My Sincere Advice

Padmasambhava

Guru Padmasambhava

From the infinite sky of your pristine awareness, the totality
of experience, and the great clouds of your aspirations and prayers
Warm rays of compassion and showers of elixir stream down,
Ripening the three forms (1) in the fields, your students’ minds,
I bow to you, my teacher, my protector, supreme among the Three Jewels.

With stronger aspirations I might have joined the practice lineage.

I didn’t make the effort and now enter the twilight of a meaningless life.
I intended to follow the ancient masters,
but I’ve given up and I see others like me.
So, I’ll outline these thirty pieces of sincere advice
to evoke some determination in me.

Too bad! You’ve built up a large following, one way or another.
You look after a large institution where all the right conditions are present.
But it’s all just a basis for conflict and ideas like “This is mine.”
Live alone – that’s my sincere advice.

In public ceremonies you heal children or subdue demons.
You give your capabilities away to the crowd.
Because you really want food and money, your own needs cloud your judgment.
Tame your own mind – that’s my sincere advice.

You collect a lot of pledges from the poor
And use them to build big monuments, help the needy, and so on.
The good works you do cause others to live badly.
Goodness must be in your mind – that’s my sincere advice.

You’ve taught the Dharma to others because you wanted to be famous.
You cleverly keep a large circle of admirers around you.
To take these to be real is the seed of pride.
Limit your projects – that’s my sincere advice.

You earn money by trading, charging interest, cheating or other dishonest ways.
Although you make large offerings with your accumulated wealth,
Good actions based on greed lead to the eight conventional concerns (2) Cultivate non-attachment – that’s my sincere advice.

Although you think you’re serving the welfare of beings
By acting as a guarantor, witness or advocate to help settle others’ disputes,
Your own opinions will inevitably assert themselves.
Don’t be concerned – that’s my sincere advice.

Your political power, wealth, connections, good fortune and reputation
May spread all over the world.
When you die, these things will not help you at all.
Work at your practice – that’s my sincere advice.

Managers, assistants, directors, and such
Provide the infrastructure for both communities and religious institutions.
But your involvement in such matters gives rise to worry and concern.
Limit your business – that’s my sincere advice.

You take what you need, images, offerings,
Books, cooking gear, whatever, and stay in solitude.
Right now you have it all together but later difficulties and disputes arise.
Don’t need anything – that’s my sincere advice.

In these difficult times you may feel that it is helpful
To be sharp and critical with aggressive people around you.
This approach will just be a source of distress and confusion for you.
Speak calmly – that’s my sincere advice.

Intending to be helpful and without personal investment,
You tell your friends what is really wrong with them.
You may have been honest but your words gnaw at their heart.
Speak pleasantly – that’s my sincere advice.

You engage in discussions, defending your views and refuting others’
Thinking that you are clarifying the teachings.
But this just gives rise to emotional posturing.
Keep quiet – that’s my sincere advice.

You feel that you are being loyal
By being partial to your teacher, lineage or philosophical tradition.
Boosting yourself and putting down others just causes hard feelings.
Have nothing to do with all this – that’s my sincere advice.

As you carefully go over the teachings you’ve studied
You may think that picking out others’ mistakes is real understanding.
You will just build up a lot of negative fixations.
Keep your perception clear – that’s my sincere advice.

Mindless talk of emptiness ignores causation.
You may think the ultimate teaching is that there is nothing to do,
But when you stop the two ways of growing,(3) your practice will wither.
Cultivate these two together – that’s my sincere advice.

You think that you will enhance your practice by taking a partner
And transforming sexual energy in the context of the third empowerment,
But the path of non-retention has snared many great meditators.
Keep to the natural path – that’s my sincere advice.

Giving empowerments to those who aren’t ready,
Or even distributing sacred materials in large gatherings,
Leads to abuse and causes commitments to be broken.
Be precise – that’s my sincere advice.

You may think that you practice deliberate behavior(4) by going naked in public and shocking people in other ways.
Such actions just cause ordinary people not to trust the Dharma.
Be impeccable – that’s my sincere advice.

You work at being ethical, learned, and noble
So that you will be the best person in your district.
But from this peak you can only fall to a lower status.
Be moderate – that’s my sincere advice.

Wherever you live, in towns, spiritual communities or in isolation,
Don’t seek out special friends.
Don’t be close or at odds with anyone, no matter who is around.
Be independent – that’s my sincere advice.

Maybe you appear deferential and appreciative
To your faithful supporters who provide you with your livelihood,
But in deceiving others you only entangle yourself.
Treat everyone equally – that’s my sincere advice.

Countless books on divination, astrology, medicine and other subjects
Describe ways to read signs. They do add to your learning,
But they generate new thoughts and your stable attention breaks up.
Cut down on this kind of knowledge – that’s my sincere advice.

You stop arranging your usual living space,
But make everything just right for your retreat.
This makes little sense and just wastes time.
Forget all this – that’s my sincere advice.

You make an effort at practice and become a good and knowledgeable person.
You may even master some particular capabilities.
But whatever you attach to will tie you up.
Be unbiased and know how to let things be – that’s my sincere advice.

You may think awakened activity means to subdue skeptics
By using sorcery, directing or warding off hail or lightning, for example.
But to burn the minds of others will lead you to lower states.
Keep a low profile – that’s my sincere advice.

Maybe you collect a lot of important writings,
Major texts, personal instructions, private notes, whatever.
If you haven’t practiced, books won’t help you when you die.
Look at the mind – that’s my sincere advice.

When you focus on practice, to compare understandings and experience,
Write books or poetry, to compose songs about your experience
Are all expressions of your creativity. But they just give rise to thinking.
Keep yourself free from intellectualization – that’s my sincere advice.

When a thought arises, the key is to look right at it.
When you know about mind, the key is to be right there.
Although there isn’t anything to cultivate, the key is to keep cultivating.
Keep yourself free of distraction – that’s my sincere advice.

Act from emptiness knowing the effects of your actions.
When you understand not doing, observe the three vows. (5) With non-referential compassion work to help beings
Keep the two ways of growing inseparable – that’s my sincere advice.

I’ve studied with many learned and masterful teachers and received their profound instruction.
I’ve read some profound sutras and tantras and understood a little of them.
But I don’t practice what I know. It’s too bad. I just fool myself.
So, for me and those like me I offer these thirty pieces (6) of sincere advice.

May the good from writing these verses with this attitude of determination
Guide all beings out of the desolation of existence and bring them great joy.
May we follow the way of the buddhas of the three times, their followers and the ancient masters,

And become their great and powerful offspring as well.

  1. The three forms (three kayas) are the form of what is (dharmakaya), the form of enrichment (sambhogakaya) and the form of manifestation (nirmanakaya).
  2. Pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and obscurity.
  3. The two ways of growing are through goodness and through pristine awareness.
  4. A discipline in vajrayana in which you directly test the depth of your understanding.
  5. The vows associated with individual liberation (the five precepts and monastic ordination), the bodhisattva vow, and the vajrayana vows.
  6. There are actually only twenty-nine verses of advice. I don’t know whether this is due to a corrupt Tibetan text or, as is often the case, the whole work is counted as one, too.

Thirty Pieces of Sincere Advice was written by Tsultrim Lodru out of some slight feelings of determination. Ken McLeod translated this work because it spoke to him.

Source: http://www.unfetteredmind.org

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The Wisdom Of The Soul: Durga and Krishna

“Wisdom is the science of the spirit, just as knowledge is the science of matter. Knowledge is separative and objective, whilst wisdom is synthetic and subjective. Knowledge divides; wisdom unites. Knowledge differentiates whilst wisdom blends.”

The Tibetan

DurgaKrishna

Hindu Goddess Durga

Durga is a wonderful embodiment of the victory, gained in the battle between the mind and the loving heart in which the true wisdom resides. She “is ten-armed, representing the tenfold fruitive activities. She rides on the lion, representing her heroic prowess. She tramples down Mahishasura, representing the subduer of vices. She is the mother of two sons, Karttikeya and Ganesha, representing beauty and success. She is placed between Lakshmi and Sarasvati, representing mundane opulence and mundane knowledge. She is armed with the twenty weapons, representing the various pious activities enjoined by the Vedas for suppression of vices. She holds the snake, representing the beauty of destructive time. Such is Durga possessing all these manifold forms. Durga is possessed of durga, which means a prison house.

When jivas begotten of the marginal potency forget the service of Krishna they are confined in the mundane prison house, the citadel of Durga. The wheel of karma is the instrument of punishment at this place. The work of purifying these penalized jivas is the duty devolved upon Durga. She is incessantly engaged in discharging the same by the will of Govinda. When, luckily. the forgetfulness of Govinda on the part of imprisoned jivas is remarked by them by coming in contact with self-realized souls and their natural aptitude for the loving service of Krishna is aroused, Durga herself then becomes the agency of their deliverance by the will of Govinda. So it behooves everybody to obtain the guileless grace of Durga, the mistress of this prison house, by propitiating her with the selfless service of Krishna.

People in general worship Goddess Durga, the wife of Lord Shiva, for material prosperity, but Lord Shiva engages her in his service without material desire. He simply advises his great wife that of all kinds of worship, the worship of Vishnu is the highest, and greater than that is the worship of a great devotee or anything in relation with Vishnu.

Therefore, one should be intelligent enough to know how to utilize material assets which are given by Goddess Durga, for the purpose of spiritual realization in Krishna Consciousness.

Smita Krishna Dasa, Chennai

Swim like a #SWAN

Black swan

Although the swan is very often perceived as one of the symbols of pure love, I would like to attract your attention to a different aspect of the legend. There is something else in the character of these magical birds. Something that makes them so marvelous and attractive, always showing elegance and serenity that start from within. These gracious creatures fuse their sophisticated aura into the still waters in silence. Drifting away peacefully, the swans leave us in a special feeling of relaxed concentration.

It seems that swans show perfect control, but such control is an illusion we can easily relate to our own experience. Bringing joy and love to the world, they reveal naturally the beauty of the inner power. Just like them, we go through subtle invisible journeys – no matter, how conscious is the feeling of this process. Do we realize the depth of our intuitive flow, do we understand fully the outcome for the people, close to us?

This inner contentment is a sign of maturity and relaxed mindset. This is not just a state of mind or… some kind of supreme personal performance. It is part of the everyday life, when we become aware of the games our mind can play. Gradually, with time, it brings to surface the finest beauty of the self. The self, aspiring to excellence.

What is at the core? Some answers can build a meaningful story, while others can surely point at relevant questions. The question of “Who are we?” poses a simple, yet fundamental search that has to be respected during every major personal shift. We are in a full dynamic – conscious or subconscious, but are we learning the habit of withdrawing from the active mode? Are we capable of switching from one condition to another?

Let’s recollect and refresh the hidden memories about ourselves in this present moment.

Some speakers will start the conversation with a note about personal branding. Put another way, branding is quite popular these days and many people think, we should purposely build our personal “brand”. Missing this effort, we may lose our direction and identity, according to them. But…

Who are you?

We can approach this fundamental question in many ways. And it is inevitable, if we want to survive or win. So let’s start with the
Strehgths.
This is the easiest part – we all have our good qualities to demonstrate, communicate and be proud of. And we love talking about them.

Much more important issues will surface by summarizing our
Weaknesses.
Usually, they appear after the number 10 in the list. We step a little out of our comfort zone, but still trying to keep the “good face” on. This is obvious, as the self-respect is under fire.

The next level of the game is reached, when we are asked about our
Ambitions.
While some of us may feel the power and the excitement of the protagonist in his/her own show, others may not have enough reasons to strive toward popularity or power. Success is not a goal for them. Just the opposite and this is the most interesting part, I think.

Finally, we will have to wrap up the
Needs.
The issue here is more about the deep context inside us – do we know what we really NEED? At the end of the day, we will have to solve this eternal dilemma: how our needs are related to the constant re-evaluation of our ambitions. Will that change our matrix?

Learn to practice SWAN. Learn to “swim”, following the curves of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Ambitions and Needs and you will become a Master of the inner change. In fact, swans are one of the best examples nature provides to show us this amazing transformation. It is worth mentioning here the name of Hans Christian Andersen – one of the most famous storytellers of Change. His beautiful fairytale “The Ugly Duckling” is a story for adults. The ugly duckling was not just a survivor… it became so much more. A brilliant example of a noble character, wisdom and courage.

Just like you…

 Swan Lake

In Loving Memory of Morgan Scott Peck, American Psychiatrist and Writer

LionClouds

The essence of the true power lies within.

It comes when you KNOW exactly HOW. When you are AWARE. And have the COURAGE to take decisions. Move on WISELY. Sometimes this could be the most difficult task – to take the next step.

When you are strong, you experience the sweetest bliss. Feeling modest and HAPPY at the same time. It’s a rare state of mind. Refined and intimate emotion. It’s your silent shining smile in the middle of the ocean. When you realize that ALL is ONE.

The real strength comes also from the SOLITUDE – sometimes unbearable. But you are not a lonely person.There are good fellows beside you. Well, usually located faraway. Very few of them could grasp the depth of your attitude. And find its complexity and ambivalence.

The power within…

Inspired by “The Road Less Traveled”

ЦЕНАТА НА ЕДНА ПЕРЛА

Един петел видял в градината си перла, която светела под слънчевите лъчи с красиви отблясъци. Втурнал се лакомо към нея, изровил я и се опитал да я глътне. Когато забелязал, че блестящият предмет не е кралицата на оризовите зърна, я изплюл. Той наистина проверил перлата, но каква проверка било това?!

За негова голяма изненада, перлата го повикала с човешки глас и с присъщия си изящен аристократизъм, му разказала историята си:

„Виж ме добре. Аз съм блестяща скъпоценна перла. Паднах случайно от една чудесна огърлица в пръстта на тази градина. Не във всички морета по света има перли като мен. Само случайността ме хвърли в твоите крака.

Всъщност, аз съм голяма рядкост… Ако се осмелиш да ме разгледаш с очите на мъдростта, ще забележиш хилядолетната красота. Аз съм извор на чудеса.”

Но петелът изкукуригал гордо: „Бих те взел и бих те дал, ако някой поиска да те замени за едно оризово зърно.”

С това категорично решение в малкото си сърчице, петелът се изпъчил и невъзмутимо се отдалечил.

Ориенталска приказка

PsycheGoldenBox

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) Psyche Opening the Golden Box, 1903

Красотата и добротата не могат да бъдат обяснени. Те се възприемат с помощта на фини сетива, които ни дават достъп до невидимите измерения на човешкото общуване. Обикновените думи няма как да опишат истинската ценност, защото това което е най-ценно е “невидимо за очите”.  Не хабете думите си, ако сте изправени срещу някой, чието кредо не резонира с вашето. В такава ситуация може да изпитате ефекта на бумеранга. Подбирайте внимателно не само посланията си, но също и техния адресат.

ЦЕНАТА НА ЕДНА ПЕРЛА

Дървото на желанията

„Веднъж един пътешественик седнал да си почине под едно дърво. Почувствал се крайно изтощен и жаден и се размечтал за малко вода, та да утоли жаждата си. Представил си чист и звънлив поток и какво да види – природата сякаш веднага отговорила на неговото желание. Човекът се обърнал, дочувайки ромона на водата, игриво подскачаща близо до дървото. След като отпил от изворчето, той си помислил, че може би ще е добре и да се нахрани. И отново, като по чудо, в близост до него се появили няколко блюда.

Но ето, че изминало време и нашият герой се почувствал твърде уморен, за да продължи по пътя си. Отново се изпълнил с желание за сладка почивка. Без да забележи, почти естествено и веднага, до него се оказало едно прекрасно и удобно легло, на което той легнал да поспи. Минало доста време, а човекът все още не забелязвал, че всъщност седи под дървото, което изпълнява желания.

Вечерта, когато се събудил мъжът, слънцето вече залязвало и нощта бавно падала. Изведнъж, поради причина на обикновената си човешка природа,  героят бил завладян от особено чувство – чувството на страх. Помислил си: „О, толкова е тъмно! Дали няма отнякъде да се появят тигри и да ме изядат?” Така и станало. Станало както той пожелал…“

Будистка притча

Това е една от любимите ми приказки, които използвам в практиката си, за да въведа темата за силата на нашите намерения. Древната мъдрост ни учи, че енергията следва мисълта и в подкрепа на това всеки от нас може да даде много примери.  Вероятно забързани в ежедневното тичане, пропускаме да си дадем сметка колко често ние наистина получаваме това, от което се нуждаем, и много повече. Дали успяваме да се изпълним с благодарност за всички добри жестове на съдбата и хората около нас. И не сме ли твърде увлечени в преследването на придобивки, забравяйки за истински важното – качеството на нашите усещания за света и самите себе си. Забравете за страха, назовете го смело и съберете сили да го погледнете в очите. Само миг по-късно ще забележите една химера да се отдалечава.

Wish-fulfilling Tree

Wish-fulfilling Tree

Make a wish…