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quotes from books I'm reading

heart of the buddhas teachings

time and space

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Lao Tzu

time is useful for understanding impermanence

space is useful for understanding non self


turning confusion into clarity

We do not practice to become enlightened; we practice in order to recognize we are already enlightened.

Geshe Ben had explained that he caught himself cleaning purely for self-centered reasons.

All he wanted to do was create a good impression of himself, so he threw dirt around the room to clean out the smell of fake holiness.

Awareness exists whether we are happy or sad, calm or anxious. It does not increase or decrease. We don’t attain awareness; rather we learn to recognize it, and this recognition awakens the enlightened nature of mind.

The Three Stages of Meditating on Emptiness

  • emptiness links insight with shamatha logically or by experiencing
  • intellectual deduction
  • Direct realization defines the third stage of emptiness meditation.

Natural and unnatural suffering - Mingyur Rinpoche

We speak of natural and self-created suffering.

Death is the most obvious example of natural suffering…. The Buddha called birth, sickness, old age, and death the four rivers of natural suffering, predictable and certain.

But fear of death or fear of pain is self-created suffering. We actually do this to ourselves.

If we examine the nature of this arbitrary, unnecessary experience of suffering, and if we truly recognize how insubstantial it is, then we can begin to let go of it…

most used words in this book

  • mind 393
  • practice 252
  • beings 170

Vajra speech Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

There are two types of ignorance: coemergent and conceptual ignorance.

In the moment after seeing our essence, it almost immediately slips away. We get distracted and we start to think of something. Coemergent ignorance is simply to forget. Conceptual ignorance comes in the moment after forgetting, forming thought after thought.

As one thought follows after another, a long train of thoughts can develop. Forgetting and thinking·- that is the twofold ignorance, coemergent ignorance and conceptual ignorance. If these two were purified, we would be buddhas. But as long as the coemergent and conceptual aspects of ignorance are not purified, we are sentient beings.


Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

as it is vol 1

Thought in Tibetan is called namtok. “Nam” means the object, what is thought of. “Tok” means to make ideas and concepts about those objects. Namtok is something that mind churns out incessantly, day and night.

as it is vol 2

A buddha is someone who recognizes the essence itself, and is awakened through that. A sentient being is someone who doesn’t, and who is confused by his or her own thinking. Someone who has failed to recognize the essence of mind is called a sentient being. Realizing the nature itself and becoming stable in that realization is called a buddha.

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vajra heart heart revisited



wisdom of tibetan buddhism pocket book

WHAT ARE PHENOMENA EMPTY OF? —His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama”

When we speak of a phenomenon as being empty, we are referring to its being empty of its own inherent existence. . . . Rather, this is an emptiness of an object of negation [inherent existence], which from beginningless time has never been known validly to exist.

Always scrutinize your own shortcomings. Ignore the faults of other people. Keep this attitude: “Whether they are pure or impure, it is none of my business!” Be your own teacher; keep a strict check on yourself. That is sufficient!

zen flesh zen bones



zen mind beginners mind



path of insight meditation pocket book

It begins with a training of awareness and a process of inquiry in ourselves. From this point of view, asking, “What is meditation?” is really the same as asking, “What is the mind?” or “Who am I?” or “What does it mean to be alive, to be free?”—questions about the fundamental nature of life and death. We must answer these questions in our own experience, through a discovery in ourselves. This is the heart of meditation.

this practice is a systematic development and opening of awareness called by the Buddha the four foundations of mindfulness: awareness of the body, awareness of feelings, awareness of mental phenomena, and awareness of truths, of the laws of experience

though our minds may be complicated, beauty is not. we don't have to strive to make beauty in our lives, or look far to find it. when the mind is still, we can see a magnificence in even the most ordinary things--the vividness of a sunset, the warmth of a smile, the simplicity of serving a cup of tea. we can see new life and growth. each thing is different from all others, each moment is unique

insight meditation retreat kit



heart of the great perfection



open mind