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The middle way is beyond birth and death, high and low, happiness and suffering, good and bad.

The place where there is no becoming and birth, humans don’t really notice. The unenlightened mind fails to see it and consequently just passes back and forth over it. Samma patipada is the middle way which the Buddha followed until he was liberated from becoming and birth. It is abayakata dhamma – neither good or bad – because the mind has let everything go. This is the way of the samana. One who doesn’t follow this way cannot be a true samana, because they won’t experience true inner peace. Why is that? Because they are still involved in becoming and birth; they are still caught up in the cycle of birth and death. But the middle way is beyond birth and death, high and low, happiness and suffering, good and bad. It is the straight way and the way of calm and restraint. It is a calm that lies beyond happiness and suffering, good moods and bad moods. This is the nature of the practice. If your heart has experienced this true peace, it means you are able to stop. You are able to stop asking questions. There’s no longer any need to ask anybody. This is why the Buddha taught that the Dhamma is paccatam veditabbo vinnuhi – it’s something which each individual has to know clearly for themselves. You see how it all accords exactly with what the Buddha taught and then you’ve no need to ask anybody else.

Ajahn Chah

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Don’t go finding fault with one another.

“The first guideline: anupavādo. Don’t go finding fault with one another. In other words, don’t say evil things about one another, don’t misrepresent one another, don’t say anything that will cause people to fall apart from one another. Don’t start false reports about one another, and don’t encourage them. Don’t curse or yell at one another. Instead of finding fault with one another, each of us should look at his or her own faults. This is what’s meant by anupavādo. You can use this principle anywhere, whether you’re ordained or not.”

~ Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo “Dhamma for Everyone”, transl. Thanissaro

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This shows how ignorant we are of the persistent shifting of this world and all phenomena.

We also have a tendency to think that after we die, the world will go on. The same sun will shine and the same planets will rotate just as we think they have done since time began. Our children will inherit the earth.

This shows how ignorant we are of the persistent shifting of this world and all phenomena. Children don’t always outlive parents, and while they are alive they don’t necessarily conform to our ideal. Your sweet little well-behaved kids can grow up into cocaine-snorting thugs who bring home all kinds of lovers. The straightest parents in the world produce some of the most flamboyant homosexuals, just as some of the most laid-back hippies end up with neoconservative children.

Yet we still cling to the archetype of the family and the dream of having our bloodlines, jaw lines, surnames, and traditions carried on through our progeny.

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

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When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick.

“When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick… Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.” -Milarepa

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Not to get too attached to your plans, hopes and expectations.

If you have neither the time nor the inclination to become acquainted with the view that samsara is an illusion, try, while you are still alive and healthy, not to get too attached to your plans, hopes and expectations. At the very least, prepare yourself for the possibility that nothing will work out. Everything good in your life could, in the blink of eye, become the exact opposite; and everything you value could suddenly become worthless.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

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Just accept them as part of the establishment of silence.

CHOGYAM TRUNGPA RINPOCHE

‘In order to achieve silence, you would not chase the birds away because they make a noise. In order to be still, you would not stop the movement of air or the rushing river, but accept them and you will yourself be aware of the silence. Just accept them as part of the establishment of silence. So the mental aspect of the noise of birds affects the psychological aspect in you. In other words, the noise that birds make is one factor, and one’s psychological concept of noise is another. And when one can deal with that side, the noise of birds becomes merely audible silence. So the whole point is that one should not expect anything from outside, one should not try to change the other person or try to put across one’s opinions. One should not try to convince a person at the wrong moment, when one knows he already has a very clear idea of his own, or it is simply not the right moment for your words to get through to him.’
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**Meditation in Action

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Once we cease producing a reaction, since thoughts in themselves are self-arising and self-liberating, we will find the source of that liberation.

KYABJE DILGO KHYENTSE RINPOCHE

When we recognize a thought, that recognition alone will not liberate it. It is not that we should not recognize it; it must be recognized.

But then when recognizing it, without grasping at the thought, the basis from which it arises – the unaltered natural state of mind pointed out by our teacher – should also be recognized.

When we look at that recognition, the strength of the thought is broken, and the recognition of the intrinsic nature becomes stronger. Then no reaction can be produced. Once we cease producing a reaction, since thoughts in themselves are self-arising and self-liberating, we will find the source of that liberation.

Being taken in by a thought is like being afraid of a man wearing a lion’s mask. But if we know that the nature of thoughts is emptiness, like realizing that it is only a man wearing a mask, the strength of the thought will be broken and we will naturally relax.

***
“Oral Instructions on ‘Three Words That Strike The Vital Point’ – on Action – Collected Works, Vol III”
pg 651

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The First Seal: All Compounded Things Are Impermanent:

DZONGSAR JAMYANG KHYENTSE RINPOCHE

IMPERMANENT

The First Seal: All Compounded Things Are Impermanent:

Every phenomenon we can think of is compounded, and therefore subject to impermanence. Certain aspects of impermanence, like the changing of the weather, we can accept easily, but there are equally obvious things that we don’t accept.

For instance, our body is visibly impermanent and getting older every day, and yet this is something we don’t want to accept. Certain popular magazines that cater to youth and beauty exploit this attitude. In terms of view, meditation and action, their readers might have a view — thinking in terms of not aging or escaping the aging process somehow. They contemplate this view of permanence, and their consequent action is to go to fitness centers and undergo plastic surgery and all sorts of other hassles.

Enlightened beings would think that this is ridiculous and based on a wrong view. Regarding these different aspects of impermanence, getting old and dying, the changing of the weather, etc., Buddhists have a single statement, namely this first seal: phenomena are impermanent because they are compounded. Anything that is assembled will, sooner or later, come apart.

When we say “compounded,” that includes the dimensions of space and time. Time is compounded and therefore impermanent: without the past and future, there is no such thing as the present. If the present moment were permanent, there would be no future, since the present would always be there. Every act you do — let’s say, plant a flower or sing a song — has a beginning, a middle and an end. If, in the singing of a song, the beginning, middle or end were missing, there would be no such thing as singing a song, would there? That means that singing a song is something compounded.

“So what?” we ask. “Why should we bother about that? What’s the big deal? It has a beginning, middle, and end—so what?” It’s not that Buddhists are really worried about beginnings, middles or ends; that’s not the problem. The problem is that when there is composition and impermanence, as there is with temporal and material things, there is uncertainty and pain.

Some people think that Buddhists are pessimistic, always talking about death, impermanence and aging. But that is not necessarily true. Impermanence is a relief! I don’t have a BMW today and it is thanks to the impermanence of that fact that I might have one tomorrow. Without impermanence, I am stuck with the non-possession of a BMW, and I can never have one. I might feel severely depressed today and, thanks to impermanence, I might feel great tomorrow. Impermanence is not necessarily bad news; it depends on the way you understand it. Even if today your BMW gets scratched by a vandal, or your best friend lets you down, if you have a view of impermanence, you won’t be so worried.

Delusion arises when we don’t acknowledge that all compounded things are impermanent. But when we realize this truth, deep down and not just intellectually, that’s what we call liberation: release from this one-pointed, narrow-minded belief in permanence. Everything, whether you like it or not—even the path, the precious Buddhist path—is compounded. It has a beginning, it has a middle and it has an end.

When you understand that “all compounded things are impermanent,” you are prepared to accept the experience of loss. Since everything is impermanent, this is to be expected.

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Your relationship to outer darkness

“Your relationship to outer darkness—how comfortable you are with literal, physical outer darkness—is an indicator of how comfortable you are with inner darkness, the darkness that covers your heart.” —Andrew Holecek

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I encourage people not to express their anger, not to let it out.

I encourage people not to express their anger, not to let it out. Instead, I have people try to understand why they get angry, what causes it and how it arises. When you realize these things, instead of manifesting externally, your anger digests itself. In the West, some people believe that you get rid of your anger by expressing it, that you finish it by letting it out. Actually, in this case what happens is that you leave an imprint in your mind to get angry again.

Lama Thubten Yeshe