About Shang Rinpoche

Rinpoche’s spiritual pursuit began at a very young age and has spanned many years, in which he received lineages of all four major Vajrayana Buddhist schools—Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug—from numerous lineage holders and great yogis of our time in India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Rinpoche has acquired all the necessary empowerments, transmissions, and teachings to become a fully qualified Vajrayana master. Furthermore, Rinpoche is a recognized tulku (reincarnate lama), authenticated by eminent lineage holders and distinguished masters of our time.
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2016年1月18日 星期一

Rinpoche's new book : Key to Awareness

Momentary happiness is akin to a wind-borne cherry blossom
which, when held in your palm, brings a brisk sense of delight,
yet quickly withers. It is also akin to a snowflake floating
down from the snow mountain, falling into flames. It is even
more like a silver burst of fireworks which, though splendid,
immediately fades away.

Someone with wisdom behaves differently than the average
person, possessing special insight into the myriad things
of this world, especially in moments of happiness and
complacency, or when treated preferentially. In such moments,
someone possessed of meditative stillness and wisdom will be
even more vigilant of their degree of awareness from moment
to moment. This is because when one has the upper hand,
meditative stillness must be maintained at all times; a task,
however, which is much more difficult than remaining calm
and collected when problems arise as usual, filling the mind
with worry. (an excerpt from Shang Rinpoche's new book)

In 2013, author Shang Rinpoche began writing daily articles online touching on issues related to everyday life. Many of these articles were repeatedly reposted on hundreds of Chinese-language Buddhist websites. This volume is a compilation of the most consequential of these pieces, interspersed with the works of the 20th-century pioneering Asian photojournalist Lang Jingshan.
Shang Rinpoche has been spreading Buddhist teachings for more than 30 years to students in 25 countries. His talented writing and storytelling style pragmatically weaves Buddhism into everyday life, inspiring readers to look for the key to awareness in their own lives.
This book contains advice on:
- facing difficulties in everyday situations
- how to cultivate a positive attitude
- love and relationships
- developing patience
- Buddhist foundational concepts

Now you can buy from Amazon

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9869186084
  • ISBN-13: 978-9869186087

How to Get Along with Yourself

Many people have things to discuss with themselves, but don’t know how.

But please, at least give your mind a chance to settle.

I ask you first to carefully observe your mind. Remember that you are the closest friend you’ve got.
In no way are you your own worst enemy or karmic debtor.

It is time for you to become your own teacher, or the friend who knows you better than anyone else.

Allow yourself to let go of all doubts and all things that bind you inside. Sit down and have a serious talk with yourself.

Set this time aside for you and you alone. Give yourself the space to speak openly with yourself about what is really going on deep down in your heart. Take advantage of this rare moment with yourself.

In truth, much of the time your mind is filled with anger rooted in the unconscious assumption that you have been treated unfairly.

Sometimes your heart is restless and filled with a pervasive fear stemming from your constant worry about being unable to accomplish something that you nonetheless must do.

Much of the time your emotions sway between forgiveness and blame, all the while asking yourself why you could have let something like this happen.

For reasons you can’t quite figure out, you often end up inexplicably in a bad mood over something trivial, perhaps the weather, wondering why nothing ever goes right.

Just one sentence or one action and you become preoccupied or start to think negatively, feeling like despite all that you have given, people still don’t understand you.

Out of the desire to put forth your best and most efficient performance in completing a task or anticipating its next step, you work yourself up until you can’t eat or sleep properly, all because you can’t control and deal with your anxiety.

While everyone left and right is telling you how to do this and that, inside you are grumbling and rejecting everything they say, questioning, in your inflated arrogance, what right these people have to push you around.

Then there are those insatiable desires that spring up, desires to buy a luxury home, diamonds, gold and everything that you have been wanting, even though you know you can’t afford them. Your mind goes through all kinds of turmoil.

The above-mentioned are just a few examples of what it might look like if you give yourself a chance to communicate with yourself. You could easily come up with more things to say and more ways to talk. It’s almost like, since your youth, all of these things have been buzzing around in your head, all of these different voices constantly echoing through your brain. It’s just that nobody has taught you how to communicate with yourself and become as close to your mind as that friend to whom you could tell anything. Without this, many people lack self-esteem and self-respect. They take all of their mental garbage and secrets and stuff it deep inside of their mind, where it sits festering, decaying and reeking until they become sick. How is this worth it?
It’s simple: when you find yourself at home and nobody is around, completely clear your mind. All you need is a space to talk to yourself and you can start to work on this. You can get a pen and a blank Starbucks notepad and chat with yourself on paper. You can go to the beach, set up an umbrella and a chair, and sit there in the shade with your favorite drink chatting with abandon about everything under the sun. Believe me when I say that you can make this a good habit and will like it the more you try it. You will become your own best friend. Gather up your courage and let down your guard. Lay bare the weakest, most damaged, most secret parts of yourself, parts that you won’t show anyone else, and bravely bring them all into the conversation. In the vast and borderless world that exists inside, there is no doubt you can treat yourself with warmth and propriety. In this inner world exists only gentle forgiveness; it is without harm. No one is going to get up in arms over a word. No one is going to pick a fight or judge between right and wrong.
Just give yourself a chance to talk. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even find the real you. Maybe, in a flash of brilliant insight, you’ll discover that this is what your mind looked like all along.

2016年1月6日 星期三

Quote From Shang Rinpoche

True Zen Meditation: Sitting or Not, Always in a State of Inherent Awareness

In the practice of meditation, many find their minds swirling with delusive thoughts at the outset; or perhaps they fall into a dazed or drowsy state, wholly unaware. This is proof that, generally speaking, their ability to cultivate meditative stillness is tentative and their conviction weak. This is also an indication that their practice of right mindfulness has been momentarily lost. Especially when the weather is in flux and, for instance, the warmth of the sun suddenly appears, or the temperature suddenly drops, the mind easily loses concentration and drifts off, becoming drowsy and filling up with delusive thoughts as soon as one begins to meditate. At this time the the power of our inherent awareness is very frail.
Whether we are sitting or walking, it is important to constantly practice using external conditions and sensations for inward reflection. This is to say that it doesn’t matter if your body is in a state of movement or stillness; all along, you have a very clear and pure mind helping to deal with all situations triggered by both body and environment. If the inherent awareness of your inner mind can observe and understand very clearly, this is also a form of correct mindfulness. If you are able to be conscious of every single act, whether static or dynamic, then over time, all of your drowsiness and disorderly thoughts will automatically be perceived the moment they arise. This is yet another kind of enlightened wisdom. So we don’t need to go out of our way to intentionally change any of our trains of thought or afflictions, as it will be ineffective to intentionally enforce any method to counteract afflictions of the body, speech or mind.

An increasing number of people are interested in whether it is possible to reduce or alleviate their delusive thoughts and afflictions by doing yoga, qigong, or meditation, only to become disappointed by the result. This is because they have failed to first establish a sound understanding of true samadhi (meditative stillness) and the correct concepts pertaining to the elimination of afflictions. So what kind of meditative stillness is free from the restrictions (imposed by the methods) of “sitting in meditation,” “practicing Chan” or “walking meditation?” How can one enter into such a state?
Actually, one can simply start from the basics. At all times and in all places, you must be unaffected by any external conditions. To accomplish this point is also a form of right concentration, since you can remain undisturbed by the differentiating mind. In the very beginning when you undertake this practice, it may be impossible to remove your differentiating mind altogether. This would be considered a kind of indefinite differentiating thought. Sometimes, a small number of people might derive certain sensory experiences from this kind of intricate differentiating mind, however it is very easy to misinterpret this state as being the experience of emptiness. If you have a firm understanding of the foundation of Mahayana, gradually with practice, you will feel your mind entering into a more tranquil state of meditative stillness. This kind of understanding is yet even more firm and concrete. A more advanced practitioner is able to constantly maintain a tranquil mind, and he will be able to see with utter clarity the appearance of his mind which has always existed within himself.

After you yourself are able to see clearly the original nature of the mind, this means you would have no need, regardless of the time or place, to resort to any method for transforming the nature of your mind, as you are already abiding in your original nature. If you continue to practice in this way, your delusive and afflictive thoughts will disappear the moment they arise. This is what it means to be certain in your practice of right concentration.

2015年11月12日 星期四

Calisthenics for the Mind

Nowadays, hordes of white collar workers go to the gym, do yoga, engage in weight training, or even undertake triathlons - any method at all to let off steam and relax after work. Some people are able to find temporary focus in exercise. It takes their mind off their worries, and they feel better after a sweat. This is because when you reach a certain level of energy output, your body releases endorphins which, for a short while, can ease your emotions and reduce your troubles. However, when you return to work or get back to reality, all of the discomfort again rears its ugly head — muscle stiffness, tight shoulders, throbbing head and body aches — possibly even accompanied by heart palpitations or tightness in the chest. Your physical symptoms attest to the negative mental energy and emotions which haven’t actually been released because their root causes haven’t been addressed.

There is a saying: “Where you find yourself squeezed is where you set yourself free; where you’ve fallen is where you pick yourself up.” It may seem to many that they’ve taken care of a problem or that a situation has passed, but they still feel fearful and overwhelmed. Whether it’s the environmental crisis, with many doomsday sayers spouting negative beliefs about the earth entering a new Ice Age, or other modern sources of stress like the intense interpersonal competition, suffocating pressure from debt interests, complicated but unavoidable interpersonal relationships, or physical and mental instability. For most people these things will negatively impact their quality of life. Our lives — flooded with news of terrorists, economic crimes, and other negative information — have been so thrown off track that it is now difficult to navigate. Most young people don’t know how to experience positivity or happiness. Tranquility has become an impossible dream. What can we do?

Training in awareness and shutting down the mind’s ego-driven navigation system are the only solutions. Most people lack awareness to the point of not knowing how to deal with what’s happening right in front of them. When difficulties arise, they panic, lose their wits and look for a way to escape. This is not healthy. Some vent to get rid of stress, but this is only a makeshift solution. Therefore, I often suggest that rather than wandering the streets like a blind dog, ownerless and vagrant, it is wiser to aspire to activate your inner potential in the face of hardship. That potential is awareness.
What is awareness? When calamity strikes, imagine yourself as a highly proficient receptionist. Warmly greet it as you would a VIP guest and welcome it into your mind to chat amiably to its heart’s content. When your interaction comes to an end, you can leisurely send it on its way, naturally observe it growing more distant until it disappears, and then be done with it. When the next mental visitor arrives, act in the same unattached manner, greeting it and then seeing it off. No matter how many visitors come in the course of a day, if you can receive them all with a natural, cordial and unassuming attitude, the feeling you’ll get — of being completely free and uninhibited — is beyond words.

I often advise my fellow students to elevate their quality of life to the highest level by adhering to these maxims: “Deal with it when it comes; once it leaves, let it go,” and “merge with the situation, with your mind completely undisturbed.” Apply this in a natural and unrestrained way in every aspect of your life until it becomes your anchor, and your mind will be healthy, strong, and beautiful. Please also remember that, in the face of a radical and unexpected change unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before, there is no need to be afraid. It is as if, while driving, the car in front of you stops abruptly: you get a scare and slam on the brakes. At such a critical moment, your heart will be pounding, but in a matter of minutes it’s as if nothing has happened. Therefore, don’t fret. The Buddha in your life will never give up on you, will not let you fall, and is forever guiding you down the bright and proper path. The key point is to regard all of your difficulties as a sort of training, as if you were going to the gym for regular exercise, which will improve your mental and physical health and fill you with energy.

2015年11月6日 星期五

Highs and Lows

Have you ever been on a rollercoaster or a ferris wheel? You find yourself quickly moving from peaks to dips. On a roller coaster, the experience is so abrupt you get the sensation of your heart jumping out of your chest. The same feeling comes with riding a ferris wheel: you find yourself making a complete circle from the highest to lowest point. I often suggest to students who have lost confidence and find themselves in difficult times to try one of these rides.
Life is actually quite similar to riding a roller coaster or a ferris wheel: the ride is brief and filled with highs and lows. This comparison may be difficult to grasp right now because we are so attached to the eight winds (eight worldly concerns). We still have expectations, hopes, goals and dear ones who influence our decisions, for better or for worse. At times it may seem to you that life is quite long, that it drags on. But as soon as your understanding of this comparison deepens, you will see that life has two main characteristics: it is cyclical and has its highs and lows.
Only a lion can be the king of the forest. Apart from their powerful and ferocious appearance, they only attack after careful and serious deliberation. Ordinary people are pulled along by their karma, but for those with a high level of practice and self-cultivation, any temperament can be overcome. You must have a courageous spirit and the absolute resolution of a soldier in battle; only then, regardless of worldly or spiritual matters, will you not be restrained by your destiny. Your mind is the master of your destiny: it is the ruler. When the mind is settled there is peace in the kingdom, peace in society, peace in the family.
Victory is only decided in the last moment. If Shakyamuni had relented to the demon Mara in those final moments under the bodhi tree, there could have been no attaining of Buddhahood. Success and failure are common things in this world. Just like the path of the ferris wheel, if you never reach the lowest point, how can you attain the highest?