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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One day, Confucius stood at the shore of the ocean filled with disappointment. Gazing at the incessant ebb and flow of the rushing waves, he sighed, “Oh! This water rushes back and forth with such speed, and it does so day and night, it comes and goes in never-ending motion.” Confucius might have been referring to his current dejected state, with no opportunity to apply his wisdom, not having met with anyone who could appreciate his talents, and thus expressing his melancholy. But for a practitioner who knows how to cherish and not waste a single moment, there is a deep sense of unease witnessing such callous passage of time!
I certainly often feel that there are not enough hours in the day, and so on a day-to-day basis, I work around the clock on a variety of matters, and this is not at all because I don’t like to rest, but rather because I treasure my time, and won’t allow it to be carelessly squandered. I also frequently tell others that they must constantly reflect upon their own self-nature, to find their ego. Do not allow a single instant or even in the space between instants to escape you. Many people feel that to relax and space out, to lose themselves in diversions is helpful in finding temporary release from suffering, but once the flights of fancy have passed, yet another delusive thought will arise and the suffering continues to persist. So it must be understood that everything comes from the mind, all things come from our consciousness, and seeing as the master of all things is one’s own mind, then why not guard well the thoughts of one’s original mind? Human life is bitterly short, transient as the morning dew in autumn, fleeting as the bubbles floating upon the rolling waves. The best way to love and cherish yourself, and to avoid wasting your time and your life, is to start immediately to get along really well with this very moment in your life.
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche
Many people pay no heed to the vile thoughts and opinions arising in their minds, those ideas that are not beneficial to others, random utterances, lies, tales that incite quarrels, self-proclaimed eloquence or the use of their authority in the exploitation of others, arbitrarily hurting others' bodies or destroying lives at will. They fail to realize that these words and deeds are like a tiny spark which can ignite a pile of straw, quickly engulfing everything in flames. We need to bear in mind that all calamities are caused by these seemingly insignificant malicious deeds. At all costs, we should never let our guard down and indulge in them, no matter how petty they may seem.
Contemplate regularly on the fact that even great beings such as the Buddha must eventually enter nirvana, and so how can any exemption be granted to historical figures, no matter how splendid or awesome their achievements may have been? Those superstars who once had numerous adoring fans, where are they now? Those billionaires whose wealth surpasses any formulas to calculate it, which one of them has absolute control of their profits? Consequently, it is of paramount importance that we fear death, and at all times seek to experience impermanence. It is necessary to know that life is much like a clay teapot which is filled with water before it has been fired in the kiln (it is moldable). Do not be attached or cling tightly to so-called fame and riches, for they are like the silken fibers of the cotton tree seeds along the roadside: once picked up by the wind, these things will vanish without a trace.
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche
People frequently ask me this question, "What exactly is the condition of our mind?" If the person asking has no standing spiritual discipline, or has never taken classes on mind training and is forever running themselves ragged dealing with mundane issues, then I have little context to provide a clear and well defined answer. Perhaps I could try to describe ways of relieving the mind. Asking me the shape of the mind is like asking what exactly is beyond the sky above that holds it up. If you truly want to see the shape of your mind then you must do your best to eliminate all differentiation between yourself and others. More importantly, do not let your mind be influenced by any external circumstances, whether that be from people, objects or situations. The most important thing in desiring to take steps towards recognizing your mind’s true nature is to cease drawing from any source of power, forego all methods and techniques and forego as well any reliance on a particular teaching that could alter your mind. Allow things to happen very naturally, as if you were simply watching a stage play or listening to a song. Let all things happen naturally. In this way, perhaps in the future, the chance will come for you to completely break free from the shackles of the mind. When the time comes, maybe you will stand a chance to reach liberation.
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche
It is because of our karma that we are brought into this world, this Earth. You encounter all the things you like and dislike, and whether you are happy or unhappy, you are already here to stay. Everything you come into contact with comes from innumerable kalpas of past lifetimes all the way up to your previous lifetime. Consequently you enter your mother’s womb and from there enter the world, thus beginning a new life.
Many exasperated people tell me all the different ways that their lives are unhappy and sad, and that because of these things they constantly have problems with their health and career. I often tell these students, “You are already in this world and regardless of whether you come across joy, sorrow, happiness or tragedy, you need to remember that all of these are just experiences in life. You don’t need to take them so seriously. If you think back carefully, the good and the bad leave with the passage of time. What remains with you are only memories, which constitute the experience of life. What’s important is that from these experiences you gain wisdom and even enlightenment so that you will not have wasted your life. Everything else can just be regarded as passing scenery. As time goes by, all those images will fade away.
If you’re a hard working student during this fleeting life, you should go a step further and often ask yourself if you know your ego. From constantly going back and forth between asking and answering this question, you will slowly get to know yourself, especially the attributes of your ego. As its status and position become more transparent to you, this indicates that your self attachment to the ego is becoming blurred and disappearing. At the same time your ego will meld with the authentic self, at which point you will find the answers to all of the doubts and uncertainties you ever had about birth, old age, sickness and death.
Form Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche
There was an author who once said that they most enjoyed watching people diligently absorbed in their work. They called it "the most beautiful act in the world." The most captivating stories about the great figures of history revolve around their relentless diligence and the wonderful achievements they accomplished through this persistent drive. Rome becoming an archetype of all the world's civilizations sprung from the actions of its emperor, who though he sat on the throne, would never forget to descend and cultivate the fields every day with his own hands. It was because of this that Rome became the most modern city on the European continent during the time. I have read many of Lord Byron's works. There is one that moved me more than any of the others. Out of praise and admiration for Genghis Khan, Byron poured all of his energy and wisdom into writing 100 drafts of his biography before he finally came upon a version with which he could be satisfied. It is no wonder that he became one of the most famous poets in the world. There is a Buddhist practitioner I knew personally who, for his entire life, did nothing but full-body prostrations. Before he passed away, he had completed 108 sets of the 4 preliminary practices (ngondro), in particular the prostrations. After his cremation, clear images of Buddhas were unexpectedly found on his skull. Michelangelo's greatness stemmed from his insistence on exerting himself for many hours each day in his work, even into his old age and despite his deteriorating physical condition. These examples go to show that a person's success can be measured by how they unceasingly strive to make good use of their life.
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche
We feel happy, we feel sad, we laugh, we weep, we experience the spectrum of emotions, all love and hate, and as such we know that this is the power of life. We age, we get sick, we go from having a great mane of hair to being as bald as the treeless hills, our sturdy teeth come loose and fall out, to be replaced by dental implants. We go from young skin which is tender and smooth to aged skin like the peel of a dried orange. We go from the friskiness of youth to the immobility of old-age, and finally watch on as our life comes to an end. The samsaric cycle of death and rebirth is fair, the rules are the same for both prince and pauper. You are unable to win the favor of the grim reaper, or to plead with Yama, king of the underworld. When on death’s doorstep, there is no turning back.
We all have the same life, the same breath, and yet why are the souls of some so noble, while the souls of others are terribly pathetic? I believe it all hinges on a person’s character traits and ethics. In order to transmit his ideals and aspirations, Confucius lived a life characterized by homelessness and destitution, especially when, he reached the Country of Chen, he and his disciples were in such a dire state of misfortune that they were basically at the end of their rope. They coudn’t find anyone who was willing to assist them. both teacher and students spend many days without a morsel of food. Many of them were so hungry that they could only lie on the ground clutching their stomachs, unable to walk or even think. At this time, even Zi Lu started to complain, saying, “Alas! I never would have thought that even people of such noble character could be this down and out!” When Confucius heard these words being spoken, he immediately told Zi Lu, “Although people of noble character may also become destitute and dejected at times, they are different from petty characters in that when the latter are destitute they are even more likely to break the law and commit crimes.” In the same way, Confucius once said that if a person in the midst of poverty can have no complaints or regrets just like his disciple Yan Hui, this is rare indeed. But when a person suddenly one day becomes extremely wealthy, to remain free of arrogance at such a time is somewhat easier indeed.
When I was young I became very fascinated by metal and stone carvings. I felt endless awe and admiration for that exquisite stone and bamboo carving work, and I asked one master how to achieve such skill. That master said, “Persevere from start to finish.” He talked of how when he was 12 years old, he studied engraving under a famous artist in his hometown. He had been engraving ever since, never once altering his ambition under any circumstances. He said that his ability had been accumulated over the course of 26,280 hours. At first I didn’t understand so I asked him, and he replied, “I started learning with my master for one hour each day, and that increased to 10 hours each day, and I just never stopped doing it.” He said that in the winter his fingers would become so stiff that the skin would split open and bleed, but he didn’t care, nor did he care if he had nothing to eat. If he had no money for rent and his landlord wanted to evict him, he also wouldn’t pay it any heed. If his parents and immediate family opposed him, he also didn’t care, persisting all along. Later on, he encountered the first customer who really appreciated him, and his fame eventually became known all throughout the land. He said that he was very grateful to his persistence and to those 26,280 hours of hard work, and he persevered right into old age. I often think of his example in order to encourage myself. When in the midst of his ascetic practice, Milarepa became so destitute that he didn’t even have a piece of loin cloth with which to cover himself, and was so poor that he had to resort to a single bit of nettle with which to satisfy his hunger each day. His little sister came to visit him one day and upon seeing his circumstances, she covered her face with her hands and cried bitterly, but Milarepa still remained diligent in his incessant practice. In the end he obtained a supreme level of achievement. Before he realized enlightenment, Buddha Shakyamuni neglected both sleep and food, becoming so emaciated that there was nothing left but skin and bones. His hair was so disheveled that it looked like a heap of straw on which small birds came to excrete and yet he was completely unaware. Just before he attained enlightenment, a group of demons used all kinds of sinister enchantment to menace and tempt him, and yet the Buddha never left his seat. In the end, the Buddha attained enlightenment, perceiving his true nature.
Why is it that the sharpest sword can cut through anything including giant rocks? The reason is that it must be tempered hundreds and thousands of times in a great fire, in order to finally complete this great art. Modern people invariably get coddled by their parents, growing up in an environment free of scolding or spanking. From the delicate flowers in a greenhouse to strawberries that are easily crushed, becoming visibly emotional at the slightest discomfort, and capable of extreme behaviour. It is my opinion, during the education received from their parents when young, and later from their teachers at school, the most important thing is to pay attention to the cultivation and training of the child’s personality and willpower. Furthermore, the instilling of morality and ethics also plays an extremely important role.