The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying Quotes

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The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
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“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our "biography," our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?

Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn't that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don´t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home.

Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature. Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation. Let peace work on you and enable you to gather your scattered mind into the mindfulness of Calm Abiding, and awaken in you the awareness and insight of Clear Seeing. And you will find all your negativity disarmed, your aggression dissolved, and your confusion evaporating slowly like mist into the vast and stainless sky of your absolute nature.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Devote the mind to confusion and we know only too well, if we´re honest, that it will become a dark master of confusion, adept in its addictions, subtle and perversely supple in its slaveries. Devote it in meditation to the task of freeing itself from illusion, and we will find that, with time, patience, discipline, and the right training, our mind will begin to unknot itself and know its essential bliss and clarity.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Real devotion is an unbroken receptivity to the truth. Real devotion is rooted in an awed and reverent gratitude, but one that is lucid, grounded, and intelligent.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“The essence of meditation practice in Dzogchen is encapsulated by these four points:
▪ When one past thought has ceased and a future thought has not yet risen, in that gap, in between, isn’t there a consciousness of the present moment; fresh, virgin, unaltered by even a hair’s breadth of a concept, a luminous, naked awareness?
Well, that is what Rigpa is!
▪ Yet it doesn’t stay in that state forever, because another thought suddenly arises, doesn’t it?
This is the self-radiance of that Rigpa.
▪ However, if you do not recognize this thought for what it really is, the very instant it arises, then it will turn into just another ordinary thought, as before. This is called the “chain of delusion,” and is the root of samsara.
▪ If you are able to recognize the true nature of the thought as soon as it arises, and leave it alone without any follow-up, then whatever thoughts arise all automatically dissolve back into the vast expanse of Rigpa and are liberated.
Clearly this takes a lifetime of practice to understand and realize the full richness and majesty of these four profound yet simple points, and here I can only give you a taste of the vastness of what is meditation in Dzogchen.

Dzogchen meditation is subtly powerful in dealing with the arisings of the mind, and has a unique perspective on them. All the risings are seen in their true nature, not as separate from Rigpa, and not as antagonistic to it, but actually as none other–and this is very important–than its “self-radiance,” the manifestation of its very energy.
Say you find yourself in a deep state of stillness; often it does not last very long and a thought or a movement always arises, like a wave in the ocean.  Don’t reject the movement or particulary embrace the stillness, but continue the flow of your pure presence. The pervasive, peaceful state of your meditation is the Rigpa itself, and all risings are none other than this Rigpa’s self-radiance. This is the heart and the basis of Dzogchen practice. One way to imagine this is as if you were riding on the sun’s rays back to the sun: ….
Of couse there are rough as well as gentle waves in the ocean; strong emotions come, like anger, desire, jealousy. The real practitioner recognizes them not as a disturbance or obstacle, but as a great opportunity. The fact that you react to arisings such as these with habitual tendencies of attachment and aversion is a sign not only that you are distracted, but also that you do not have the recognition and have lost the ground of Rigpa. To react to emotions in this way empowers them and binds us even tighter in the chains of delusion. The great secret of Dzogchen is to see right through them as soon as they arise, to what they really are: the vivid and electric manifestation of the energy of Rigpa itself. As you gradually learn to do this, even the most turbulent emotions fail to seize hold of you and dissolve, as wild waves rise and rear and sink back into the calm of the ocean.
The practitioner discovers–and this is a revolutionary insight, whose subtlety and power cannot be overestimated–that not only do violent emotions not necessarily sweep you away and drag you back into the whirlpools of your own neuroses, they can actually be used to deepen, embolden, invigorate, and strengthen the Rigpa. The tempestuous energy becomes raw food of the awakened energy of Rigpa. The stronger and more flaming the emotion, the more Rigpa is strengthened.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Planning for the future is like going fishing in a dry gulch; Nothing ever works out as you wanted, so give up all your schemes and ambitions. If you have got to think about something— Make it the uncertainty of the hour of your death . .”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Don’t let us take doubts with exaggerated seriousness nor let them grow out of proportion, or become black-and-white or fanatical about them. What we need to learn is how slowly to change our culturally conditioned and passionate involvement with doubt into a free, humorous, and compassionate one. This means giving doubts time, and giving ourselves time to find answers to our questions that are not merely intellectual or “philosophical,” but living and real and genuine and workable. Doubts cannot resolve themselves immediately; but if we are patient a space can be created within us, in which doubts can be carefully and objectively examined, unraveled, dissolved, and healed. What we lack, especially in this culture, is the right undistracted and richly spacious environment of the mind, which can only be created through sustained meditation practice, and in which insights can be given the change slowly to mature and ripen. 129-130”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition; if you want to know your future life, look at your present actions.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“how hollow and futile life can be when it's founded on a false belief in continuity and permanence.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“We may idealize freedom, but when it comes to our habits, we are completely enslaved.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Don’t worry about anything. Even if you find your attention wandering, there is no particular ‘thing’ you have to hold onto. Just let go, and drift in the awareness of the blessing. Don’t let small, niggling questions distract”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“How often attachment is mistaken for love! Even when the relationship is a good one, love is spoiled by attachment, with its insecurity, possessiveness, and pride; and then when love is gone, all you have left to show for it are the “souvenirs” of love, the scars of attachment.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“William Blake:   He who binds to himself a Joy, Does the winged life destroy; He who kisses the Joy as it flies, Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“What is born will die, What has been gathered will be dispersed, What has been accumulated will be exhausted, What has been built up will collapse, And what has been high will be brought low.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“...learn not to overstretch ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations, but to simplify our lives more and more. The key to finding a happy balance in modern lives is simplicity.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present. CHUANG TZU”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“As Stephen Levine says: “When your fear touches someone’s pain it becomes pity; when your love touches someone’s pain, it becomes compassion.”4”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“As a Buddhist, I view death as a normal process, a reality that I accept will occur as long as I remain in this earthly existence. Knowing that I cannot escape it, I see no point in worrying about it. I tend to think of death as being like changing your clothes when they are old and worn out, rather than as some final end. Yet death is unpredictable: We do not know when or how it will take place. So it is only sensible to take certain precautions before it actually happens.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Spiritual truth is not something elaborate and esoteric, it is in fact profound common sense. When you realize the nature of mind, layers of confusion peel away. You don’t actually “become” a buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to be deluded. And being a buddha is not being some omnipotent spiritual superman, but becoming at last a true human being.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Knowing that I cannot escape it, I see no point in worrying about”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Death is a mirror in which the entire meaning of life is reflected.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“The secret is not to “think” about thoughts, but to allow them to flow through the mind, while keeping your mind free of afterthoughts.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Do not mistake understanding for realization, and do not mistake realization for liberation.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“As long as you cultivate stillness, you may enjoy peace, but whenever your mind is a little bit disturbed, deluded thoughts will set in again.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“There is only one law in the universe that never changes-- that all things change, and that all things are impermanent.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“So one moment you have lost something precious, and then, in the very next moment, you find your mind is resting in a deep state of peace.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Whatever you find yourself thinking, let that thought rise and settle, without any constraint. Don’t grasp at it, feed it, or indulge it; don’t cling to it and don’t try to solidify it. Neither follow thoughts nor invite them; be like the ocean looking at its own waves, or the sky gazing down on the clouds that pass through it.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“Patrul Rinpoche tells the story of an old frog who had lived all his life in a dank well. One day a frog from the sea paid him a visit. “Where do you come from?” asked the frog in the well. “From the great ocean,” he replied. “How big is your ocean?” “It’s gigantic.” “You mean about a quarter of the size of my well here?” “Bigger.” “Bigger? You mean half as big?” “No, even bigger.” “Is it . . . as big as this well?” “There’s no comparison.” “That’s impossible! I’ve got to see this for myself.” They set off together. When the frog from the well saw the ocean, it was such a shock that his head just exploded into pieces.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

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