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To practice the dharma is to look into the content of one’s life in a very deep way. To do this, one must be able to discern between one’s strengths and one’s shortcomings.

Some people may think of spirituality as the practice of having faith in something. Some others may see the dharma as being like a spiritual massage. The way I see the dharma, however, is that intelligence and investigation are even more important than faith. To practice the dharma is to look into the content of one’s life in a very deep way. To do this, one must be able to discern between one’s strengths and one’s shortcomings. This is not possible through faith alone.

Some people approach spirituality as a method by which, if their minds are feeling disturbed, it will calm them down. It is seen as a temporary benefit. There is no long-term view of bringing peace to the mind, or freeing the mind from disturbing emotions altogether. So in this way many people look for immediate results, some type of swift path without too many hardships. Since materialism is so prevalent these days, that approach comes into spirituality as well, with people wanting fast results. In this way we become spiritually materialistic. So what I mean by the dharma is living our lives deeply and knowing ourselves.

17th Karmapa
~Tricycle interview – New York City, July 2011

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