Saturday, December 22, 2012

Herein is contained the Root Verses of the Six Intermediate States.

Alas, now as the intermediate state of living arises before me,
Renouncing laziness, for which there is no time in this life,
I must enter the undistracted path of study, reflection, and meditation.
Taking perceptual experience and the nature of mind as the path,
I must cultivate actualization of the three buddha-bodies.

Now, having obtained a precious human body, this one time, 
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

Alas, now as the intermediate state of dreams arises before me,

Renouncing the corpse-like, insensitive sleep of delusion,
I must enter, free from distracting memories, the state of the abiding nature of reality.
Cultivating the experience of inner radiance,
Through the recognition, emanation, and transformation of dreams,
I must not sleep like a beast,
But cherish the experiential cultivation which mingles sleep with actual realization.

Alas, now as the intermediate state of meditative concentration arises before me,
Renouncing the mass of distractions and confusions,
I must undistractedly enter a state,
Which is devoid of subjective apprehension, and free from the two extremes,
And attain stability in the stages of generation and perfection.
At this moment, having renounced activity, 

And having attained a singular concentration,
I must not fall under the sway of bewildering mental afflictions!

Alas, now as the intermediate state of the time of death arises before me, 
Renouncing all attachment, yearning, and subjective apprehension in every respect,
I must undistractedly enter the path, on which the oral teachings are clearly understood,
And eject my own awareness into the uncreated expanse of space.
Immediately upon separation from this compounded body of flesh and blood,
I must know this body to be like a transient illusion.

Alas, now as the intermediate state of reality arises before me
Renouncing the merest sense of awe, terror, or fear,
I must recognize all that arises to be awareness, manifesting naturally of itself.
Knowing such sounds, lights, and rays to be visionary phenomena of the intermediate state,
At this moment, having reached this critical point,
I must not fear the assembly of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, which manifest naturally!

Alas, now when the intermediate state of rebirth arises before me,
I must with one-pointed intention concentrate my mind,
And resolutely connect with the residual potency of my virtuous past actions.

I must obstruct the womb entrance and call to mind the methods of reversal.
This is the time when perseverance and purity of perception are imperative.
I must give up all jealousy and meditate on my spiritual teacher with consort.

This completes the Root Verses of the Six Intermediate States

Excerpted from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Penguin Classics

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cause and Effect

"It is very important to contemplate the connection between our mental states and our actions... Our mind has the potential to transport us to elevated states of existence or to plunge us into demeaning states of confusion and anguish. Our actions are not like footprints left on water; they leave imprints in our minds... As the thirteenth Karmapa, Dudul Dorje (1733-97) states:
In the empty dwelling place of confusion,
Desire is unchanging, marked on the mind
Like an etching on rock.
 "...We have to ask ourselves why we experience so much pain, while our pleasures are so ephemeral and transient. The answer is that these are the karmic fruits of our negative actions.

"...This cycle of cause and effect continues relentlessly, unless we embark on a virtuous spiritual path and learn to reverse this process by performing wholesome actions. It is our intentions that determine whether an action is wholesome or unwholesome, and therefore it is our intentions that will dictate the quality of our future experiences ...think of karmic cause and effect in the following terms:

"My current suffering is due to the negative actions, attitudes, thoughts, and emotions I performed in the past, and whatever I think, say, and do now will determine what I experience and become in the future. So from now on, I will contemplate the truth of karma, and pursue my spiritual practices with enthusiasm and positive intentions."

- Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of LoJong

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Dissatisfactory Nature of "Cycling"

"This contemplation is not trying to suggest that life is dissatisfactory in itself; it is simply highlighting the truth that we'll never find any real purpose or meaning in worldly pursuits.  Due to the misguided nature of our efforts, much of what we do to bring meaning to our lives only leads to further frustration, pain, and disappointment so that we simply go around in circles repeating the same mistakes... 

"...We should never be in any doubt that the fulfillment of our temporary needs is quite different from the fulfillment of our more profound needs.  If we don't recognize this distinction, we will constantly be frustrated by searching for illusory satisfactions that are intrinsically incapable of delivering such fulfillment.  This is traditionally compared to trying to extract oil from sand...

"...Our sensory experiences create distractions that we respond to with attraction, aversion, or indifference.  When we desire something, we become entangled in our senses, and if we feel aversion, we generate disgust or indifference.  These responses give rise to conflicting emotions and ensure that we never have any real sense of joy and peace.  The... contemplation reminds us of the futility of trying to gain what we really want from things that were never meant to provide it..."
- Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of LoJong

Monday, December 28, 2009


"This precious human body is hard to attain and easily lost."

..."Developing a sense of urgency about our existential predicament will quell our complacency and challenge our tendency to keep deferring our spiritual practice.  As Jamgon Kongtrul states in his autobiography:

...Helplessness and impermanence
have become my teachers, encouraging me to take heed.

..."reflect on what is worth pursuing and what we should eliminate from our lives.  Too often we fail to prioritize our lives, ignoring what transforms our negative emotions into positive ones and energetically pursuing those deluded seductions that make us feel miserable and undermined.  Conditioned existence is ephemeral and transient, offering us no real sense of comfort or security, so unless we do something about our spiritual enrichment now, we'll only experience further suffering and misfortune.

"It is not only our own mortality that we need to contemplate: everything is subject to change and temporality.  We think that objects such as mountains are so solid, immobile, and immutable, but even they are changing.  Geologists say that the Himalayas are continuously growing as the earth's continental plates shift.  The lojong teachings recommend we examine our physical environment and see for ourselves that nothing remains the same for even an instant."

- Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Precious Human Body

"This precious human birth, free and well-favored, is hard to obtain and easily lost.  At this time, I must make this meaningful."

"Ordinarily we take our human body for granted, allowing the negativities in our lives to overwhelm us.  Our all-consuming preoccupations mostly consist of worrying about life's many minor irritations without ever thinking how fortunate we are just to have a body that functions...

"One of our biggest faults is the tendency to overlook the things that are important to us while we still have them...

"By appreciating our precious human body, we can transform it into a spiritual vehicle of unconditional meaning and joy..."

- Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"Now, one issue is that there are times when you simply cannot rest in the nature of your mind. Therefore, it is good to understand that there are many supplementary practices that will facilitate, enhance, and therefore make easier, the practice of mahamudra..All of these supplementary practices...Ngöndro...Yidam Meditation....Guru Yoga...Lojong....Six Perfections...Dedication of Merit...exist for one reason. They exist in order to assist the achievement of mahamudra realization."
- Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche