Whatever You Meet Unexpectedly, Join With Meditation


The idea is that whatever comes up is not a sudden threat or an encouragement or any of that bullshit. Instead it simply goes along with one’s discipline, one’s awareness of compassion. If somebody hits you in the face, that’s fine…

Generally speaking, Western audiences have a problem with that kind of thing. It sounds love-and-lighty, like the hippie ethic in which “Everything is going to be okay. Everybody is everybody’s property, everything is everybody’s property. You can share everything with everybody. Don’t lay ego trips on things.” But this is something more than that… It is simply to be open and precise, and to know your territory at the same time. You are going to relate with your own neurosis rather than expanding that neurosis to others.

In a sense, when you begin to settle down to that kind of practice, to that level of being decent and good, you begin to feel very comfortable and relaxed in your world. It actually takes away your anxiety altogether, because you don’t have to pretend at all… There is so much accommodation taking place in you. And out of that comes a kind of power: what you say makes sense to others. The whole thing works so wonderfully. It does not have to become martyrdom. It works very beautifully.


From Training the Mind & Cultivating Loving-Kindness by Chogyam Trungpa , copyright 1993 by Diana Mukpo.



Crashed out Buddhas, by Ajahn Sumedho

Buddhism now

Art © Marcelle HanselaarIs there any object we can really trust forever and take refuge in? Is there another person we can feel completely happy with all the time? Is there a place, a book, a picture, a flower, beautiful scenery that we can enjoy all the while? Flowers are beauti­ful creations of nature, but how long can we sit and look at one without feeling bored? Most of us have to go from one flower to the next because one beauti­ful flower is not enough. People who do gardening, their minds are always creating something new, some new kind of arrange­ment, something that will be even nicer. No matter how beautiful anything is, it is never truly satisfying. There is always a snake in the grass, a worm in the apple, a fly in the oint­ment.

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Bodhisattva Ninja Turtle

Not for Happiness

Not for Happiness

I noticed a friend last night at our meditation group reading this book at the break. It was a book I had given him a few months ago. Another friend, who I had also given a copy to, also noticed and a short discussion began about the book. I loved the book. For me, a good kick in the ass when needed. For my friends, a little bit of a demanding read. The title itself shatters whatever grand illusions we have of a spiritual practice. Not for Happiness. Happiness seekers need not apply. But as my teacher said last night, relative happiness. Conditioned happiness. So, for awakening, for enlightenment, for the benefit of beings, should be, I believe, our motivation. Our intention. It is mine for sure. And still a work in progress. My teacher Shamar Rinpoche, a great master who we lost last year, said this to me many years ago when he noticed my urgency in wanting results from practice, “Be like the tortoise, not the rabbit.” I have cherished that teaching ever since. It continually reminds me that it is not necessarily speed, but consistent determination that will benefit us on the path. I also realized this morning that Rinpoche was advising me in the ways of a bodhisattva.

Shantideva says,

“For those who wish to go across the water,
 May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.”

Even a turtle.

Sarva Mangalam

Bodhisattva Ninja Turtle

Bodhisattva Ninja Turtle

Using Habit Against Itself 

Each step may seem to take forever, but no matter how uninspired you feel, continue to follow your practice schedule precisely and consistently. This is how we can use our greatest enemy, habit, against itself.

– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, “Tortoise Steps”

Mindfulness: Three Buddhist Perspectives

Taigen Dan Leighton, Ajahn Brahm, and Jonathan Landaw discussing mindfulness.

Taigen Dan Leighton, Ajahn Brahm, and Jonathan Landaw discussing mindfulness.

Wisdom Publications recently hosted a Wisdom Event in Berkeley, California, featuring Ajahn Brahm, Taigen Dan Leighton, and Jonathan Landaw discussing mindfulness.

The Wisdom Event features Ajahn Brahm, Taigen Dan Leighton, and Jonathan Landaw as they compare and contrast mindfulness practices in three different traditions: Theravadan, Zen, and Tibetan. They will provide their personal perspectives, informed by their traditions and then comment on the modern mindfulness movement.

Click here to watch a video of the event.

Is Understanding Fear Beneficial? – Karmapa Thaye Dorje


Fear. We all experience it.

We might feel anxious about our loved ones, our self-esteem, growing old, or even dying. Or we might read the news, see stories of violence, tragedies on India’s roads or railways, details of the latest health scare.

What we fear varies according to who we are as individuals, and the environment we live in. In a society driven by competition, we might be fearful of not keeping up with our peers, our neighbours, or colleagues. In a culture driven by the accumulation of material wealth, we might fear the feeling of not having ‘enough’, or not having as much money as others.

Such fears are extremely common. The good news is that experiencing fear is not a bad thing – it means that you are alive. But being overwhelmed by fear is something different.

Fear in Buddhism

Buddha himself, before he reached Enlightenment, experienced fear like everyone else. He, too, feared growing old, falling ill, and dying. But he realised that fear is like a self-fulfilling prophecy – without understanding the cyclic nature of this world, that which we fear will keep on repeating itself.

If we fear something in this moment, in this life – and fail to truly understand it – the same pattern will repeat itself in future moments, in future lives.

In Buddhist terms, only when we liberate ourselves from the causes (Karma – causal actions, and Kleśas – afflictive emotions), conditions (habitual patterns and tendencies), and effects (the various existences) of fear, can we begin to overcome it.

The idea of overcoming afflictive emotions and non-virtuous actions might sound easier said than done. But our future depends on it. For there is a greater type of fear that could undermine everything that is good in our world. This fear, or perhaps more accurately ‘terror’, is born when we give in to our negative emotions, and dismiss the universal law of Karma and causality. When we have no belief in cause and effect, when we ignore the cyclic nature of fear and of life itself, then we are able to commit all kinds of atrocities. When we give in to our fear, we shake the foundations of virtue, and risk losing the moral fabric of our society. When we fail to understand fear, fear becomes our foe.

Overcoming fear by understanding fear

Fortunately, as human beings we have a unique advantage when it comes to overcoming fear.

Other sentient beings, such as animals, experience fear and other emotions, but they are limited only to the five senses. Humans, however, can utilise logic, reasoning, and particularly our inner qualities, such as the mind looking inwardly, and try to examine and understand what fear is.

Understanding fear and overcoming it are one in the same thing. Fear itself derives from a lack of knowledge and understanding – about the ‘unknown.’ The solution, therefore, lies in understanding fear – not to get rid of it, but to recognise it as a part of life, and to try to channel it for positive means. When we understand fear, fear becomes our friend.

Human beings have a unique choice and opportunity to overcome fear. We may not always see this choice, particularly in the moments when we feel afraid, but it is there. Whether we use this opportunity, is up to us.

One of the worst things about not understanding fear is that it can waste time, which is so precious. If we have a non-virtuous attitude, or fail to understand the true nature of our emotions, fear can accumulate until it is overwhelming. We feel defeated. From a Buddhist perspective, in that moment we have forgotten that compassion exists, that compassion will prevail – and in this forgotten moment, our fear is compounded.

Channeling fear for loving kindness

When we approach fear with a virtuous attitude, we can use reasoning and logic to overcome it. Whether it is through meditation, talking to loved ones, or other ways, we are able to uncover the ‘unknown,’ and take away fear’s power. When we examine fear, we discover a simple and powerful truth: fear is neither good nor bad. Fear is neutral. What is positive or negative is our response and relationship to fear – how we understand it, approach it, channel it. It’s like any other tool that we can find in life. We discover that fear does not inherently exist – if it did, we would not experience peace or compassion at all.

When we understand that it is us, and not our emotions, that have the power, we are able to channel our fear in a positive way. Understanding fear helps us to be decent, kind and caring people. And by being a kind person, with a good heart, we are also able to face fear more easily. This kind of virtuous circle, or Karmic cycle, holds great hope for humanity.

In Buddhist terms, all of the problems in our society stem from a lack of understanding, a fear of the unknown. When we challenge this ignorance through logic, through reasoning, through tapping into our boundless internal resources of wisdom and compassion, we manifest hope – not just for ourselves, but for our world. Understanding fear implies that we understand ourselves. If we understand fear, then we understand more about compassion, about what it means to be human.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of facing fear and overcoming it, is that we do not waste time. In fact, we use our fear to focus more on the precious present. We all know that we face serious challenges, in India and all around the world. Let us not waste a moment, for every moment is an opportunity. Let us face our fears with courage, with understanding, and loving kindness for all sentient beings.

Source: Huffington Post India



New from “Off the Cushion” in the Spring 2015 Issue of Tricycle

Spring 2015 Issue

Spring 2015 Issue

Dear friends,

If you are a member of Tricycle magazine, please check out the new article “Alleviating Suffering” in the Spring 2015 issue by one of Bodhi Path’s own, dharma teacher Pamela Gayle White.

Here’s the link to the online article:


If you don’t have a subscription, you can pick up an issue at your local newsstand!

You can also download a previous article from the Winter 2014 issue, “Bedside Bodhisattva“,


And if you are already a member, don’t forget to join the discussion online! Share your thoughts about the article by posting a comment and have a dialog with the online community and Pamela!

Best wishes!

Pamela Gayle White is a dharma teacher and translator in the Bodhi Path network and a Tricycle contributing editor. She is a chaplain resident at the University of Virginia Medical Center, “on sabbatical” from her regular activities.

Mummified monk in Mongolia in deep meditation.


A mummified monk found preserved in Mongolia last week has been baffling and astounding those who uncovered him.

Senior Buddhists say the monk, found sitting in the lotus position, is in a deep meditative trance and not dead.

Forensic examinations are under way on the remains, found wrapped in cattle skins in north-central Mongolia.

Scientists have yet to determine how the monk is so well preserved, though some think Mongolia’s cold weather could be the reason.

But Dr Barry Kerzin, a physician to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, told the Siberian Times that the monk was in a rare state of meditation called “tukdam”.

“If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha,” Dr Kerzin said.

The monk was discovered after being stolen by a man hoping to sell him on the black market.

Mongolian police have arrested the culprit and the monk is now being guarded at the National Centre of Forensic Expertise.

The identity of the monk is unclear, though there is speculation that he is the teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, who was also found mummified.

In 1927, Itigilov – from neighbouring Buryatia in the then Soviet Union – supposedly told his students he was going to die and that they should exhume his body in 30 years.

The lama sat in the lotus position, began meditating and died.

When he was dug up, legend has it that his body was still preserved.

Fearing interference by the Soviet authorities, his followers reburied him and he remained at rest until 2002 when he was again dug up to great fanfare and found still well preserved.

The lama was then placed in a Buddhist temple to be worshipped for eternity.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31125338