As they emerge from listening to the Dharma, contemplating it,
and bringing it into experience through meditation and conduct,
enthusiasm makes a person accept or reject
according to the relationship between cause and effect;
curiosity makes a mind apply itself to the most high;
dedication makes a person most conscientious;
clarity lets virtue shine brightly in the mind;
trust abolishes doubt about the ultimate;
and certainty gives supreme confidence in the meaning of life.
Awareness of impermanence and disgust with samsara are the external preliminaries on the Noble Path.
They thoroughly dispel the preoccupation with ordinary life.
Compassion and ethical conduct are the special preliminaries.
They make advancement possible on the Great Vehicle of the Mahayana.
Therefore, at the beginning, cultivate these preliminaries.
Buddhahood is not an evolutionary attainment. On the contrary, ordinary existence is a temporary involution of our true nature.
Because nothing can cease to be what it is, this involution is not enduring. It arises at every instant, caused by wrong views and afflicted emotions, and is sustained momentarily by unwholesome conduct.
Enlightenment is not something to be attained in the future. Involution is to be reversed here and now.
In each moment, it is possible to revert to the natural state, Buddhahood.
The images we see on a mirror are reflections, but they lack substance. In the same way, conventional phenomena arise from (and in) the basis-of-all, but they are not ultimately real.
If the mirror is dirty or warped, the reflections will be dull or distorted. Similarly, some of our perceptions can be more valid (clear) than others.
Appearances are false: insubstantial, impermanent, and dependent on multiple causes and conditions. And yet, they arise continuously.
Since lack of control of body and mind prevents one from taking anything seriously, it is in opposition to the way to inner peace;
since places where many people gather cause distraction, one fails in what one has to do;
since taking pleasure in drowsiness, sluggishness, and idleness prevents one from completing any work, it is a false friend;
since exultation and self-reproach disturb the mind, they hinder a wider perspective;
since many people and acquaintances are an occasion for much involvement, attachment, and aversion, they counteract concentration;
since talkativeness diminishes any feeling of wholesomeness, hinders its arising, it is a source for dissatisfaction and strife.
It is by giving up all these hindrances that meditative experiences will naturally grow, and that one perseveres in the teachings of the Victorious One.
—Longchenpa, Shing-rta chenpo
So close you can’t see it.
So deep you can’t fathom it.
So simple you can’t believe it.
So good you can’t accept it.
All phenomena arise from causes; those causes have been taught by the Tathagata.
Their cessation as well has been proclaimed by the Great Mendicant.
Through ignorance karma is accumulated; the cause of birth is karma.
Through knowledge, karma is not accumulated; Through absence of karma, one is not reborn.
—Arhat Assaji, disciple of the Buddha Shakyamuni