Five Keys to Right Speech

13043451_767148383384639_4099164997236353563_nA statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken.

It is blameless and un-faulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth.

It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially.

It is spoken with a mind of good-will. —Buddha Shakyamuni

—Buddha Shakyamuni

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The Four Vajrayana Empowerments

images (10)“Empowerment” (Tib. wang) is an inaccurate and misleading translation of the Sanskrit term abhisheka, which literally means “sprinkling, bathing, purifying”. 

The Four Empowerments are first conferred by the Lama, and then renewed and cultivated as often as possible by the practitioner, preferably on a daily basis.

There are Outer, Inner, and Other empowerments:

  • The Outer purify the imaginary nature (appearances)
  • The Inner purify the dependent nature (causes and conditions)
  • The Other purify the truly established nature (Buddha Forms, Qualities, and Activities)

The basis of purification is Buddha Nature, and the affective and cognitive obscurations are what is to be purified.

Vase Empowerment

  • Purifies the body
  • Eliminates or reduces the habitual tendency toward depriving sentient beings of life, taking what is not freely given, and sexual misconduct

Secret Empowerment

  • Purifies speech
  • Eliminates or reduces the habitual tendency toward deceit, sowing discord, harsh speech, and idle chatter

Wisdom Empowerment

  • Purifies the mind
  • Eliminates or reduces the habitual tendency toward covetousness, malice, and holding acquired wrong views

Sublime Empowerment

  • Purifies the subtle obscurations
  • Eliminates or reduces the habitual tendency to sustain the innate wrong views of separation and supremacy


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The Minutest Action

0fc15f7d5d60e88ab59d87015b7fdacbManifest phenomena arise through a combination of causes and conditions in a sequence of interdependent events.Now, since all phenomena are interconnected in this way, it follows that within the realm of relative truth the law of cause and effect is inescapable: positive and negative actions will inevitably result in happiness and suffering.

Once the causes and conditions are present, nothing can prevent the result from being produced, just as in the spring, if there are seeds in the ground and if the sun gives warmth and the rain moisture, flowers and fruit will appear.

That is why we should always be aware of the potential of even the minutest of our actions.

—Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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13938374_1755881904689055_4860536666641322778_nDuty accomplished is the greatest satisfaction. When you focus on your own suffering, adverse conditions can overwhelm you, so always remember what it is that you are here to do, and who you are here to help. You are stronger and more capable than you think.

All the Buddhas are with you! They are not figments of your imagination. They are more real than any “flesh and bone” beings you have ever encountered.

You have taken Refuge, and They have welcomed you into Their eternal mandala. You are following Their instruction, obedient to Their Dharma. You have Buddha Nature!

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Words of My Teacher

14089165_842643782501765_8310016653812545880_nRelinquishing ‘me’ is ceasing to want to be this and that.

Relinquishing ‘mine’ is ceasing to want to have this and that.

In samsara, nothing is worth being; nothing is worth having.


When meeting with sensory objects, stop at contact:

when hearing, just hear; when touching, just touch;

when seeing, just see; when tasting, just taste;

when smelling, just smell.


If stopping at contact is not possible, and feelings arise:

when a pleasant feeling arises, do not cling to it;

when an unpleasant feeling arises, do not avoid it.


If attachment and aversion do arise, do not proceed to craving;

emotions appear, endure but for a moment, and subside.


If you must act, apply the four efforts:

stop harmful acts already started;

don’t start harmful acts not yet begun;

start beneficial acts not yet begun;

don’t stop beneficial acts already started.


If you do act on afflicted emotions,

minimize harm by avoiding beneficial objects,

softening the method, mitigating the intensity,

limiting the frequency, and not dwelling on the satisfaction.


Once you harm self and others, purify your actions:

regret the harm, rely on the guidance of the Three Jewels,

resolve to abstain from further harm,

and remedy it by dedicating the merit of virtuous acts.


When dying, seek rebirth in the Pure Land:

generate serene trust; make a definitive aspiration;

and recite om amideva hrih.


Superior to all methods for relinquishing ‘me’ and ‘mine’

is to dedicate yourself to the welfare of others.

—Kyabje Tashi Norbu Rinpoche, on the anniversary of his parinirvana

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Mindfulness & Introspection

shantideva2sI appeal to those desiring to protect their virtuous minds:

always diligently guard your mindfulness and introspection.

—Arya Shantideva

How do we guard mindfulness?

One is mindful to abandon wrong view and to enter and remain in Right View.

One is mindful to abandon wrong intention and to enter and remain in Right Thought.

One is mindful to abandon wrong speech and to enter and remain in Right Speech.

One is mindful to abandon wrong conduct and to enter and remain in Right Conduct.

One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood and to enter and remain in Right Livelihood.

This is Right Mindfulness.

—Buddha Shakyamuni

How do we guard introspection?

To examine our thoughts, words, and deeds continuously, to determine if they are in accord with the Dharma, is to guard introspection.

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Who Wins? Who Loses?

13151793_774904789275665_808685264457470451_nWhen we feel aversion for others (anger, hatred, or malice), who is it that experiences the emotion and its effects? Most often, the putative object of our aversion remains unaware, and it is we who suffer the physical, emotional, and mental consequences.

In the same way, when we feel compassion for others, who is it that experiences it and its effects? Even if we cannot benefit others immediately, the consequences of this aspiration manifest in our minds in the very instant that it arises.

What, then, should we cultivate: aversion, or compassion?

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