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Sleep Practice

DZONGSAR JAMYANG KHYENTSE RINPOCHE

SLEEP PRACTICE

Whatever your belief or spiritual practice, always aspire to recognize that your dreams are just dreams. Know as you dream that you are dreaming. The big mistake we all make in every one of our many lives is to imagine that everything we experience is real. Stop making that mistake! As you fall asleep, simulate the moment of death by forcing yourself to believe that you are about to die. If you wish, try the following method, which is based on the practice of aspiration.

For Non-Buddhists

As you lie down to go to sleep, think to yourself:
Tonight I may die. This may be it. I may never wake up again. Forgive those you need to forgive. Forget everything that should be forgotten. Bring to mind anything that calms and relaxes you – it could be a falling leaf or a quacking duck.
More importantly, make the wish that you and every other sentient being will have and experience all that is good. In fact, if you can focus on caring for others more than yourself, not only will it bring you great joy, it will simultaneously ensure that you yourself are well looked after.
As you fall asleep, your awareness of your body – what your eyes see, what your nose smells, what your tongue tastes, and so on – will be detached by sleep.
When you next wake up, imagine you have been reborn and that a new life has just begun. Observe how you reconnect with your senses and sense objects. Notice the song of the blackbird, smell your stale morning breath, taste your night-time mouth taste.
Think to yourself: The world I have awoken into will not last forever. Look at your new table and that packet of exquisite, unopened Japanese stationery. Use them both and appreciate them now – it may be your last chance.

For Buddhists

If you wish, follow an old Buddhist tradition and imagine that all the buddhas and bodhisattvas have gathered on your pillow. Then, just before you lie down, offer them a prostration. If you would like to emulate the Buddha’s famous reclining position, lie on your right side as you go to sleep.
Think: I want to make good use of this night’s sleep. I surrender to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. I want this night’s sleep to be beneficial and meaningful for both myself and others.
As you fall asleep, think: I am dying; My consciousness of my senses is dissolving.
As you wake up, think: I have been reborn. I long to make good use of this fleeting life for the benefit of myself and others.

For Tantrikas

Aspire to perceive and experience the luminosity of simple cognisance. As the process of falling asleep offers an excellent opportunity for recognizing this luminosity, make strong aspirations to simply ‘cognize’. At death, all your sensory mechanisms will dissolve, which means this ‘simple cognisance’ will be entirely unbothered by your senses or your reaction to sense objects. All that will be left is your mind. So, bearing in mind the sleep practice that has already been described, visualize a lotus at the centre of your heart on which sits your guru, who is the embodiment of all the Buddhas. Then, as you fall asleep, just think about your guru.

From the book : “Living is dying “

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The 3 C’s in Life: Choice, Chance, Change.

The 3 C’s in Life: Choice, Chance, Change. You must make the Choice, to take the Chance, if you want anything in life to Change.

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Ancestral Mathematics

“In order to be born, you needed:

2 parents
4 grandparents
8 great-grandparents
16 second great-grandparents
32 third great-grandparents
64 fourth great-grandparents
128 fifth great-grandparents
256 sixth great-grandparents
512 seventh great-grandparents
1,024 eighth great-grandparents
2,048 ninth great-grandparents

For you to be born today from 12 previous generations, you needed a total sum of 4,094 ancestors over the last 400 years.

Think for a moment – How many struggles? How many battles? How many difficulties? How much sadness? How much happiness? How many love stories? How many expressions of hope for the future? – did your ancestors have to undergo for you to exist in this present moment.”

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10 Necessities for the Practitioner

  1. Ability to be independent. You need to stay independent so as not to lose your true goal once you have decided what needs to be done and what you need not follow.
  2. Follow the words and teachings of sublime Masters with trust and diligence.
  3. One must have the wisdom to discriminate whether the sublime teachings given by the Master is correct or incorrect before one starts the practice. If found to be wrong, one has to find out what is correct and what is suitable for oneself.
  4. Assimilate the sublime Master’s knowledge with devotion. That is, one must have faith and determination to practise the teachings given by the sublime Master to attain the realisations of the Master whom you receive the teachings from.
  5. One’s three doors (body, speech and mind) should be free from faults by having mindfulness, introspection and heedfulness in one’s daily practice.
  6. To be steady and have fortitude in pursuing the goal of ultimate liberation. This means one ought to have strong courage and unwavering determination to reach the highest state of Buddhahood.
  7. To practise non-attachment and non-clinginess. That is, your mind should always be still and steady, resting in equanimity and be free from attachment or aversion towards any phenomenon or people.
  8. To constantly exert oneself in accumulating merits through compassion, loving-kindness, practice and dedication. First, it is crucial to generate thoughts of loving-kindness, compassion and pure motivation. Next, we proceed to doing the actual practice, and finally round it off by dedicating the merits of the practice to the complete liberation of all sentient beings.
  9. To constantly cherish thoughts of helping, caring and benefiting all sentient beings, whether directly or indirectly, in our practice and all that we do.
  10. Avoid seeing phenomenon as cast in concrete. It is important to have the wisdom, the understanding and realisation to differentiate between realisation and intellectual understanding.
  • Thritsab Rinpoche, excerpted from Awaken 8
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What do people think spiritual development is?

JETSUNMA TENZIN PALMO

“What do people think spiritual development is? It’s not lights and trumpets. It’s very simple. It’s right here and now. People have this idea that Enlightenment and realization is something in the distance- a very fantastic and magnificent happening which will transform everything once and for always. But it’s not like that at all. It’s something which is sometimes so simple you hardly see it. It’s right here in front of us, so close we don’t notice it. And it’s something which can happen at any moment. And the moment we see it, there it is. It’s been there all the time, but we’ve had our inner eye closed. When the moments of awareness all link up – then we become a Buddha.”

***Cave In The Snow

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The mysterious roar of silence itself.

“The silence is so intense that you can hear your own blood roar in your ears but louder than that by far is the mysterious roar which I always identify with the roaring of the diamond wisdom, the mysterious roar of silence itself, which is a great Shhhh reminding you of something you’ve seemed to have forgotten in the stress of your days since birth.”

Jack Kerouac

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Character is what you are in the dark.

“No one of good character leaves behind a wasted life — whether they die in obscurity or renown. “Character,” wrote the 19th Century evangelist, Dwight Moody, “is what you are in the dark.” Your character is not tested on occasions of public scrutiny or acclaim. It is not tested in moments when the object of your actions is the regard of another. Your character is what you are to yourself, not what you pretend to be to yourself or others. Although human beings often attempt self-delusion, we cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves from ourselves. It will make itself known to us by means of our conscience despite our most strenuous effort to suppress it.”

John McCain
1936 – 25 August 2018

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The Buddha did not invent the Dhamma, he did not decree the Dhamma.

The Dhamma that the Buddha realized is the Dhamma which exists permanently in the world. It can be compared to ground water which permanently exists in the ground. When a person wishes to dig a well, he must dig down deep enough to reach the ground water. The ground water is already there. He does not create the water, he just discovers it. Similarly, the Buddha did not invent the Dhamma, he did not decree the Dhamma. He merely revealed what was already there. Through contemplation, the Buddha saw the Dhamma. Therefore, it is said that the Buddha was enlightened, for enlightenment is knowing the Dhamma. The Dhamma is the truth of this world. Seeing this, Siddhattha Gotama is called ‘The Buddha’. The Dhamma is that which allows other people to become a Buddha, ‘One-who-knows’, one who knows Dhamma.
(Ajahn Chah)

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The change that takes place moment to moment represents moment after moment of opportunity.

Why do we need to contemplate impermanence? The fact that things change does not mean we lose something. Rather, it is a sign that we have new opportunities and new options. We meditate on impermanence in order to see that the change that takes place moment to moment represents moment after moment of opportunity. The opportunities available to us are inexhaustible and limitless, and are arising continuously. We meditate on impermanence so that we can make full use of these opportunities and make good choices.

– 17th Karmapa

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Anupaghato: Don’t allow yourself to hate one another.

Anupaghato: Don’t allow yourself to hate one another. It’s only normal that when people live together, their behavior isn’t going to be on an equal level. Some people have good manners, some people have coarse manners — not evil, mind you, just that their manners are coarse. Physically, some people are energetic, industrious, and strong; others are weak and sickly. Verbally, some people are skilled at speaking, others are not. Some people talk a lot, some people hardly talk at all; some people like to talk about worldly things, some people like to talk about the Dhamma; some people speak wrong, some people speak right. This is called inequality. When this is the case, there are bound to be conflicts and clashes, at least to some extent. When these things arise among us while we live together within the boundaries of the same Dhamma, we shouldn’t hold grudges. We should forgive one another and wash away that stain from our hearts. Why? Because otherwise it turns into animosity and enmity. The act of forgiving is called the gift of forgiveness. It turns you into the sort of person who doesn’t hold onto things, doesn’t carry things around, doesn’t get caught up on things — the sort of person who doesn’t bear grudges. Even when there are missteps or mistakes from time to time, we should forgive one another. We should have a sense of love, affection, and kindness for everyone around us, as much as we can. This is called anupaghato. It’s a part of our training as Buddhists, both for householders and for contemplatives.

Ajahn Lee