The Mahayana emphasizes the need to understand the complete nature of all phenomena.


Vajrayana and the Mahayana View of Wholeness.

The Mahayana emphasizes the need to understand the complete nature of all phenomena. It is a view of “wholeness.”

Ordinarily, the mind merely connects with appearances: the appearance of forms, sounds, thoughts, feelings, and so on. We then make assumptions based on how things appear, how they sound, how they feel. This is a very subtle moment: this moment of grasping at some impression, clinging to it, and in that grasping and clinging, immediately articulating an assumption.

Simply put: you do not take time to fully understand what you see, hear, think, or feel. Your understanding arises from fleeting moments that can only produce assumptions, all of which are based on what you stand to gain or lose in the moment. This builds up sediments of
deluded perception, through which you cannot see things clearly.

It is not the sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings that are deluded; you create delusions, through the speed of making biased assumptions. When the mind has no time to open up to the wholeness, or completeness, of appearances, the sediment of delusion settles into “good” and “bad” assumptions. And at that point, every form, sound, thought, and other sensation you relate is dominated by ego’s personal preferences and convenience.

The Power of Perception.

To understand vajrayana, know that we are talking about perception.
What is meant by the “complete” nature of perception? What makes a sound or thought “whole”? Are they merely what you imagine them to be, or is there more to it?
A very traditional analogy is this: When someone comes to you with a complaint, are you able to really appreciate the whole story—whether you like that person or not? A wise person will listen to the whole story and give an unbiased judgment in the situation. Any judgment based merely on appearances is an ignorantly made judgment, and any decision will be very biased or partial. This example applies to the habitual ways we relate to everything we see, hear, and think.

Our judgments and opinions about appearances are very powerful, in that they become causes that bring about effects. The karma we create builds a sphere of experience for ourselves and for the world at large. Karma is propelled by our opinions and judgments, and
when those opinions and judgments are not sane, they bring about negative karma.

No one intends to create negative karma. But a mind that does not perceive things sanely, or wholly, churns out unending amounts of karma. And karma dominated by ego’s biased views, preferences, and conveniences becomes negative karma—simply by not seeing things clearly and completely.

**An Introduction to Ngöndro.

Your suffering is mine. Your fear is mine. You are not alone.


Love is You

“The woman spoke to Rinpoche (Tibetan master Anam Thubten Rinpoche) about her terrible uncertainty for her sanity, and after a few words he invited her to come close and sit facing him. By the time she had shared all she needed to, her eyes were full of tears. Rinpoche remained silent for a minute or two, and then he quietly said,

“Your suffering is mine. Your fear is mine.” Many of us gasped at the exquisite beauty of his response. And there were tears in his eyes as well as he added, “You are not alone.” The woman and Rinpoche meditated together for a few more minutes and then he asked,

“What do you feel?” “Love. Great love, but after all, it’s you.” He replied, “No, the love is you—your seeing and knowing what’s inside of you.”

Think of all those around the world who are dying in hospitals right now.



Think of all those around the world who are dying in hospitals right now. Then imagine that you yourself are on your deathbed. You are about to lose all you have gathered through a lifetime of effort. You can’t take any of it with you. Your friends and family surround you, but no matter how much you love or are attached to them, in a few moments you will never see them again. Imagine your terror. Then let your mind rest.

Next, bring your attention back to the present circumstances. You are not dying in this moment or losing those you love. You are not starving or about to be killed. Appreciate your good fortune. Again, let the mind rest.

Then resolve to do what you can to reduce the suffering of others. Let the mind rest. Pray that you will accomplish this, and again let the mind rest

Repeat this process as you imagine different circumstances in which others are suffering.

When you open up to live as it is

When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to be not afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.

Pema Chodron

One phenomenon arises and another stops, simultaneously.

The King Milinda once asked the Buddhist sage Nagasena: “When someone is reborn, is he the same as the one who just died, or is he different?”

Nagasena replied: “He is neither the same nor different. . . . Tell me, if a man were to light a lamp, could it provide light the whole night long?”


“Is the flame then which burns in the first watch of the night the same as the one that burns in the second . . . or the last?”


“Does that mean there is one lamp in the first watch of the night, another in the second, and another in the third?”

“No, it’s because of that one lamp that the light shines all night.”

“Rebirth is much the same: One phenomenon arises and another stops, simultaneously. So the first act of consciousness in the new existence is neither the same as the last act of consciousness in the previous existence, nor is it different.”

Discriminating, attaching values, defining and pigeon-holing.

What usually happens is that whenever something is seen or heard, we feel that it demands our attention. We fall under the command of the visible form being seen and we feel that we have to get involved in discriminating what it is. So we stay busy attaching values and defining and pigeon-holing it. If a sound occurs, we immediately think, “I have to listen to that sound.” We get caught up again and again, trapped in discriminating whether we like the sensation or don’t like it; whether we must accept it or reject it. That very process is the creation of karma, right there. That is what we are trying to step out of right now through meditation training.

~ Tsoknyi Rinpoche

If you still define yourself as a Buddhist, you are not a buddha yet.


As Buddha said in the Prajnaparamita Sutra, all phenomena are like a dream and an illusion, even enlightenment is like a dream and an illusion. And if there is anything greater or grander than enlightenment, that, too, is like a dream and an illusion. His disciple, the great Nagarjuna, wrote that the Lord Buddha has not stated that after abandoning samsara there exists nirvana. The nonexistence of samsara is nirvana. A knife becomes sharp as the result of two exhaustions — the exhaustion of the whetstone and the exhaustion of the metal. In the same way, enlightenment is the result of the exhaustion of defilements and the exhaustion of the antidote of the defilements. Ultimately one must abandon the path to enlightenment. If you still define yourself as a Buddhist, you are not a buddha yet.

***What Makes You Not a Buddhist