The Worst

A word spoken in wrath is the sharpest sword;

covetousness is the deadliest poison;

passion is the fiercest fire;

ignorance is the darkest night.

Buddha Shakyamuni, Replies to the Deva

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Accustomed

Long accustomed to contemplating compassion,

I have forgotten the difference between myself and others.

Milarepa

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Unfulfilled

To look for total satisfaction in oneself is a futile endeavor. Since everything changes from moment to moment, where can self and satisfaction be found?

Everybody is unhappy simply because of unfulfilled desires. Everybody is looking for something that is not available.

Ayya Khema

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All Our Mothers

When studying and practicing, it is important to have a motivation that is free from affliction. Among the various pure motivations, the most important is the wish to help ourselves and others, the vast motivation of the Mahayana, which means acting for the sake of all our mothers, all sentient beings, who are as limitless as space.

Thrangu Rinpoche

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The Remedy

Recognize that you are ill,

the Dharma is the remedy,

your spiritual friend is a skillful doctor,

and diligent practice is the treatment.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Gandavyuha Sutra

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Avoid Extremes

Apply yourself and engage in right actions.

Be cautious and hold neither extreme*.

Realize the lessons gained by attending to the learned.

Thus, you refine the mind of omniscience.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Teaching Requested by Sagaramati

* There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata —producing vision, producing knowledge— leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Liberation.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

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The Most Profitable Sacrifice

A Tathagata arises in this world, a Victor, a fully enlightened Buddha, endowed with wisdom and compassion, Well-Farer, Knower of the worlds, incomparable Trainer of beings to be tamed, Teacher of gods and humans, enlightened and blessed.

He, having realized it by his own super-knowledge, proclaims this world with its devas, maras, and brahmas, its princes, and people. He preaches the Dharma which is lovely in the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely in the end, in word and in deed, and displays the fully-perfected and purified holy life.

Disciples go forth and practice the precepts. Thus, disciples are perfected in morality. They attain the four meditative states. That is a sacrifice more profitable than all others. They attain various insights and the cessation of the corruptions. 

They know: “There is nothing further in this world.” That is a sacrifice that is simpler, less difficult, more fruitful, and more profitable than all others. And beyond this there is no sacrifice that is greater and more perfect.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Kutadanta Sutta

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Even Then

Although you have realized that Buddhas and sentient beings are equal, embrace all beings with compassion.

Although the paths and stages are beyond training and journeying, do not forsake purifying your obscurations through Dharma activities.

Although the accumulations [of merit and wisdom] are beyond gathering, do not sever the roots of conditioned virtue.

Padmasambhava

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The Treasure Store

How may we overcome the fear of birth and death and arrive at the state that is as indestructible as a diamond? What way can direct us in our practice to sweep away our thousands of illusions?

If the awakened mind shows its compassion and opens for us the treasure store, then we may bring into our lives the wonderful Diamond Sutra.

—Opening Gatha, Diamond Sutra

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Impossible

It is impossible to retain past mental states,

impossible to sustain present mental states,

and impossible to grasp future mental states.

Buddha Shakyamuni, Diamond Sutra

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