Showing posts with label Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Show all posts


    This excerpt from "What Makes You not a Buddhist" by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse articulate so well the essence of dharma in simple language and is full of wisdom. Got to buy the book! 👍
    Siddhartha was right to think that teaching would be no easy task. In a world that is driven by greed, pride, and materialism, even teaching basic principles such as love, compassion, and philanthropy is very difficult, let alone the ultimate truth of emptiness.
    We are stuck with our short-term thinking and bound by practicality. For us, something must be tangible and immediately useful in order to be worth our investment of time and energy.
    By those criteria, emptiness as defined by Buddha seems completely useless. We might think, What is the benefit of contemplating the impermanence and emptiness of the phenomenal world? How can emptiness be profitable?
    With our limited rationale, we have a set definition of what makes sense and what is meaningful — and emptiness goes beyond that limit. It is as if the idea of “emptiness” cannot fit inside our heads.
    This is because the human mind operates on one inadequate system of logic even though there are countless other systems of logic available to us.
    We operate as if thousands of years of history have preceded this moment, and if someone were to tell us that the entirety of human evolution took place in the duration of a sip of coffee going down the throat, we would not be able to comprehend.
    Similarly, when we read in Buddhist teachings that one day in hell is equal to five hundred years, we think that these religious figures are just trying to frighten us into submission. But imagine a week’s holiday with your best beloved — it goes like the snap of the fingers. On the other hand, one night in prison with a rowdy rapist seems to last forever. Perceived in this way, our concept of time might start to seem not so stable.
    Some of us may permit a little bit of the unknown into our system of thinking, allowing some space for the possibilities of clairvoyance, intuition, ghosts, soul mates, and so on, but for the most part we rely on black-and-white, scientifically based logic.
    A small handful of so-called gifted people might have the courage or the skill to go beyond convention, and as long as their view isn’t too outrageous, they might be able to pass themselves off as artists such as Salvador Dalí.
    There are also a few celebrated yogis who deliberately go just a little bit beyond what’s conventionally accepted and are venerated as “divine madmen.” But if you really go too far beyond the accepted boundary, if you completely buy into emptiness, people may well think that you are abnormal, crazy, and irrational.
    But Siddhartha was not irrational. He was merely asserting that conventional, rational thinking is limited. We cannot, or will not, comprehend that which is beyond our own comfort zone. It is much more functional to work with the linear concept of “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” than to say “time is relative.”
    We are not programmed to think, I can fit into that yak horn without changing my size or shape. We cannot break our concepts of “small” and “big.” Instead we continuously confine ourselves with our safe and narrow perspectives that have been handed down for generations.
    When these perspectives are examined, however, they don’t hold up. For example, the concept of linear time upon which this world relies so heavily does not account for the fact that time has no real beginning and no end.
    Using this rationale, which is imprecise at best, we measure or label things as “truly existing.” Function, continuity, and consensus play a major part in our process of validation. We think that if something has a function — for example, your hand seems to function by holding this book — then it must exist in a permanent, ultimate, valid sense. A picture of a hand doesn’t function in the same way, so we know it isn’t really a hand. Similarly, if something seems to have a continuous quality — for example if we saw a mountain yesterday and it is there today — we feel confident that it is “real” and will be there tomorrow and the next day. And when other people confirm that they see the same things we see, we are even more certain that these things are truly existing.
    Of course, we don’t walk around consciously rationalizing, confirming, and labeling the true existence of things — this is a truly existing book in my truly existing hands — but subconsciously we operate in the confidence that the world solidly exists, and this affects how we think and feel every moment of the day.
    Only on rare occasions, when we look in the mirror or at a mirage, do we appreciate that some things are mere appearances. There is no flesh and blood in the mirror, there is no water in the mirage. We “know” that these mirror images are not real, that they are empty of inherently existing nature. This kind of understanding can take us much further, but we only go as far as our rational mind allows.
    When presented with the concept of a man fitting inside of a yak’s horn without a change in size, we have a few choices: We can be “rational” and refute the story by saying that it is simply not possible. Or we can apply some kind of mystic belief in sorcery or blind devotion and say, Oh yes, Milarepa was such a great yogi, of course he could do this and even more.
    Either way our view is distorted, because denying is a form of underestimating, and blind faith is a form of overestimating.
    What Makes You Not a Buddhist -
    Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse -
    Shambhala Publications, Inc.


    William Lim
    Bought this many years ago in a quaint Bhutanese bookstore. Good stuff 👍🏼

    John Tan
    William Lim just bought the Kindle version and the audio. 👍

  • Yin Ling
    This is really good

  • David Brown
    Well, as a long-term meditator AND a scientist I thought it was full of limited and distorted views.

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Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

“Meditation” this term has been abused. We should change this term to “Alive”. Because no matter it is three minutes or five minutes, during the time of meditation, you’re alive, you are consciously alive! At present, basically we are just like a walking corpses. When we drink tea, we are thinking of other things; when we looking at the beautiful trees, we cannot aware those green beauty. Alive is very important, but alive nakedly is even more important.


When we talk about meditation, we're not talking about the meditation nowadays like "sunset meditation" or beethoven's music with birds chirping.

Even if you are very good at not dwelling in the past, even if you are very good at not dwelling in the future, and even if you can really dwell in the present... if you do not know about emptiness and appearance (i.e. no wisdom), then your meditation is as worthless as "sunset meditation". Anyway, there is no real existing "presentness" anyway.

From the Buddhist point of view, only meditation based on wisdom is a means to accumulate merit, as it brings us closer to the truth. These truths are truths that will uproot your suffering.

We tend to get distracted by the ritual of meditation, thinking it's more important than the training of wisdom, because sitting straight etc is more perceivable.

Shamatha is a trick. Vipashyana is business. To perform business, you need the trick. Therefore, both are necessary.

(notes organised from DKR's teaching on How To Accumulate Merit, 25 Aug 2008, San Francisco)


"We usually create boundaries, and some of them are ver y decorated!
Usually, this is not a good sign because people who put so much
emphasis on these things –
you know, I’m doing a retreat, setting a
boundary and so on
– actually, they end up doing less of practice
because they put so much emphasis on outer rituals. Anyway, the
point that I am tr ying to make is that in Buddhism, the real boundar y
is between the past thought and the future thought. That is your
boundar y. Now if you can do that, you can be in a nightclub, dancing
and crazy – all sorts of wheeling, dealing in business or whatever – but
still, there will be Yogis who will not go beyond the boundar y of the
past thought and the future thought – meaning, to be in the present.
Always in the present. Whatever you are thinking right now, being in
this present.
For instance, now. You hear rustling, air conditioner, maybe you’re
thinking of yesterday and tomorrow, whatever it is. Simply knowing
that, being aware of it – but not really thinking about the past
or future, and not judging – never judging! You may be thinking
something so hideous, or something so wholesome – but you must just
simply be aware. That is actually the king of retreats.


I think you can consciously get lost, isn’t it? Yes? I think so, and that’s
much better! If you’re not consciously lost, I don’t think you’re being
creative yet. You’re stuck. But I can understand it. If you have the
fear of stumbling and getting stuck, you can consciously be in the
present. You can be here in any way – there is no past thought and
future thought! You know we were talking about boundaries? How
not to go to the past, or to the future. I was bluffing, actually! Not me,
Buddhism. (Laughter) There’s no past, or future actually – it’s all here!
When we talk, we have to talk like that.
And anyway, you also believe in the past don’t you – as a human
being? That’s good news for you, because the future, the past, when
you’re writing – is all in the present. Then you have more opportunity
because you will not be stuck in any angle. For example, think about
this one from Basho:
In my new robe, this morning – someone else.
So good!
Year by year, the monkey’s mask reveals the monkey.
Really, this testifies that you can do both. Nowadays, it’s all about
means that lead back to the wisdom, and that’s a sad thing.


Yes, yes – that is what I mean. Anyway, there is no past and no future.
It’s always in the present. We are really talking in a ver y deep way of
the Buddhist idea of illusion. It’s amazing isn’t it? There is no past
and there is no future, and yet we’re so caught up by these concepts!
There’s also no present – but that we’ll talk about in another time. We
should first grind this one!
No present – whoa – well, just to give you the names – these teachings
are taught in the Mahamudra, or the Mahasandhi. Yes. Those are
beautiful teachings. Some of them are just so powerful. There’s one
called “Mahamudra by the Ganges” (Tilopa’s pith instructions on the
Mahamudra). It’s amazing. Then there’s the Mahasandhi. When the
Mahasandhi was taught, it was hard to take for many Buddhists, even
– because Buddhists love ‘sensible’ things. The Mahasandhi is beyond
sense, and senselessness! They think you’re crazy when you’re stuck
with being sensible! But that’s for another time.