjoyed great favor. In the Middle Ages, a man made a regimen of salvation, he believed energetically: the corpse was in fashion. Faith was vigorous than, invincible; it cherished the livid and the fetid, it knew the profits to be derived from corruption and gruesomeness. Today, an edulcorated religion adheres only to „nice” hallucinations, to Evolution and to Progress. It is not such a religion which might afford us the modern equivalent of the dense macabre. „Let a man who aspires to nirvana act so that nothing is dear to him”, we read in a Buddhist text. It is enough to consider these specters, to meditate on the fate of the flash which adhered to them, in order to understand the urgency of detachment. There is no ascesis in the double rumination on the flesh and on the skeleton, on the dreadful decrepitude of the one and the futile permanence of the other. It is a good exercise to sever ourselves now and then from our face, from our skin, to lay aside this deceptive sheathe, then to discard – if only for a moment – that layer of grease which keeps us from discerning what is fundamental in ourselves. Once exercise is over, we are freer and more alone, almost invulnerable. In other to vanquish attachments and the disadvantages which derive from them, we should have to contemplate the ultimate nudity of a human being, force our eyes to pierce his entrails and all the rest, wallow in the horror of his secretions, in his physiology of an imminent corpse. This vision would not be morbid but methodical, a controlled obsession, particularly salutary in ordeals. The skeleton incites us to serenity; the cadaver to renunciation. In the sermon of futility which both of them preach to us happiness is identified with the destruction of our bounds. To have scanted no detail of such a teaching and even so to come to terms with simulacra! Blessed was the age when solitaries could plumb their depths without seeming obsessed, deranged. Their imbalance was not assigned a negative coefficient, as is the case for us. They would sacrifice ten, twenty years, a whole life, for a foreboding, for a flash of the absolute. The word „depth” has a meaning only in connection with epochs when the monk was considered as the noblest human exemplar. No one will gain – say the fact that he is in the process of disappearing. For centuries, he has done no more than survive himself. To whom would he address himself, in a universe which calls him a „parasite”? In Tibet, the last country where monks still mattered, they have been ruled out. Yet is was a rare consolation to think that thousands of thousands of hermits could be meditating there, today, on the themes of the prajnaparamita. Even if it had only odious aspects, monasticism would still be worth more than any other ideal. Now more then ever, we should build monasteries … for those who believe in everything and for those who believe in nothing. Where to escape? There no longer exist a single place where we can professionally execrate this world.
Emil M. Cioran
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)
To Buddhist Tibet, this is the unity of yab and yum; to Taoist China, the unity of yin and yang. The Occident perennially seeks to repress this thought, and perennially is haunted by half-awareness of it.
Robert Anton Wilson (Coincidance: A Head Test)
In Buddhist systems, more especially those of Tibet, the meditation Buddhas appear in two aspects, one peaceful and the other wrathful. If you are clinging fiercely to your ego and its little temporal world of sorrows and joys, hanging on for dear life, it will be the wrathful aspect of the deity that appears. It will seem terrifying. But the moment your ego yields and gives up, that same meditation Buddha is experienced as a bestower of bliss.
Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth)
Father Norris Clarke, S.J., my philosophy professor at Fordham, went to Tibet once, on his own, just to converse with the Buddhist monks there. After a day of delightful conversation with the Buddhist abbot about their religions, the abbot said, “Obviously, our two religions are very different. But I think they are also very similar in their root in the depths of the human heart. I would like to test this idea, with your permission. Here are four of my priests who speak good English. I will ask you and them the same question and compare your answers. I have never asked them this question before. The question is this: What is the first requirement for any religion at all?” Father Clarke thought that was an excellent experiment, so he agreed. He and the four monks wrote their answers on five pieces of paper. When the papers were unfolded and read, the very same single word was found on all five of them. The word was gratitude.
Peter Kreeft (Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic)
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)
Two exercises are especially prescribed by the adepts of the mystic path. The first consists in observing with great attention the workings of the mind without attempting to stop it. Seated in a quiet place, the disciple refrains as much as he can from consciously pointing his thoughts in a definite direction. He marks the spontaneous arising of ideas, memories, desires, etc., and considers how, superseded by new ones, they sink into the dark recesses of the mind. He watches also the subjective image which, apparently unconnected with any thoughts or sensations, appears while his eyes are closed: men, animals, landscapes, moving crowds, etc. During that exercise, he avoids making reflections about the spectacle which he beholds, looking passively at the continual, swift, flowing stream of thoughts and mental images that whirl, jostle, fight and pass away. It is said that the disciple is about to gather the fruit of this practice when he loosens the firm footing he had kept, till then, in his quality of spectator. He too — so he must understand — is an actor on the tumultuous stage. His present introspection, all his acts and thoughts, and the very sum of them all which he calls his self, are but ephemeral bubbles in a whirlpool made of an infinite quantity of bubbles which congregate for a moment, separate, burst, and form again, following a giddy rhythm. The second exercise is intended to stop the roaming of the mind in order that one may concentrate it on one single object. Training which tends to develop a perfect concentration of mind is generally deemed necessary for all students without distinction. As to observing the mind's activity it is only recommended to the most intellectual disciples. Training the mind to "one-pointedness" is practiced in all Buddhist sects. In Southern Buddhist countries — Ceylon, Siam, Burma — an apparatus called kasinas, which consists of clay discs variously coloured, or a round surface covered by water, or a fire at which one gazes through a screen in which a round hole is pierced — are used for this purpose. Any of these circles is stared at until it is seen as clearly when the eyes are shut, as when they are open and actually looking at it. The process does not aim at producing an hypnotic state, as some Western scholars have said, but it accustoms one to concentrating the mind. The fact that the subjective image has become as vivid as the objective, indicates — according
Alexandra David-Néel (Magic and Mystery in Tibet)
We might adopt the mindful practices of Buddhist monks, observing the flow of inner thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judging them as good or bad at all. That’s a great goal, and I’m all for a regular mindful practice. It will, the research indicates, help improve quality of life and is worth pursuing. But getting all the way there is a tall order if we don’t want to quit our day jobs and move to Tibet. It works against the way our brains evolved, against our competitive drive.
Annie Duke (Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts)
The first time I met Kunsang, I asked him the meaning of his father’s name. Kunsang told me that to understand the name Tulshuk Lingpa we had to go right back to Padmasambhava, the eighth-century visionary and mystic wizard often credited with bringing the dharma, or Buddhist teachings, to Tibet. Padmasambhava established the teachings by travelling through the high central Asian plateau, subduing the local deities belonging to the Bonpo (the indigenous religion of Tibet with strong shamanic elements), and turning them into protectors of the dharma.
Thomas K. Shor (A Step Away From Paradise)
Freedom, as I have been taught to understand as a political being in exile- to be protected by law, to be able to live my life as I choose, absent from tyranny and persecution- is perhaps not the foremost aspiration here in Dhompa’s pastoral and nomadic world. The elders tell me they equate freedom with the right to live as Buddhists, which entails being able to perform their rituals, have access to lamas and to monasteries, and be able to participate in retreats and studies. They might even refer to an aspired state of mind: to be free of attachment, anger, stupidity, jealousy and arrogance. To be released from fear and, perhaps, even from their attachment to the past.
Tsering Wangmo Dhompa (A Home in Tibet)
Separating Tibetans from the propaganda that smothers them, whether western or Chinese, was one of my aspirations. But pushing aside the heavy, patterned blankets decorated with Buddhist symbols that shield the entrances to Lhasa’s teahouses did not admit me into a secret world where Tibetans spoke unguardedly. Instead, I was confronted with a passiveness completely at odds with the belligerence of the nomads of Kham and the people of Amdo. Resolving the contradiction between those two extremes was something I never managed to achieve during my time in Tibet.
David Eimer (The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China)
Steve loved showing off his new son. When we brought him home, all the zoo staff welcomed the new arrival. We have always had a good relationship with a group of Buddhist monks from Tibet. They had blessed Bindi when she was a newborn. As Robert celebrated his one-month birthday, we decided to hold a fund-raiser for a Buddhist nun’s convent where the well had dried up. A new well would cost forty thousand dollars. We felt that amount might be achievable in a series of fund-raising events. We invited the nuns to stay at Australia Zoo and planned to hold a fund-raiser at our brand-new Crocoseum, doing our part to help raise some money for the new well. The nuns wished to know if we wanted them to bless the animals while they were at the zoo. “Would you please bless Robert?” we asked. Bindi had been blessed along with the crocodiles when she was a month old. Now we would do the same for Robert. The nuns came into the Crocoseum for the ceremony. I brought a sleepy little Robert, adorned with his prayer flag and a scarf. We invited press to help publicize the plight of the nuns. Robert was very peaceful. The nuns sang, chanted, and gave him their special blessing. The ceremony was over, and the croc show was about to begin. Steve wanted to share Robert’s first crocodile show with everyone at the Crocoseum, as he was going to feed Murray the crocodile. Just as we had done with Bindi at this age, we brought Robert out for the show. Steve talked to the visitors about how proud he was of his son. He pointed out the crocodile to Baby Bob. Although Robert had been in with the crocodiles before, and would be again, this was an event where we could share the moment with everybody. When the croc show was over, Steve brought Robert back underneath the Crocoseum and I put him in his stroller. His eyes were big and he was waving his arms. This event would mark the beginning of a lifetime of working with his father as a wildlife warrior. Steve and Bindi were regulars during the croc shows, and now it looked as though Robert would be joining in as well.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
While the Khaches regarded their Indian citizenship as a political means to a desired end, the Tibetan Buddhists saw their refusal of Indian citizenship as evidence of their commitment to an independent Tibet. Their defiant rejection of citizenship served as a means by which their loyalty to Tibet was authenticated.
David G. Atwill (Islamic Shangri-La: Inter-Asian Relations and Lhasa's Muslim Communities, 1600 to 1960)
While the Khaches regarded their Indian citizenship as a political means to a desired end, the Tibetan Buddhists saw their refusal of Indian citizenship as evidence of their commitment to an independent Tibet. Their defiant rejection of citizenship served as a means by which their loyalty to Tibet was authenticated. Not surprisingly, then, to be a refugee was, by definition for the Tibetan Buddhists (and their supporters), to be a Tibetan.
David G. Atwill (Islamic Shangri-La: Inter-Asian Relations and Lhasa's Muslim Communities, 1600 to 1960)
Common to all schools of thought, from Sri Lanka to Tibet, the unifying theme of the Buddhist approach is this remarkable imperative: “Pay precise attention, moment by moment, to exactly what you are experiencing, right now, separating out your reactions from the raw sensory events.” This is what is meant by bare attention: just the bare facts, an exact registering, allowing things to speak for themselves as if seen for the first time, distinguishing any reactions from the core event.
Mark Epstein (Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective)
It was not just the manner of their arrival—traveling in government-assigned trucks instead of stealing across the Himalayan passes on foot—that separated them from their Tibetan Buddhist compatriots. Certainly, both groups shared a desire to extricate themselves from their desperate situation in Tibet, but the manner in which they were received in India quickly divided them. The Tibetan Muslims, by asserting and receiving formal acknowledgment of their Indian ancestry, arrived in India effectively as Indians, not Tibetan refugees. The consequences of this differentiation began to be manifested almost instantly, as they crossed over the mountainous pass into India. Greeted as Indians, not Tibetans, as citizens, not refugees, as Muslims, not Buddhists, the Khache faced a very different set of circumstances, choices, and reception in post-Partition India than did the Buddhist followers of the Dalai Lama.
David G. Atwill (Islamic Shangri-La: Inter-Asian Relations and Lhasa's Muslim Communities, 1600 to 1960)
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)
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)
the 25,000-foot peak of Gurla Mandhata; less striking, but far more famous, was the sacred Mount Kailas, 3,000 feet lower, which stands in majestic isolation apart from the Himalaya range. When we first caught sight of it our Tibetans prostrated themselves and prayed. For Buddhists and Hindus this mountain is the home of their gods and the dearest wish of all the pious is to visit it as pilgrims once in their lives.
Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet)
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)
Whether this mysterious sanctuary hidden amid Pemako’s mist-shrouded mountains can ever be located geographically is of secondary importance to the journey itself. In the Buddhist tradition, the goal of pilgrimage is not so much to reach a particular destination as to awaken within oneself the qualities and energies of the sacred site, which ultimately lie within our own minds.
Ian Baker (The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place)
Our own master, Tsara Dharmakirti Rinpoche, also lived by this advice. He took the Way of a Bodhisattva as one of his heart practices, taking this text with him everywhere he traveled. There are many stories of him living by the words of Patrul Rinpoche and the other lojong masters. One story recounts how, after the Communist restructuring of Tibet, he was placed in charge of the tent where food for the local village was collected and distributed. At that time, the villagers could only eat their quota of food, and the distribution of food was highly regulated. Because our master was respected and revered by others, the women who oversaw the milk collection offered in secret to let him have as much milk as he wanted. Tsara Dharmakirti Rinpoche loved milk, and one day he went into the tent and lifted the lid on a large vat of milk, thinking of scooping up a ladleful. But before he did so, he thought about the suffering caused by focusing on personal wishes and desires. He put the lid back on the vat of milk and resolved to drink only black tea from then on.
Anyen Rinpoche (Stop Biting the Tail You're Chasing: Using Buddhist Mind Training to Free Yourself from Painful Emotional Patterns)
Introduced to Tibet in the eighth century, Shāntarakshita’s Yogacārā-Madhyamaka synthesis flourished untroubled for about four hundred years. It was, as we have said, highly receptive to the logico-epistemological tradition of Dignāga and Dharmakīrti; and the favor in which it was held at Sangpu could only have been strengthened by Loden Sherab’s translations of major logical texts in the twelfth century. Nevertheless, the supremacy of Shāntarakshita’s Madhyamaka tradition was challenged by the arrival in Tibet of Patsap Nyima Drak’s translations of Chandrakīrti. Having made so little impact in India, Chandrakīrti’s Madhyamaka teaching was completely new to most Tibetans, despite the fact that Atisha both knew and appreciated it. The novelty of Chandrakīrti, as compared with Shāntarakshita was, of course, illusory, in the sense that it depended on the date, not of the composition, but of the translation, of his works—Shāntarakshita’s synthesis being the more recent, indeed the last, major development in the history of Indian Buddhist thought. On the other hand, Chandrakīrti’s strong disapproval of the logico-epistemological tradition must have come as a shock in that it suddenly called into question what had come to be regarded as an integral component of the Madhyamaka tradition that was, by then, so well established. It was at this time that, as a means of conveniently labeling the two diverging approaches, the terms rang rgyud pa and thal ’gyur ba (back-translated into Sanskrit as “Svātantrika” and “Prāsaṅgika,” respectively) were coined.
Jamgon Mipham (The Wisdom Chapter: Jamgön Mipham's Commentary on the Ninth Chapter of The Way of the Bodhisattva)
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)
Julian’s theology has no boundaries. In Tibet I referred to her in a conversation with a Buddhist doctor from Germany, who previously thought of the Christian God only in terms of divine wrath and judgement.
Brendan Pelphrey (Lo, How I Love Thee! : Divine Love in Julian of Norwich)