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”


Pure Imagination

A Buddha's Pureland

A Buddha’s Pureland

I discovered some time ago, through dharma practice, the limitless possibilities and potential of our experience. Before this, although I thought I felt this way I didn’t realize the limitations I was subtly applying through conceptualizing and labeling. When there was finally a glimpse of this, I noticed I really began to relax, and as Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche would say, began to have fun.

Studying Dharma texts can sometimes bring us to a point of, “Uhhh, hummm. Is this really possible?” At the beginning this was a common occurrence for me. But I followed my teacher’s advice and would keep an open mind. A very wide open mind. And would just say a mantra, “Why not?” And continued. I remember she said, “Asking why creates more concepts.” Or the potential to create more concepts. One might say this is crucial to developing discriminating mind. Personally, this is probably the very reason I am on the path, because of a certain question I asked at a very young age.

So now with this openness that seems, relatively speaking, to be a by-product of practice and meditation I’ve been most delighted and joyfully surprised when I have encountered phenomena that correlates somewhat, for me, with the teachings.

Here is a wonderful example of this. Sandcastles made on a grain of sand! Check out the video! Truly amazing. E ma ho!

Atop one particle, as many Buddhas as particles
are settled amidst Bodhisattvas, their spiritual heirs.
Thus Dharmadhatu, the entire sphere of being,
abounds with the Buddhas that I have envisioned.

– From Samantabhadra’s Aspiration Prayer.


If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanta change the world?
There’s nothing
To it

– Pure Imagination, from Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory


Samantabhadra’s Aspiration Prayer translated under the guidance of Shamar Rinpoché by Pamela Gayle White.

Available for free download.