Instead of grasping at intellectual knowledge, wanting to know what’s the highest thing going, you’d be much better off trying to gain an understanding of the basic nature of your own mind and how to deal with it right now.  It is so important to know how to act effectively: method is the key to any religion, the most important thing to learn.

Lord Buddha himself said, “ Belief is not important. Don’t believe what I say just because I said it.”  These were his dying words.  “ I have taught many different methods because there are many different individuals. Before you embrace any of them, use your wisdom to check that they fit your psychological make-up, your own mind. If my methods make any sense to you then by all means adopt them. But if you don’t relate to them, even though they might sound wonderful, leave them be. They were taught for somebody else.”

The only purpose for the existence of what we call religion is for us to understand the nature of our own psyche, our own mind, our own feelings. Whatever name we give to our spiritual path, the most important thing is that we get  to know our own experiences, our own feelings. Therefore, instead of emphasizing belief, it places prime importance on personal experimentation, putting dharma methods into action and assessing there effects they have on our minds: do these methods help?  Have our minds changed or are they just as uncontrolled as they  ever were? This is Buddhism, and this method of checking the mind is called meditation.

In general, Buddhist meditation teaches us to look within at what we are, to understand our own true nature…. Meditation can be brought into every aspect of your daily life. It is important to be aware of everything you do, be conscious of the actions of your body, speech and mind.

When you develop your powers of concentration such that you can integrate your mind into single-pointed concentration, you will gradually diminish your ego’s emotional reactions until they disappear altogether. At that point you, you transcend your ego and discover an everlasting, blissful, peaceful state of mind. That is what we call nirvana.

I advise you to close your eyes when you meditate. The reason why I advise Western people to close their eyes is that they are habituated to using the eye.

From a Buddhist point of view if you seek the absolute somewhere outside, then it is hopeless, there is no way you will resolve your problem. No way. The absolute or totality is within you… There is no separation between the conventional you, the conventional truth of you, and the absolute truth. This fundamental union is already existent; it is just a matter of recognizing it and comprehending it. It Is True.

We have to meditate. Meditation is no joke it is a serious job. Meditation means somehow making space, and penetrating reality, eliminating gross perceptions. Eliminating superficial preconceptions, superficial superstition… meditation is helpful for you to see that that the superficial, superstition lifestyle doesn’t really have any value. You realize it is so superficial. Meditation helps you go deeper, to touch the depths of your own nature and activate your deepest wisdom.

Wisdom is very important in order to cut dualistic concepts completely. Loving kindness and pure motivation, ( inspire us to practice ), but cannot cut the root of the problem and the dualistic concepts. They are emotional; they slow down the symptom, but in order to completely cut and eradicate the problem, you definitely need wisdom.

In general, our problems arise because our energy is flowing in the wrong direction and in the wrong places; this is the source of both out mental and our physical diseases. However, if  we concentrate upon our central channel and the seed syllable in our heart, we can improve the energy flow in our body and thereby cure many of our problems. Keeping our concentration focussed inside the central channel removes the distractions that cause our difficulties. Merely contemplating upon the central channel at the level of the heart is a very easy, powerful and beneficial meditation.

Most human problems are intellectual, because we relate too much through the intellect and reasoning. Of course, there are problems that come from intuition but the root of most of the problems in our lives, emotional disturbance and anxiety, is the intellect. We are intellectualizing all the time and that is our big problem…from a Buddhist point of view, instead of just allowing the intellect to rule, we have to use our wisdom, our discrimination, and analyze to see if it’s worthwhile or not.

The characteristic of the absolute human consciousness or soul is that it is non-dual. The non-duality of human consciousness is not emotionally disturbed; it is always of a clean-clear nature.

We should understand that the nucleus of each of us is the consciousness. Consciousness is not mixed up with negativity. It has its own characteristics, relatively and absolutely. The consciousness of soul is like the ocean. Ego-conflict is like the waves.  All conflict and concepts are like the waves that arise out of consciousness. They are shaken up—whoosh, whoosh!--- and then they return to consciousness.

For that reason each of our own consciousness, or soul, is clean-clear nature.  Then, like the wave on the surface of the ocean, we have craving-desire, hatred and ignorance. We have the capacity to not shake our consciousness; we can hold our consciousness like the ocean without shaking. That is the function of meditation.

What makes you uncontrolled?  Constantly reacting. Control means not reacting. That is why meditation teaches you the habit of not reacting when the obsessed object arises.

Maitreya Buddha said that books, scriptures, bibles and so forth are like bridges. In order to cross a river you need a reliable bridge. After you cross you can say, “goodbye bridge”. After you cross the bridge it does not make sense to think, “ this bridge is so kind”, or “this bible is so kind”. That only shows that you are attached to that scripture.

Now, it makes sense to discriminate intelligently between good and bad—that has value. But always good/bad, good/bad does not have much value. So, although you need discriminating wisdom, at a certain point you have to go beyond that.

Duality is the conventional level of reality. When we have experienced the non-dual it does not mean we are theists; but rather, it means we understand the broad view of reality, and the conventional no longer makes vibrations in your mind.

Tibetan is not a holy language. In every culture you learn a language---it’s part of samsara. In learning Tibetan, you learn a Tibetan samsaric trip. This is why I am not very interested in my students learning Tibetan. The important point is to taste the chocolate.  (experience the dharma through practice)  No matter how small a piece you get, as long as you taste it, you will be satisfied.

It is good to think about the lives of mahasiddhas such as Naropa and ( Milarepa) so that you know how you have to practice…When you look at the lives of the mahasiddha, many things become clear. We can see from their biographies that intellectual knowledge of Dharma alone is not enough--- we have to practice. There are many stories of learned Dharma scholars having to ask for guidance from people who have not studied any of the vast treatises but who have really tasted the few teachings they have received.

My point is that as soon as you clearly understand a subject, you should hold it in your heart and practice it. You will then taste the teaching. Of course, I am not saying that you should not learn Dharma well; but take whatever you learn into your heart and integrate it. In fact, according to the great Sakya Pandita, someone who tries to meditate without first receiving the teachings is like a person without arms or legs trying to climb up a steep mountain.

It is important to have a firm practice.

The beauty of Tibetan Buddhism is that it has such a clear structure from beginning to end. Perhaps you find all these outlines boring, but Tibetan Buddhism is alive today because of its clear structure…If you have a clear map, you won’t get lost.

In the view of  tantra, attainment of higher realizations depends on first purifying negativity’s. There is no point in trying to push meditation until you have done something to lessen the obstacles to realization. I think you often push too much. You complain, “I meditate and meditate, but my meditation never improves.”  This happens because you have not yet created the right conditions for realizations. You need to do powerful purification practices, such as Vajrasattva meditation and mantra recitation.

Vajrasattva is the manifestation of the purity of all the Buddhas. In general, Vajrasattva practice helps you to improve both your meditation and your lifestyle. Meditate intensely on Vajrasattva whenever you experience problems in your life or have difficulty studying or practicing Dharma. You can sense when you need Vajrasattva practice.

Think in this way, “During the rest of my life, it is my responsibility to grow in mindfulness and happiness. Each day I will expand the loving kindness I already have. When I wake up this morning, I will  open my wisdom-eye and see more and more deeply into the inner universal reality. I will try to be as mindful as possible. I will take responsibility for my life and dedicate it to others by growing strong in loving kindness and wisdom. I will serve others as much as possible.”  Make the determination that this will be your way of life.