Mental Product

If I am suffering over some matter, and then I die, my suffering also disappears. When we realize this —that suffering is merely the product of our minds, and does not have some independent existence— then there is no longer any suffering and distress.

—Seung Sahn

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Defining Characteristics

There are three defining characteristics of dependent arising: production from a cause that is not a divine creator, production from multiple impermanent causes, and production from causes that have the capacity to give rise to the effect.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Sutra Enumerating Phenomena

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Attachment is an attitude that overrates the qualities of an object or person and then grasps onto them. In other words, we project onto persons and objects qualities that they do not possess, or we exaggerate the ones they do possess. Attachment is an unrealistic view, and therefore cofounds us.

―Thubten Chodron

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The highest wisdom is not to grasp anything as it appears.

—Atisha Dipamkara

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In the Refuge formula, we invoke:

equanimity, imparted by the teachings of the Lama: namoh gurave;

the manifestation of intrinsic Buddha Nature: namoh buddhaya;

the contemplation of the emptiness of all appearances: namoh dharmaya;

and the recognition of dependent arising: namoh sanghaya. TN

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Cause & Effect

Happiness, as well as sadness, does not cross our path by chance or accident, nor does it come from appeasing an imaginary higher being. As with everything else, happiness in this universe arises from specific causes. If we generate the causes of happiness, resulting happiness will come. This is a systematic process of cause and effect.

―Thubten Chodron

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There are eight causes, Nagasena, of the development and maturing of intelligence: the advance of years, the growth of reputation, frequent questioning, association with a spiritual guide, one’s own reasoning, discussion, association with the virtuous, and dwelling in a suitable place.

—King Milinda, Milinda Pañha

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The Root

Life is the root of all qualities. Hence, protecting life is a gift that grants all forms of happiness.

Among all forms of generosity, the mental state of wishing to give and protect life is supreme. Among all forms of ethical conduct, the discipline of giving and protecting life is supreme.

Buddha Shakyamuni, Ārya­saddharma­smṛtyupasthāna

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Calling the Lama

Authentic Lamas possessing compassion,

Protectors, Rulers of All Things, We pray to you!

May our mind which nakedly realizes the mode of abiding

and your exalted mind become non-different.

Primordial Buddhas who embody the lineage,

holy Lamas who embody the source of certainty,

assembly of Lights who are the source of all perfections,

Gracious Dharma Friends, Precious Lamas,

at all times, please look upon us with compassion.

You are our only certainty.

After ripening our mind with a stream of blessings

may we lead the six mother beings to liberation!

—Jetsun Taranatha, Calling the Lama from Afar (excerpt), on the anniversary of Kyabje Tashi Norbu Rinpoche’s parinirvana

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Like Cooking Sand

You should realize that all the names of the Bodhisattvas are just different names for the nature of mind. As an expedient in the World-Honored-One’s discourses, he defined things using certain names, and with these names he pointed to the truth.

Ordinary people, unaware of this truth, become attached to the names and, in the hopes of attaining Buddhahood, seek the Buddha and Dharma outside their minds. It’s like cooking sand in the hopes of producing rice.

—Bassui Tokushō

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