the excluded middle way

The monk and the ink spots

It was the sixth week she’d seen the monk in Borders. Each time he had stayed all day, from opening till close, he was often the first to arrive and always the last to leave.

He never bought the books he read while in the store, although he did often buy others when he left. He wasn’t stealing, he’d spent over £120 dollars in the past couple of months, he never bothered anyone and could never be accused of loitering – he would often give up his seat for others, sometimes going out of his way to help someone find the book they needed when the staff were busy with other customers.

But his reading habits were odd. He was reading the same book again and again. Or, more accurately, he was reading different copies of the same book, again and again.

“I promised my Lama that I’d read everything he has written,” he said to the girl.

“But, he’s written 22 books and I know you’ve read them all cover-to-cover, several times over.”

“I don’t think I fully understand them”, he said. “Besides, each one is unique. The words are the same but each invididual splash on ink in each and every sentance of every paragraph on every page is a unique expression.”

“Don’t you get bored?” she asked.

“No, not really. Boredom comes from not appreciating the uniqness of each and every moment.”

“But wouldn’t you rather read something else, on the same topic? Perhaps a different Lama giving the same teachings, but from a different point of view or using different examples?”

“No” replied the monk. “The differences of each book just point to the similarities in the teachings. If I really want to see the uniqueness of each and every moment, the impermenance of all things, I must find it amongst the sameness.”

The girl smiled and went back to arranging the books on the shelf next to his.

The monk continued to read the fouth copy of ‘The King of Reasonings’.


Filed under: Fiction, Guru, Humour, inspiration, Lama, practice, , , , ,

“Meditation is an art”

Question: How do we get inspired to practice meditation?

Sogyal Rinpoche:

I have said that meditation is the road to enlightenment and the greatest endeavor of this life. Whenever I talk about meditation to my students, I always stress the necessity to practice it with resolute discipline and one-pointed devotion; at the same time, I always tell them how important it is to do it in as inspired and as richly creative a way as possible. In one sense meditation is an art, and you should bring to it an artist’s delight and fertility of invention.

Tibetan book of living and dying

Taken without 
Sogyal Rinpoche's
Tibetan Book 
of Living and Dying

Filed under: inspiration, Lama, meditation, Mind, practice

“The news that is always arriving out of silence”

If you find that meditation does not come easilty in your city room, be inventive. and go out into nature. Nature is always an unfailing fountain of inspiration. To calm your mind, go for a walk at dawn in the park, or watch the dew on a rose in a garden. Lie on the ground and gaze up into the sky, and let your mind expand into its spaciousness. Let the sky outside your mind awake a sky inside your mind. Stand by a stream and mingle your mind with its rushing; become one with its ceaseless sound.Sit by a waterfall and let its healing laughter purify your spirit. Walk on a beach and take the sea wind full and sweet against your face. Celebrate and use the beauty of moonlight to poise your mind.Sit by a lake or in a garden an, breathing quietly, let your mind fall silent as the moon comes up majestically and slowly in the cloudless night.Everything can be used as an invitation to meditation. A smile, a face in the subway, the sight of a small flower growing in the crack of a cement pavement, the fall of rich cloth in a shop window, the way the sun lights flower pots on a window sill. Be alert for any sign of beauty or grace. Offer up every joy, be awake at all moments, to “the news that is always arriving out of silence”.

Slowly you will become a master of your own bliss, a chemist of your own joy, with all sorts of remedies always at hand to elevate, cheer, illuminate, and inspire your every breath and movement. What is a great spiritual practitioner? A person who lives always in the presence of his or her own true self, someone who has found and who uses continually the springs and sources of profound inspiration. As the modern writer Lewis Thompson wrote: “Christ, supreme poet, lived truth so passionately that every gesture of his, at once pure Act and perfect Symbol, embodies the transcendent”.

To embody the transcendent is why we are here.”

Tibetan book of living and dying

Taken without permission from Sogyal Rinpoche's Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Filed under: inspiration, Lama, meditation, Mind, practice

NO! – Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

“Listen carefully. Any real lama will be completely unconcerned with your problems in this life. Any real lama will only be concerned with your death and where you take rebirth.”

Telling it like it is. Hard to swallow perhaps but bye bye Boomeritis!

Another version of the hugely popular teaching by Tsem Rinpoche on the poem of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s “How to Know No”.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Filed under: dharma, Guru, Lama, Rebirth, Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, Tsongkhapa, UL, Video, , , , , , ,

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