Dharma Roadside Dialogues Series

In Dharma Teachings, Lectures, Tsony by Tsony

Series of dialogue on various themes as we walk the path towards home.

#1 Calm Mind in Turbulent Times

Zoom Session given in Austria 12-12-2020

Calm mind in turbulent times. #1 The talk

Calm mind in turbulent times. #2 questions and answers

#2 A thin veneer of confusion on an ocean of wisdom

Zoom session from Bodhi path Natural Bridge, VA. USA

Having lost sight of the Buddha Nature which is the depth of reality in our mind, we swim among the rubbish of our emotional habits and patterns. Realizing the good news of our Buddha Nature, we can change our perspective and become rooted in the confidence of our basic sanity to face life’s challenges with grace and discernment. Like a golden swan in turbulent waters.

A thin veneer of confusion on an ocean of wisdom #1 Expose

A thin veneer of confusion on an ocean of wisdom #2 Dialogue

#3 Focus on your practice and remain true to yourself.

The film paying homage to Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche ends with these few words from Gyalwa Karmapa Thaye Dorje:

“The teaching of impermanence is the lesson that all beings even the Buddha himself must pass. I would like to assure you that, by focusing on your practice, staying true to yourself, this will have great, great benefit. We will be all connected in ways that transcend the boundaries of space and time.”

What do we mean by staying true to oneself?
Are they many ways to free oneself from what binds us?
Desire and renunciation?
How to live the contradictions between ordinary laws, and the law of karma?

Focus on your practice and remain true to yourself. #1 Exposé

Focus on your practice and remain true to yourself. #2 Dialogue

#4. Czech & Slovak Dialogue

Self directed compassion

Building up an healthy self

Steady practice but flexible Mind, or “butterflying”

“Without patience no virtue is possible, patience is the greatest virtue” Atisha

#5 Right Livelihood.

Right Livelihood #1 Exposé

Right Livelihood #2 Dialogue

Further readings:

Mindfulness and Meaningful Work: Explorations in Right Livelihood

#6 The Four Seals of Dharma

Beyond fascination and rejection, a path to peace transcending extremes

We are often caught between the fascination for the marvels of creation and the desire of liberation. They constitute a paradox that leads to cognitive dissonance and contradictory feelings.

How can we resolve this in order to find a way leading beyond these extremes, therefore contributing to our benefit and that of all, in particular in our close circle of near and dear like our children?

How to show them a way becoming an inspiring role model?

The Four Seals of Dharma are a way to explore this.

ཆོས་རྟགས་ཀྱི་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་བཞི་

༈ འདུ་བྱེད་ཐམས་ཅད་མི་རྟག་ཅིང༌།
ཟག་བཅས་ཐམས་ཅད་སྡུག་བསྔལ་བ།
ཆོས་རྣམས་སྟོང་ཞིང་བདག་མེད་པ།
མྱ་ངན་ལས་འདས་པ་ཞི་བའོ། །

All compounded things are impermanent.

All contaminated contacts are painful.

The Tibetan word for contaminated contacts this context is zagche, which means “contaminated” or “stained,” in the sense of being permeated by confusion or duality. The dualistic mind includes almost every thought we have. Why is this painful? Because it is mistaken. Every dualistic mind is a mistaken mind, a mind that doesn’t understand the nature of things. Whenever there is a dualistic mind, there is hope and fear. Hope is perfect, systematized pain. We tend to think that hope is not painful, but actually it’s a big pain. As for the pain of fear, that’s not something we need to explain. The Buddha said, “Understand suffering.” That is the first Noble Truth. Many of us mistake pain for pleasure—the pleasure we now have is actually the very cause of the pain that we are going to get sooner or later. Another Buddhist way of explaining this is to say that when a big pain becomes smaller, we call it pleasure. That’s what we call happiness.

All phenomena are without inherent existence.  

Nirvana is peace beyond extremes.

The Four Seals of Dharma #1 Exposé

The Four Seals of Dharma #2 Dialogue

#7 Meditation advices. Czech & Slovak Dialogue

#8. The Path of Accumulation

On the path of accumulation, the bodhisattvas, or ‘heirs of the victorious ones’, generate positive intention and bodhicitta in both aspiration and action. Having thoroughly developed this relative bodhicitta, they aspire towards the ultimate bodhicitta, the non-conceptual wisdom of the path of seeing. This is known, therefore, as the stage of ‘aspirational practice’. It is called the path of accumulation because it is the stage at which we make a special effort to gather the accumulation of merit, and also because it marks the beginning of many incalculable eons of gathering the accumulations.

The path of accumulation is divided into lesser, intermediate and greater stages. On the lesser stage of the path of accumulation, it is uncertain when we will reach the path of joining. On the intermediate stage of the path of accumulation, it is certain that we will reach the path of joining in the very next lifetime. On the greater stage of the path of accumulation, it is certain that we will reach the path of joining within the very same lifetime.

Questions:

One lifetime at a time

Once you have mentioned we should not take death as a deadline. It was very interesting advice. Some of us cannot make a lot of progress in one lifetime; sometimes I’m tempted to give up little bit.

– Can you elaborate about the long term and short-term goals?

– What are realistic goals?

– Continuous aspiration, developing mental stability and generating open welcoming benevolence comes from your teachings as good goals.

– What is missing, or opposite?

– What should be abandoned?

The Path of Accumulation #1 Exposé

The Path of Accumulation #2 Dialogue

#9 Transforming Suffering and Happiness into Enlightenment

by Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima

Homage

I pay homage to Noble Avalokiteśvara, recalling his qualities:Forever joyful at the happiness of others,And plunged into sorrow whenever they suffer,You have fully realized Great Compassion, with all its qualities,And abide, without a care for your own happiness or suffering!

Statement of Intent

I am going to put down here a partial instruction on how to use both happiness and suffering as the path to enlightenment. This is indispensable for leading a spiritual life, a most needed tool of the Noble Ones, and quite the most priceless teaching in the world.

There are two parts:

1) how to use suffering as the path,

2) and how to use happiness as the path.

Each one is approached firstly through relative truth, and then through absolute truth.

Transforming Suffering and Happiness into Enlightenment #1 Exposé

Transforming Suffering and Happiness into Enlightenment #2 Dialogue

#10. Patience and Equanimity

The third paramita trains us to be steady and openhearted in the face of difficult people and circumstances. Patience entails cultivating skillful courageousness, mindfulness, and tolerance. In general, when we feel that others are hurting or inconveniencing us, we react with various forms of anger and irritation, instantly looking to strike back. When it comes to the paramita of patience, however, we remain as unwavering as a mountain, neither seeking revenge nor harboring deep resentment inside our hearts. Patient tolerance is a very powerful antidote to anger.

The three categories of patience are (A) patience with enemies, (B) patience with hardships on the path, and (C) patience with the ups and downs of life.

Patience and equanimity #1 Exposé

Patience and equanimity #2 Dialogue

#11.How to Transform our Dualistic Vision by the Awareness of Impermanence

 How can the recognition of transitoriness in daily life bring about the realization of interconnectedness and the unity of form and emptiness?
 How to look, with the help of examples, for evidence of impermanence throughout our daily experience to oppose our tendency to solidify, separate and freeze the objects of our perception?

Twelve Examples of Illusion:

Magic

The Moon in the Water

A Visual Distortion

A Mirage

A Dream

An Echo

The City of Gandharvas

An Optical Illusion

Rainbows

Lightning

Water Bubbles

Reflection in a Mirror

Impermanence and Illusion#1Exposé

Impermanence and Illusion #2 Dialogue

#12. The Great Yoga. Lojong 5:22

YOU ARE WELL TRAINED IF YOU CAN EVEN WITHSTAND DISTRACTION.

Lojong 5:22

In the moment of a negative thought or disturbance, if you can maintain your composure and naturally apply the methods to subdue it without feeling any strain, then this means you are well trained. The correction is quite automatic owing· to your proficiency in practice. Even in the midst of an upheaval, you can remain composed and continue to use the immediate conditions to train. Like an expert rider, you ·won’t fall off the horse even when distracted.

Being stable in your practice does not mean that you no longer have any self-grasping. Rather, it means that when it does surface it is remedied right away. Naropa once said to Marpa:

“Your practice has attained to such a level that, like a coiled snake, you are able to release yourself in an instant.”

It will be evident that you have accomplished your practice when the five great qualities of mind arise:

Bodhicitta: The first great mind is bodhicitta. The effect of a dominant and pervasive bodhicitta mind is a complete feeling of satisfaction. While you continue to train, your contentment is so strong that you have no desire for anything else.

Great taming: Your mind is so tame that you notice the tiniest mistake which creates a negative cause and correct it immediately.

Great patience: You have enormous patience to subdue your negative emotions and defilements. You have no reservation whatsoever when it comes to dealing with a negative state of mind. In other words, you continue to train your mind no matter what.

Great merit: When everything you do, say, or think comes from one intention- to benefit others- then you are one with the dharma practice. Simultaneously, as you perform your daily practice and affairs, merit is accumulating continuously. That, in turn, directly supports your positive activities generating ever more merit. In this way, great merit multiplies automatically.

Great yoga: The great yoga (practice) is ultimate bodhicitta. It is the vast and profound mind of wisdom that exposes the nature of reality. To possess and sustain this perfect view is thus the quintessential dharma practice. Through Mind Training you will achieve these five great qualities of mind. You have to earnestly train to develop them, as they will not come about through wishful thinking.

Yoga is a complex word with many meanings. In this context, it is appropriate to examine how the term is used in Tibetan. The Tibetan word for yoga is “Neldjor” (rnal ‘byor). “Nel” is the original awakened nature of mind, the dharmakaya or truth nature. “Djor” is a verb that means to reach or attain. “Neldjor”, therefore, means to reach the original nature of mind.

The arising of the five great minds will prove that the essence of the bodhisattva practice has become your nature. You will not engage in any negativity no matter how small. You are in control and cannot be swayed by negative emotions. For you, all the remedies go into operation quite automatically even when you are not paying too much attention. As the remedies are being applied, you remain calm and balanced. Most of your time is naturally spent working for others or for your enlightenment (which is also, in effect, for sentient beings).

One very important point is this: true compassion is not emotional. Mature practitioners have a clear view grounded in ultimate bodhicitta. They already know the nature of suffering itself. Their compassion is influenced by wisdom so there is no sadness or emotion involved. Unhampered and free of emotions, bodhisattvas help others in a sensible and appropriate way.

Guru Yoga Six Verses

Gyalwa Karmapa IX

 I supplicate the precious Lama,

Bestow your blessing to abandon self-grasping.

Bestow your blessing to be continuously free from wants and desires.

Bestow your blessing to stop doubts, and mistrust in the dharma.

Bestow your blessing that I realize the mind to be beyond birth, cessation and dwelling.

Bestow your blessing that confusions are pacified into themselves.

Bestow your blessing that existence is realized to be dharmakaya.

#13. Czech & Slovak Dialogue

What to do with the attachment to the methods of liberation?
Stand for your right and the art of negotiation.
Planning and mindfulness.
Conscientiousness in getting rid of the klesha.
Does Vajrasattva clean it all?

2022 #1 Defeat the Klesha

Three angles of approach to the subject

 1/By the determination to preserve the ethical commitments

Firstly: Assess the reality of suffering, and let go of the constant effort to deny it in an endless quest for the ideal object.

“Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom.”

According to Schopenhauer, suffering is the basis of human existence: it is suffering to exist comes from the fact that man, this machine to desire, is ceaselessly disappointed with his satisfactions. As soon as a desire is satisfied, there come other desires, which must be fulfilled. It is the Will to live, in other words instinct, which makes us desire. But as soon as we kill desire in us, it is boredom that emerges, the emptiness of the heart. Thus, man is torn between this double threat, which constitutes a certain source of his misfortune.

Secondly: Rely on refuge and individual liberation vows (Pratimoksha) to break toxic habits while nurturing the virtuous spiral leading to enlightenment.

2/By unlimited love and compassion

Khenpo Munsel Tonglen Pith instructions

“Khenpo Munsel gave me many special oral instructions on tong-len that weren’t in the text. In tong-len, generally, we say that we are sending happiness out to others and taking others’ suffering in.

But for the actual meaning of tong-len, you have to understand the inseparability of self and other. The ground of our minds is the same. We understand this from the View.

In this context, even if there are many different types of suffering, there is only one thing called “suffering”. There is only one suffering, he taught. If there is really only one suffering then at this time when you, yourself, have great suffering, you should think, “The minds of the sentient beings of the three realms and my mind have the same ground.” However, the essence of the suffering of the sentient beings of the three realms and the essence of our own suffering is the same.

If you see them to be the same, if you see them as being non-dual, and then meditate on that suffering, in the mind’s natural state, that suffering goes away.

At that moment, you have been able to lessen the suffering of all sentient beings of the three realms, all at once.

The “len” of tong-len means “taking.” First, take in this way. “Tong” means “giving.” If you understand your mind’s nature, then you recognize the essence of whatever suffering and afflictive emotions there may be to be emptiness.

When suffering does not harm you anymore, the mind has great bliss. If at that time, you meditate, making self and others inseparable, then that bliss can diminish the self-grasping of all sentient beings. It can lessen the self-grasping.

The happiness that is being given is the bliss that comes from the practice of giving and taking.

This is how you should practice. This is very special. Others don’t explain it this way.”

Garchen Rinpoche

 3/By the depth of discernment

Turning Afflictions into Practice

Excerpt From: Shamar Rinpoche. “Boundless Wisdom: A Mahāmudrā Practice Manual.”

Although it is said that there are 84,000 afflictions, in fact they are beyond enumeration. Broadly speaking, they can be generalized into five groups: attachment, anger, ignorance, jealousy, and pride.

When you turn them into practice by recognizing their true nature, all 84,000 afflictions are resolved in an instant. At that moment, Buddha nature reveals itself spontaneously in the five forms of wisdom. That is the far-reaching result of turning afflictions into meditation. The fundamental nature of mind is pure wisdom. In other words, the five forms of wisdom are the innate nature of mind, commonly known as Buddha nature. When the mind is obscured by ignorance, these pure qualities are distorted, and they appear in us as the five forms of affliction. In reality, they are the five forms of wisdom. Thus, the true nature of all afflictions is in no way different from the true nature of mind. If we can only see that the mind and all its afflictions are intrinsically empty and unborn, ignorance will be eradicated in an instant.

Afflictions are sometimes known as poisons, while wisdom is described as nectar. For this reason, the instruction on turning afflictions into meditation is called the instruction on transforming poison into nectar.

The first of the afflictions is attachment. When the intrinsic nature of attachment is recognized as empty “and unborn, it reveals itself as discerning wisdom. In discerning wisdom, all things are perceived distinctly, as they truly are. This is as much as one can say about a Buddha’s wisdom, that a Buddha intuitively knows how and why things are the way they are. It is said that when a Buddha looks at the tail of a peacock, he can instantaneously tell what karmic causes and conditions have brought about all the different colors in each feather.

 The second affliction is anger. When the true nature of anger is recognized, anger reveals itself as the wisdom of the expanse, dharmadhātu wisdom. This is when every experience is recognized as inseparable from emptiness, mind’s true nature. In the emptiness of mind, every experience is an experience of spaciousness. In the emptiness of mind, every arising phenomenon occurs within the all-encompassing expanse and liberating quality of awakening.

The third affliction is ignorance. When the innate nature of ignorance is recognized as empty and unborn, it reveals itself as mirror-like wisdom, sometimes known as all-knowing wisdom. There are no limits to knowledge in omniscience, neither “In enlightenment, pride is transformed into the wisdom of nondiscrimination, also called the wisdom of equality. You realize that in the emptiness of mind, all things are undifferentiated in that they are equally empty.”

The fourth affliction is pride, or ego clinging. It is the discrimination between self and others. In any given situation, we generally favor ourselves over others. In enlightenment, pride is transformed into the wisdom of nondiscrimination, also called the wisdom of equality. You realize that in the emptiness of mind, all things are undifferentiated in that they are equally empty.

The fifth affliction is jealousy. In enlightenment, jealousy is transformed into task-accomplishing wisdom, the wisdom of activity. A Buddha, knowing the wishes, capacities, and abilities of all sentient beings, is best able to help them. Here, the term Buddha is used in the broadest sense, and is not confined to a specific historical Buddha.

The afflictions are like poisons for as long as they are not transformed into wisdom. The technique for turning the afflictions into practice is exactly the same as for turning thoughts into practice.

First of all, be aware of the arising of an affliction and identify it; look at its nature. Then relinquish all attachment to the feeling. Finally, do not be apprehensive or hopeful regarding the outcome, but accept any eventuality with courage and confidence.

Be like a lion in the face of hardship and difficulties. Be as free from attachments as the wind blowing through the sky. Be like a madman, without false pretenses and artificiality. The same technique is applicable for all afflictions.

Among the five afflictions, some are easier to detect and identify. Anger, for instance, is usually easy to see. Jealousy and attachment are also not well hidden. However, when you are beset by pride and ignorance, you do not usually know they are there. To be self-centered in our thinking is such an ingrained habitual tendency that it takes both time and patience to eradicate it. When you are ignorant, you are not always intelligent enough to know it. However, once you have dealt with the more apparent afflictions, you will also be able to deal with the more hidden ones in the course of practice.

Sometimes a very advanced meditator has a great deal of difficulty in finding ways and means to further his or her practice and realization. So, after successfully turning the afflictions into meditation by recognizing their true nature, an advanced meditator may go further by deliberately generating even stronger afflictions in order to give impetus to his or her practice. In so doing, the meditator takes the practice to a higher level of realization. People may be understandably outraged by this person’s obnoxious behavior. The reason is that there is no way they can tell that a meditator with pure motivation is practicing the transformation of afflictions into higher realizations.

Marpa was a good example of a practitioner engaging in this kind of practice. Apart from being a great teacher and translator, Marpa was a landowner. People who had practical dealings with him considered him to be a very disagreeable person, proud and aggressive, with insatiable greed. However, the great scholar and mahasiddha Naropa once said to him:

“Other people see you as having very strong afflictions. However, in your mind, an affliction is like a snake twisted into a knot. It straightens itself out in less time than it took to tie itself into the knot.”

Some lamas in Tibet were known to behave like Marpa in the hopes of misleading people into thinking that they were on the exalted level where strong negativity of mind was fuel to their practice. They indulged themselves wantonly in loose living.

But without Marpa’s realization, their behavior was only harmful. It did not help their practice and certainly should not have been seen as an indication of high realization. They might have behaved like Marpa, but they were not highly realized like him.

First Part:  By the determination to preserve the ethical commitments

#1 Exposé

#2 Dialogue

Second Part: By unlimited love and compassion

#1 Exposé

#2 Dialogue

Third Part: By the depth of discernment

#1 Exposé

#2 Dialogue

2022 #4 Mentoring on the Spiritual Path

Mentoring on the Spiritual Path

What is the place of tradition and spiritual friends in our current world?

One day, Ananda and the Buddha were sitting alone on a hill together, overlooking the plains of the Ganges. Having served as the Buddha’s attendant for many years, Ananda often shared his reflections and insights with him. This afternoon, Ananda spoke. “Dear Respected Teacher,” Ananda said. “It seems to me that half of the spiritual life is good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship.” But the Buddha quickly corrected him: “Not so, Ananda! Not so, Ananda!” He continued, “This is the entire spiritual life, Ananda, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When a monk has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path.” The Buddha skillfully removed Ananda’s idea that the sangha and the dharma are separate. One is not half of the other; the sangha is not merely helpful in realizing the path. The sangha is the path. Spiritual friendship is the path.

Kalyana Mitra

In Sanskrit, Kalyana Mitra means “spiritual friend.” Kalyana may be translated as “good, true, virtuous, upright, or beneficial,” and Mitra is the root word for maitri, which means kindness. A Kalyana Mitra is someone who helps you to realize your deeper aspirations, one who uplifts your path to a higher level of ethical and spiritual well being with a selfless kindness.

Many people, presented with so many teachings praising the practice of meditation and solitude, think Buddhism is a practice for loners. But the Buddha’s encouragements to practice in solitude were balanced with an ardent emphasis on cultivating worthy friendships. Throughout his teaching career, the Buddha spoke again and again about the pivotal importance of Kalyana Mitras in order to succeed in one’s practice, stating that there is no other factor so conducive to the arising of the noble eightfold path as good friendship. “Just as the dawn is the forerunner of the sunrise, so good friendship is the forerunner for the arising of the noble eightfold path,” the Buddha stated. The “Discourse on Happiness,” which extols thirty-two blessings of a happy life, begins with “To avoid foolish persons and to live in the company of wise people… this is the greatest happiness.”

#1 Exposé

#2 Dialogue

#5.Find liberation through both reflection and analysis.

Our minds have two related abilities: to look at things in general and to examine details. In Tibetan these are called tokpa and chöpa. The first is like identifying a forest; the second is like examining the trees in that forest. We should apply these faculties to understand our disturbing emotions.

For example, if you notice that you feel upset, you can ask: Why do I feel upset? Because I have been insulted. What was said that made me feel so insulted? Why did that insult me, when it didn’t insult my friend? Examine the situation from all angles: from your point of view, from the other’s point of view, from the dharmic view, from the worldly view, in relation to the past, present, and future. Learn everything there is to know about the subject and get to the bottom of it.

Once the light of your critical intelligence fully shines, it will be easy to free yourself by applying the Lojong practices such as tonglen. It’s important to do this practice systematically, going from general to specific, without skipping around. If you jump from one general theme to another, or from one detail to another, then you won’t learn much. You will be dwelling in vagueness. This process requires effort and may take you out of your comfort zone. But it is a process you can master, whether you’re an intellectual or an artist, whether you’re educated or uneducated. It’s a matter of using your innate emotional intelligence to understand your own experience. Learning how to apply these two mental faculties will make you feel confident and self-reliant. You will be able to understand the mind deeply from your own experience. In this way you will become a great teacher to yourself as well as a benefit to others.

#1 Exposé

#2 Dialogue

#6. Dharma Roadside Dialogue 2022. Czech & Slovak Fellowship Dialogue.Meditation advice.

About Perception

About Somatic meditation

How to reflect on the qualities of the Three Jewels?

#7. Dharma Roadside Dialogue 2022. Prayers & Mantra

The importance and benefits of mantra recitation.
The importance of prayer (without falling into a dualistic or theistic mode).
How to develop confidence in the reality of the presence and help of the deities.

#1 Exposé

#2 Dialogue