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Words of Wisdom

Mindfulness and Selflessness: Selections of Tibetan Buddhism Texts by Mipham Rinpoche (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

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Born in the region of Derge in Eastern Tibet in 1846, Mipham Rinpoche was identified as an extraordinary child. It is said that he fully mastered the extremely difficult Mindrolling system of chanting at the age of 15 or 16, after studying it for only a few days and praying to Manjushri Bodhisattva. Mipham Rinpoche was a prolific writer, with 322 of his Dharma works available to us, as well as more than 35 books on topics ranging from medicine, poetry (in particular the Gesar epics), logic, cosmology, astrology and divination, alchemy, painting, sculpture and engineering. Today, we are pleased to present some of the wise Master’s texts on the training of mindfulness.

“You might wish to drink the nectar of calm abiding, But unless you interrupt the stream of external activity, There’s no way to prevent internal distraction. And you must eradicate this wandering within. Unless you stem the flow of mental distraction, You’ll never arrive at single-pointed concentration. Build a secure dam, therefore, with mindfulness. And apply vigilance whenever you rest for a while.”

“When, therefore, we establish the sentinel of mindfulness, We must eliminate entirely all ideas and imaginings About anything other than the primary object of focus. Then, we must calmly maintain such presence and vigilance, And quash anything that might stir or arise within the mind.”

“And in either case, the mind’s own capacity to know itself is what we call awareness. If you sustain this continuously, you will discover for yourself the key point of how various experiences of joy or sorrow arise from the mind itself and dissolve back into it. As long as you understand this, you’ll recognize that all perceptions are but the manifestations of your own mind. Then, by looking directly into mind’s essence, whether it is still or active, you will understand that even though it manifests in varied ways, it’s empty and lacks any kind of true essence. You will know too that this emptiness is not a blankness like empty space but an emptiness that includes the most sublime of features, since while it is devoid of any true reality, its unceasing clarity still has the capacity to know and be aware of everything.”
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