Dharma, the Teachings of the Buddha
One who sees the Dhamma sees me.
One who sees me sees the Dhamma.
O monks and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me.
My teaching is not a philosophy. It is the result of direct
My teaching is a means of practice, not something to hold onto
My teaching is like a raft used to cross the river.
Only a fool would carry the raft around after he had already reached
the other shore of liberation.
If you were to follow the Dharma purely out
of love for me or because you respect me, I would not accept you
as disciple. But if you follow the Dharma because you have yourself
experienced its truth, because you understand and act accordingly
- only under these conditions have you the right to call yourself
a disciple of the Exalted One.
Path, White Clouds by Thich Nath Hanh
Not to do any evil, to cultivate good, to purify one's mind, this is
the teaching of the Buddhas.
Dhammapada v. 183
What is Dhamma? Nothing isn’t.
How does the dhamma teach the proper way of life? It shows us how to
live. It has many ways of showing it - on roots or trees or just in front of
you. It is a teaching but not in words. So still the mind, the heart, and learn
to watch. You'll find the whole dhamma revealing itself here and now. At what
other time and place are you going to look?
But this is like some sort of sweet fruit: even though the fruit is sweet
we must rely on contact with and experience of that fruit before we will know
what the taste is like. Now that fruit, even though no-one tastes it, is sweet
all the same. But nobody knows of it. The Dhamma of the Buddha is like this.
Even though it's the truth it isn't true for those who don't really know it.
No matter how excellent or fine it may be it is worthless to them.
Outward scriptural study is not important. Of course, the Dhamma books
are correct, but they are not right. They cannot give you right understanding.
To see the word anger in print is not the same as experiencing anger. Only experiencing
yourself can give you the true faith.
Question: Can one be attached to Buddhism? What should we do if someone attacks our beliefs and criticizes the Dharma?
Answer: Each situation must be regarded individually. In general, if we feel, "They are criticizing my beliefs. They think I am stupid for believing that," we are clinging to our beliefs because we think, "These beliefs are good because they are mine. If someone criticizes them, they are criticizing me." Such an attitude isn't very productive and we'll be more peaceful if we abandon it. We are not our beliefs. If others disagree with our beliefs, it does not mean we are stupid.
Being open to what others say is useful. Let's not be attached to the name and label of our religion. We are seeking truth and happiness, not promotion of a religion because it happens to be ours. In addition, questioning the teachings is reasonable. The Buddha himself said we should check his teachings and not just believe in them blindly.
On the other hand, we should not automatically agree with everything someone else says. We should not abandon our beliefs and adopt theirs indiscriminately. If someone asks a question we cannot answer, it doesn't mean the Buddha's teachings are wrong. It simply means we don't know the answer and need to learn and contemplate more. We can then take the question to knowledgeable Buddhists and think about their answers. When others question our beliefs, they are actually helping us deepen our understanding of the Buddha's teachings by showing us what we do not yet understand. This inspires us to study the Dharma and reflect on its meaning.
Thubten Chodron from Buddhism for Beginners
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
It wouldn't be bad if you didn't have statues, but it has become indispensable
to have Buddhist texts which deal with the structured path to train our mind.
If you have Buddhist texts, read them for yourselves and to friends who visit.
That way you can help others to understand Buddhist ideas. For instance, it
is interesting to read Milarepa's life story and songs. We find in them many
enlightening lessons. Buddha's image alone will not purify us of karmic obscuration....
It is very important to study the scriptures. They are not to be just stacked
up on the altar. They must be cultivated in our mind. ...[we] take great interest
in having the symbolic representations of Buddha's body, speech and mind. I
feel it is more important to acquire and read scriptures, the symbolic representations
of his speech. You can pay homage to them, you can make offerings to them; above
all, you should study them.
Generous Wisdom: Commentaries
1. Realize the value of the human body with which you have been endowed, for it is the result of many past good causes. Appreciate the fact that teachings are available and ready to be implemented.
2. Since this precious human life can be used in powerfully beneficial or destructive ways, and is itself most fragile, make good use of it now.
3. Physical happiness is just an occasional balance of elements in the body, not a deep harmony. Understand the temporary for what it is.
4. A tamed mind makes you peaceful, relaxed, and happy; whereas, if your mind is not peaceful and tamed, no matter how wonderful your external circumstances, you will be beset by frights and worries. Realize that the root of your own happiness and welfare rests with a peaceful and tamed mind. It is also a great benefit to those around you.
Mind of Clear Light: Advice on Living Well and Dying Consciously
Many religions have one main book as their basis for the teachings. In Buddhism, we have a library.
Geshe Sonam Gyaltsen
After first opening ourselves to the Buddha's blessing, there comes an
actual penetration, so that we are actually embraced by the Buddha's
qualities...so that what takes place is that we need confidence in the
Buddha and his teachings and through that we will practice. As a result
of the cultivation of the paramitas, we will receive an actual contact
with the powerful qualities of the Buddha and his teachings. They will
become a manifest part of our own practice and experience. We then have
a much deeper contact with the power of the Buddha to teach and the
qualities. This is a much deeper level of quality than, first of all,
opening ourselves to the authenticity of the Buddha's teachings.
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
December 28, 2010