Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche

Rangjung Yeshe - Dharma House Amsterdam

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Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche - Teachings

Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche

From Present Fresh Wakefulness, by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche.

The great yogi Milarepa said, "This life is mere illusion, a mere dream. Be compassionate towards beings who don't understand this." All our various experiences and dreams are simply the magical display of our thoughts. Until our thoughts are cleared away and dissolve, karma and disturbing emotions will not end. It is important to understand that thoughts themselves are karma and disturbing emotions.

Life is like a magical illusion or a dream. Because we are asleep, unaware, we dream up all types of different episodes, involving various degrees of pleasure and pain. In this sleep, everything feels as if it were real. The moment we wake up, however, it is obvious that all those experiences have no real existence. Yet, within the dream, they felt the same as our daytime experiences. The anxieties, the fear, the worry we entertained in the dream are all completely unreal, but while dreaming, we do not know them to be a dream, to be illusions. Only after we awake do we realize, "Wow, it was a dream — only a dream." We can even laugh at ourselves for being so overtaken! If it was disturbing, we are happy to wake up, while we feel a sense of loss upon awakening from a pleasant dream.

I'm using the example of a dream as a metaphor for our waking reality. All things, all of our ordinary experiences, are like dreams. They are as essentially insubstantial as the moon reflected in water. Though from time to time we have a hunch that this might be true, only after we have spent some time learning, reflecting and meditating do we fully understand that our life experiences are like a dream.

Three kinds of knowledge are necessary to ascertain the nature of things — the basic situation, you could say. First is the knowledge resulting from learning. When we examine, analyze and inspect what we learn, we are able to gain the second type of knowledge, resulting from reflection. Finally, we achieve the third type of knowledge by making what we've learned part of our own experience through practice. Through these three types of knowledge, we are able to completely end the cause of confusion.

Everything that we see, everything that we experience, appears due to a combination of factors. Nothing has any independent or true existence. Everything is 'groundless and rootless', yet appears due to dependent origination. While this is definitely true, a buddha does not explain this immediately.

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Meditation, by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche.

All the 84,000 types of teachings given by our compassionate teacher Buddha Shakyamuni can be condensed into the Four Seals of the Dharma. In this book I will explain these four seals to the best of my ability.

Before I begin, I'd like to define the qualifications for the Dharma teacher and the Dharma student. I will talk about the different types of teacher we can learn from and the need to integrate learning and reflection within meditation training.

The teacher, who is sometimes referred to as the 'spiritual friend,' should possess numerous great qualities. In brief, he or she should have gone through the proper training of learning, reflection and meditation involving the view, meditation, conduct and fruition of each of the vehicles. The master who possesses confidence and experience in the view of emptiness will never err concerning the meaning of the teachings. Although some minor mistakes in the phrasing might occur, someone with stability in the view will be able to immediately correct such inaccuracies.

The spiritual friend should, of course, be perfect in learning, reflection and meditation, but we, the students, also should never separate these three. Learning alone is not sufficient: what has been learned should be firmly established within one's being through reflection. What is meant by the word reflection? It means to investigate and examine the teaching. So please discern what is said and what is meant. Investigate what the words and the meaning indicate. Understand the purpose as well as the benefit of the teaching—really work it over and ponder it. This kind of reflection clarifies our understanding of what we study.

Without some degree of study and reflection, our devotion to the spiritual master and to enlightened beings is inconsistent. Likewise, our love and compassion for others tends to be fickle and transient. Especially concerning the view of the ultimate nature, without study or reflection it's very hard to be really stable. Without a proper basis in studying and reflecting, we can easily be interrupted by doubts and hesitation. Maybe we don't get completely wrong views, but subtle wrong views can easily sneak in. Therefore, it's very important to gain some intellectual comprehension.

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