On the Path to Enlightenment

Heart Advice from the Great Tibetan Masters

Author : Ricard, Matthieu

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Synopsis

Great Tibetan masters with profound realization and experience of the path have distilled their advice into powerful, seedlike instructions that get to the heart of the matter. In this wonderful anthology, Matthieu Ricard has selected and translated some of the most refreshing and clearest of spiritual advice, drawing from all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Best-selling author Matthieu Ricard was inspired to put together this compilation by a meeting he had with the Tibetan master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who told him, "When one realizes the depth of view of the various schools of Tibetan Buddhism and we see also that they all lead to the same goal without contradicting each other, we see that only ignorance can lead us to adopt a sectarian view." With that in mind, Ricard has gathered pith teachings from the masters of all times and traditions to illuminate the path: the view, meditation, and action.

"They are simply a compilation of the most inspiring texts that I have had the privilege to read over the years. I chose them for their clarity and for the authenticity of their authors." Matthieu Ricard.

"The question is not whether life has a meaning, but how each of us can give it one." The Dalai Lama.

"The best gift that a spiritual teacher can give is to show us the nature of our own mind so that we can recognize it. Generally what is called mind or consciousness seems to be a mass of thoughts related to perceptions, emotions, memories, and imagination. But behind that curtain of thoughts, can we discern the fundamental component of the mind? Can we see the pure awareness of the present moment that underlies all mental activity? What the great meditators that we quote in this anthology have to say will help us to recognize the essential nature of mind and master the thoughts and emotions that, until now, have endlessly followed, one after the other, and kept us in a state of confusion." Matthieu Ricard.

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Advice for Retreat - Dudjom Rinpoche

Until the expression of the qualities of your inner understanding has reached perfection, it is inappropriate to recount your experiences to anyone who is prepared to listen to them, so keep your mouth shut. Furthermore, don’t boast about years or months of retreat but practice earnestly for the duration of your entire human life. Do not belittle the gaining of merit through the cause and effect relationships of relative truth, deceiving yourself with mere words about emptiness.

Village ceremonies, exorcisms, and so on, are just performed to get food, so don’t stay long in populated places. Meaningless activities, unnecessary talk, and unprofitable thoughts should be reduced to a minimum. Don’t fool others by pretense and deceit, which contradict the Dharma. Don’t practice wrong livelihood by making indirect requests and uttering flatteries out of longing for desirable things. Don’t associate with sinful people or with those whose views and actions are not in harmony with yours. Disclose your own defects, and don’t speak of the hidden faults of others....

You should take along the path all connections, good or bad, both with people who hold you in high esteem and treat you well and with people who dislike you and treat you badly, without making any distinction, caring for them with pure prayers. At all times inwardly keep your spirits high, without losing courage, and outwardly, on the path of action, remain humble. Wear worn-out clothes. Consider everyone, good, bad, or in between, as superior to yourself. Live simply and remain determinedly in mountain hermitages. Set your mind on the condition of a beggar.

Follow the example of the lives and perfect liberation of the accomplished beings of the past. Not blaming your past karma, practice Dharma flawlessly. Not blaming circumstances, whatever they may be, remain steadfast. In brief, taking your own mind as witness, dedicate your life to the Dharma. Thus, at the time of death, free of thoughts about things left undone, you will not be ashamed of yourself. That is the vital point of all practices.

When the hour of your death is approaching, give away whatever possessions you have without being attached to even a needle. At the moment of death, the best practitioners will be joyful, middling practitioners will be without apprehension, and ordinary practitioners will feel no regret.

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