dharma monkey

embrace the monkey

5 May 2013
by Sean
1 Comment

Unending protection, always at hand

I am never far from those with faith,
Or even those without it,
Though they do not see me.
My children will always,
Be protected by my compassion.

Padmasambhava, a.k.a. Padmakara

Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche


Note: a great online source for inspirational passages is the aptly named “Just Dharma Quotes,” which includes a rich collection of words from Padmasambhava here. You can also follow the site via Twitter at @JDharmaQuotes.

26 November 2012
by Sean
1 Comment

Comforting words when a loved one dies

My aunt recently passed away after a grueling battle with cancer that left her victorious but terribly weakened.  As I was looking for some words of comfort to share with my family, I came across three passages that resonated with me as a Buddhist. I shared the first two and kept the third for myself.

When one knows God, they are free:
their sorrows have an end, and birth and death are no more.
When in inner union they are beyond the world of the body,
then the third world, the world of the Spirit, is found, where the power of the All is,
and they have all: for they are one with the ONE.
–The Svetasvatara Upanishad

Don’t cry because it’s over,
Smile because it happened.
–Dr. Seuss

When the doctor gives me up,
When rituals no longer work,
When friends have given up hope for my life,
When anything I do is futile,
May I be blessed to remember my guru’s instructions.
–Attributed to a Panchen Lama

May my Aunt Beth have a swift passage through the bardos, and may her next incarnation provide her with the opportunity to love and nurture others as she did in this lifetime.  Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum.


22 July 2012
by Sean

The ‘deathless, unending nature of mind’

In horror of death I took to the mountains,
and meditated on the uncertainty and the hour of death.
Now capturing the fortress of deathless, unending nature of mind,
all fear of death is done and over with.

Some of the most profound words attributed to Milarepa, Tibet’s great yogi-saint whose story of redemption continues to inspire Buddhists in the modern world.  He is said to have been the first to achieve a state of complete enlightenment in one lifetime, learning and practicing at the feet of Marpa Lotsawa, or Marpa the Translator.

The beauty of these words lies in the fact that an individual, under the guidance of a spiritual teacher or mentor (Tibetan: lama; Sanskrit: guru) and with an unwavering commitment to his or her practice, can “capture the fortress” of the deathless and unending nature of mind. Here’s how my own teacher describes the “nature of mind” (Tibetan: sem-nyi, where sem is ordinary mind — the opposite of our inherent pure awareness, or rigpa — and nyi is the limitless sense of possibility where anything can arise or happen):

“Imagine a sky, empty, spacious, and pure from the beginning; [the nature of mind’s] essence is like this. Imagine a sun, luminous, clear, unobstructed, and spontaneously present; its nature is like this. Imagine that sun shining out impartially on us and all things, penetrating all directions; its energy, which is the manifestation of compassion, is like this: Nothing can obstruct it and it pervades everywhere.”  — Sogyal Rinpoche

How amazing that we all are born with semnyi, with unalterable beauty and purity that defies description.  For the sake of all sentient beings, may we all purify the adventitious stains that obscure our view so that we may experience our ultimate nature!