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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2014年5月21日 星期三

New Book! Thrive and blossom in the abyss of pain. Smile!

A new collection of Shang Rinpoche’s teachings in English and Chinese. Beautifully presented with great photos and professionally bound to last. Published in Taiwan by the Bhagavan Publishing house.

We will have copies with is in Melbourne for those who are interested.

Bid Farewell to the Past

I reckon most people are not happy with their life story so far. Everyone is at the mercy of their karma which is the underlying cause of many undesired and unexpected events in the past. Now that they are older and more mature, they lament when looking back and are struck by a sense of melancholy. They might even subject themselves to an emotional rollercoaster which could, in turn, have an impact on their behaviour and productivity. In this manner, many waste away their life on these inane afflictions unable to throw off the layers of self-imposed mental shackles.

There are two individuals standing on the terrace, one person habitually looks down and observes that many toil for a living in the scorching heat, drenched in sweat. He is affected by the sight and could feel their pressure and helplessness. Another person looks up to the sky, the glittering night-sky fills him with infinite hope and abounding joy. Chronic discontentment and persistent afflictions will eventually lead to dejection and depression. You could defy afflictions if you know how to curb desire (the cause). At the same time, try not to be bound within the chalk-line circle--if you refuse to take the first step, you will never be able to take strides into the future. Whether you are a big tree or just a blade of grass, you need to carry on with life. Hence, letting go and stop lingering in the past is the best gift to yourself. Instead, take heart and stay buoyant in every moment.

From this moment on, I will press ahead towards my goal regardless of adverse circumstances.
From this moment on, I will never be bound by emotions and melancholia.
From this moment on, I will cherish and see every moment as my wealth.
From this moment on, I will continuously uphold the correct mindset and views.
From this moment on, I will try to be amiable and personable.
From this moment on, I will strive to share my best attributes with all.
From this moment on, I will keep reminding myself that I will certainly attain what others have achieved.
From this moment on, I will exercise prudence and joyfully in conducting every practical matter

We could certainly give ourselves unlimited number of these “moments” but it is important to bear in mind that the best gift is the conviction that our future is infinitely hopeful and magnificent. 

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

Learning to Bow to Our Habits

Please keep in mind this maxim from past sages: “Pride comes before failures, and a frenzied mind leads to falls.” Countless afflictions are accumulating mainly because we are unable to observe inwardly and inspect our habits thoroughly, and knowing so little about ourselves results in our repeated falls in the journey of life. Another reason is that we cannot face our ignorance and foolishness with humility; we are overly self-conceited and lack modesty and, gradually, we become increasingly blinded and perplexed by our own habits.

An unwise person goes out of their way to seek the attention, understanding, appreciation, praise and approval of others; on the contrary, a wise person is always modestly observing himself inwardly, looking for self-discovery and seeking self-realization. A humble person is deferential and has, therefore, much fewer afflictions than those who are driven by selfish agendas, always finding faults in others. The latter also consider themselves the victims being burdened with any pressure and setbacks that might arise. In fact, no one can bring you afflictions but yourself. Take a look around — those proud, self-conceited, and self-righteous individuals, are any of them totally at ease and truly happy? It is inevitable that what goes up must come down at some point.

Westminster Abbey in the United Kingdom is one of my favorite buildings and has been playing host to almost all royal weddings and funerals. It is also the burial place for quite a few British monarchs. The reigning monarchs were the most notable figures in their time and exerted strong political influence, but where are they now? Taking a look back at the life of the monarchs in history, they squeezed the blood out of their people and plundered their wealth for the most part. Their thrones are built from the blood and skulls or their people. Evident from history, their hands became tainted with blood in reinforcing their sovereignty. Therefore, the monarchs all bear heavy karma and now they lie in a cold church with no one to come and pay respects. Where is their soul? Are they really resting in peace? 

It reminds me of the great achieved practitioner Langli Dangba, who lived 800 years ago. The way he practiced was different from others and none understood why he did so. He gave up his wealth and lived alone in retreat, fasting constantly. Unlike other practitioners in retreat, he suffered greatly every day. Those who visited him knew that there was not a second when his face was not twisted in terrible pain. He unceasingly wept for the bad karma of all sentient beings. Before he attained enlightenment, he kept on in this way to atone for the crimes of all sentient beings, repenting and dedicating merits to them. This was not unlike the Venerable Patrul Rinpoche, who recalled that he was a prostitute in India in one of his previous lives. Once she spent all her savings on a golden bracelet and, with all modesty, deference, and not the slightest trace of selfishness, offered it to a practitioner. Patrul Rinpoche said that ever since, from life to life, he has never been foolish. He eventually became a great pandita to benefit sentient beings. Is this not completely different from those who would use any means to pursue power, lust, fame and dignity, regardless of the harm they cause to others?

The most venerable person is not the one wearing a diamond crown atop a golden throne; success is not defined by how much applause and praise one garners. The noblest of human qualities does not lie just in a modest appearance, ample generosity and dignified discipline; better than these qualities is the person who understands clearly how to bow to their attachments selflessly and humbly. This symbolizes that this person is already far detached from them. When an object is grasped in the palm of your hand and all of your attention is fixed on it, all you possess is a mere object. If you cannot release your grip, you lose your chance to attain enlightenment. If the mind is settled upon or attached to something, one’s enlightenment can only reach a certain threshold.

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

2014年5月11日 星期日

How to cope when the going gets tough?

From childhood into old age, success and struggle are our lifelong companions. However, when things are going well, we hardly give it a second thought and then when difficulties set in, even the courageous might have their spirit dampened. Therefore, we need to invert the conventional notion of success and failure: success comes about by chance whereas failure happens naturally. If you look at predicaments with this kind of mindset, you will not be encumbered by the feelings of success or failure, right or wrong. As a way to repay his mother’s kindness, Chan Master Empty Cloud took a pilgrimage where he knelt down after every three steps and prostrated flat on the ground on every tenth step. He went through countless ordeals and life-threatening situations, and eventually his steadfast dedication moved the Bodhisattva Manjushri who came to his aid in the form of an old man. Empty Cloud lived through the reign of five emperors in four dynasties. In his quest to protect the Buddhist teachings, he remained fearless in the face of all obstacles even when his life was at stake; in this way his legacy has influenced innumerable Buddhist followers. If the Tibetan yogi Milarepa had given up building the four different towers as commanded by his guru Marpa, the golden lineage of the white (Kagyu) school could not have been passed down to this day. When Cangjie, the legendary scribe of the Yellow Emperor, was creating the Chinese characters, he would at times study the patterns on a turtle shell, at others observe the constellations in the sky, sometimes watch plants and creatures, etc. He was completely absorbed in the task day after day, night after night to the extent of nearly forgetting to eat or sleep. Cangjie encountered numerous setbacks and frustrations, but his perseverance finally paid off and he created the Chinese characters. As a result, we stopped using knots on ropes as a means of keeping records. Amongst religious figures of recent times, I first and foremost admire the good old gal Mother Teresa. She was known for her unconventional style, and yet she spared no effort to help the poor and unfortunate. Despite the extraordinary mutual respect between Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa, the latter often defied tradition in holding firm her convictions which I find highly admirable.

If people are to break out of their predicaments and surmount all difficulties, the only way is to do so to treat each of these opportunities as if it were the last. One must fight as if one’s life were on the line, mustering all of the determination and daring that one has, along with the supreme will to act in order to ensure success. Back in the 1930’s, the founder of the Hilton Hotel chain found himself nearly destitute, pursued daily by creditors, yet due to the encouragement of a single photograph, and through over a decade of hard work, he finally became the figurehead of the hotel industry. The journey of life must sometimes be regarded as a path of no return, along which your sole possession is a one-way ticket. The difference between success and failure lies solely in your determination and courage. The key to the success of all great people is that they care about only one thing, which is, “When will my day come?” The reason that ordinary people depend entirely on others throughout their whole lives is that they cannot envision the future, are content to just get by, and recoil when they encounter adversities. The successful person keeps their eye forever on the clear, azure sky. Those who succumb easily to failure live as if blindfolded, always in a state of darkness. So, the critical juncture in creating success is to take difficulties as if they didn’t even exist.

From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche

2014年5月1日 星期四

Just Believe!

A young Master Xuanzang set out a long journey from Chang’an, travelling through endless tortuous terrains and came face-to-face with death on numerous accounts. Once, on passing through the desert, he was on the brink of death after prolonged exposure to the scorching sun. The moment right before Master Xuanzang lost consciousness, he still had the inner conviction that he would not die, that he would certainly make it to the Nalanda Buddhist University and complete his pilgrimage. His unwavering faith and perseverance moved Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara whose blessings brought him back to life. 

“Faith” and “conviction” are the hidden powerhouses with which every human is born. According to self-suggestion theories, self-conviction is the most important key in activating and unleashing an ineffable and inexhaustible force within a person. 

As the saying goes, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” Therefore, the key when undertaking any task is to keep reaffirming deep in your subconscious that "you can do it." A self-assured person will be the first to reach their goal; someone with 100% resolution will certainly complete the home stretch in life’s journey to reach their final destination. 

“Oklahoma” was adapted from a real-life love story in the 40’s about a couple whose tenacity and faith saw them through and earned everyone’s blessings. Even though we should be wary of being undermined by expectations, we should hope to accomplish all our goals much like praying under life’s wish-fulfilling tree. An unmotivated person will dodge and run even when no one is chasing. On the other hand, a confident person is much like the lion king whose roar can bring life to the woods making the vegetation lush and green. So, stop hesitating, believe in yourself, shake off all anxiety and fear, stop procrastinating, lock in the target and take action immediately. Waiting and hesitating are the stumbling blocks to the road of success. These words do not exist in the handbook of a successful person: “take it slow”, “in the future”, “wait and see”, “let me have a think”, or “maybe in the future”. Their vitality stems from their conviction that if they can take immediate action, success will be guaranteed.

form Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche