The teachings are the foundation for understanding, the path on which we travel towards enlightenment. If we try to practice without the guidance of the teachings—or a skilled teacher—we are like a blind man walking in an open field: every direction seems equally viable, and we could stride over a cliff as easily as towards our goal. Yet with the teachings as guideposts, we are able to progress confidently towards true understanding.
The Four Truths
Soon after reaching enlightenment, Buddha shared his insights with a group of fellow seekers—people who were truly noble in spirit. Often, therefore, referred to as the Four Noble Truths, these teachings contain all the ideas inherent in Buddhism, and together form a path towards enlightenment.
Morality is woven into the fabric of all Buddhist teachings; it is the foundation from which enlightenment becomes possible. Wisdom does not spring solely from the brain’s cleverness; it requires an open heart, filled with merit. Thus, by embracing, practicing and truly internalizing the morality teachings, we create the conditions that can lead to freedom from confusion and suffering, and, therefore, to understanding.
In its broadest form, meditation is a universal means of survival. Our minds race constantly, filled with random thoughts and emotions, future plans and past experiences. Without a break from this relentless kaleidoscope we would go crazy. So we find ways to rest. Athletes get into the zone. Musicians plunge into music. Drivers lose a sense of time. Meditation leverages this basic skill to become present in daily life.
All beings—from humans to insects—have the innate capacity to become enlightened. Yet we are like penniless people living atop a gold mine: we live in spiritual poverty because we don’t tap our inner riches. To do so requires effort. We must undertake constant learning, examination and practice. Ultimately, this awakens our primordial wisdom, allowing us to truly see.
Life is complex, puzzling and often painful.
Sometimes it seems there must be a better way
to manage—and there is. It is as simple as looking
at a problem through a different lens.
ASK A QUESTION
Whether we are troubled or merely curious,
it can be helpful to turn to someone noted
for wisdom. Rinpoche is pleased to answer questions
about life, the Dharma or Buddhism in general.