The Buddha Walks into the Office by Lodro Rinzler Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in The Buddha Walks into the Office by Lodro Rinzler Deck (312):
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This is a guidebook to becoming the kind of authentic leader this world needs.122

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a common sentiment among young people on the verge of entering the “real world.” Very few of them had it all figured out, which is a scary state, yet full of possibility.173

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they didn’t let their job define who they are. The idea they had stumbled onto is that in searching for happiness, it was not so much a question of what they did as why they did it. Knowing your intention is key in all things.192

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When it comes to figuring out a career path, knowing your intention may be the most basic and most helpful step on the journey that links your work with your spiritual path.198

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This book is organized around the three yanas, a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “vehicle.”201

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These three vehicles are the means to transport us from our confusion to awakening.203

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the Hinayana path is based in working with your own mind and heart in order to build a foundation to apply mindfulness and compassion in every aspect of your life.214

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Vajrayana, which is based in the view that our work and our role in society are all part of our spiritual journey.222

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On this path, we no longer view the world in terms of what is for us versus what is against us; every joy and disappointment in our work becomes fodder for our path of awakening.223

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idea of internal exploration is the beginning of the Buddhist path.260

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Before we go into the office and work with others in a way that is of benefit, we first have to know ourselves well. Once we know ourselves well, we can be true to who we are. The first step is to know our intention—both large intentions, like knowing why we are engaging in our line of work, and smaller ones, such as knowing what we want to accomplish on a given day. This is the foundation of our path. This is the heart of the journey. Knowing our own intention, the why behind the what, is an important first step.260

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That is the purpose of meditation practice: to become more present and aware of every aspect of our life.292

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Meditation practice helps us slow down and be present enough to recognize the small joys295

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meditation practice is the way to develop a stable and flexible mind.298

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The more present we are, the less stressed-out we will be, and the more we can perform admirably, with a strong mind as our support.311

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The idea is to not go into your meditation practice with your mind at sixty miles per hour but ideally to relax321

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Meditation is not about forcing yourself to do or achieve anything; it’s about relaxing into the present moment.360

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You don’t need to alter your breathing in any way; just bring your mind to it. This is what is known as mindfulness, the simple act of bringing yourself fully, one-pointedly, to what you are doing.364

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COME BACK, OVER AND OVER AGAIN368

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if we can train in coming back to the breath, over and over again, what we are really doing is training in being present with this very moment.385

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in Shambhala. This notion is a 180-degree turn from the Catholic notion of original sin. It’s the view that we are not inherently bad at all; underneath our layers of confusion, pain, and aggression, we’re actually basically good. The idea of basic goodness is that at your core you are innately wise. You are innately kind. You are innately capable. That’s your birthright. That is who you are.399

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The notion of basic goodness is that we all are capable, if we can bring ourselves to act from the point of view of our basic goodness. We have everything we need and can offer ourselves as we are. As one wise friend once told me, “You’re worth what you think you’re worth.” So you should probably start recognizing that you are worth a great deal.411

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Basic goodness is that stillness we experience after a meditation session. It is that sense of calm that we tap into when we are not caught up in the storm of our swirling emotional upheavals and wild fantasies. It is always available to us, if we are able to become present enough to see it.414

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Wayne Dyer has said, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”416

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THE DING MEDITATION One thing I like to do is set a timer to go off once an hour. I set a reminder on my phone, and after sixty minutes it goes ding! No matter what I am working on, I am reminded to raise my gaze, connect with my posture, and meditate for a minute.436

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THE RED DOT MEDITATION- I take red circular sticker dots (you can find them at any stationery store) and post them around my house. When I walked by one and noticed it, I would think of it as a tiny STOP sign and pause, connect with my body, pay attention to my breath for a few moments, then move on.443

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perhaps a better question for the thoughtful young person today: “Who do you want to be when you grow up?”502

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Sanskrit word mandala is “circle.” It is a diagram often used in Buddhism to depict the abode of a deity or a microcosm of the universe. A mandala can be viewed in some respect as a sort of organizational chart, with a circle at its center and several concentric circles around it.505

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In the traditional mandala representing what is known as the Wheel of Life, at the center there are representations of three poisonous emotions that keep us stuck in suffering—passion, aggression, and ignorance.508

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the next concentric circle there is a symbolic representation of karma. The third circle illustrates the six realms of existence.510

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The outermost circle depicts how we create a solid sense of self, or ego511

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When the Buddha began teaching, he laid out what is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. This path is made up of eight elements that he encouraged his disciples to follow in order to find freedom from suffering and in so doing to develop wisdom, ethical conduct, and meditative discipline. One of the three elements of ethical conduct in this path (along with right speech and right action) is right livelihood—that is, making your living in a way that doesn’t create harm.538

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five specific aspects to right livelihood: 1. You can’t deal in living beings; this includes activities like prostitution, slavery, or raising animals for slaughter. 2. You can’t make money selling weapons. 3. You can’t make money selling poison. 4. You can’t make money selling intoxicants. 5. You can’t make money selling meat.543

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your job is not your life. If you think your life is your job, you should be concerned. Your life is what you make of it and what qualities you want to cultivate during your time here on earth.566

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If you can shift your view so that your work is spirituality, then you can bring your meditation practice off the cushion and live your hours at work with meaning and purpose.608

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Thus far we have looked at two ways of engaging our work as part of our spiritual journey. The first is contacting our own innate abilities, our basic goodness, through the practice of meditation. The second is becoming inquisitive with ourselves, so that we can determine who we want to be as we live our lives and engage our livelihoods in a way we feel good about.609

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If you want to avoid causing harm, you must learn to wield your speech as a weapon for good.622

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People get sloppy with communication and as a result cause harm.636

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The basic precepts were that monastics should not take life, not take what is not offered, not engage in sexual misconduct, not engage in mindless speech, and not ingest intoxicants.640

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One aspect of the mindless speech precept is that one should not engage in false speech. This includes lies, gossip and slander, harsh words, and even idle speech, the sort of talking you do just because there is an awkward silence or you feel uncomfortable. One translation of the precept reads: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech, I vow to cultivate right speech.

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Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I will do my best to not lie, to not gossip or slander, to not use harsh or idle speech, and to not say things that bring about division or hatred. I aspire to always speak the truth.642

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The effects of practicing mindful speech are twofold. The first effect is that you cause less harm when you open your mouth. The second effect is that you refrain from unnecessary speech, which leads to more opportunities to deeply listen to others.652

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Unfortunately, you cannot change the behavior of others; the only person you can change is yourself. In that sense, the first step in working with difficult people is to make sure you yourself are not acting like a difficult person. The act of listening is a solid safeguard against that.657

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in the midst of a difficult conversation, you should open yourself up by only asking questions. Refrain from trying to fix anything or solve the other person’s issues. Just let their words wash over you like a wave, occasionally asking for clarification or more information. Doing so allows the other person to feel respected and heard. After listening deeply you may feel that you ought to offer your own two cents, but try to avoid doing so before you can see the situation clearly and understand the other person’s point of view.660

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a bodhisattva is someone who bravely engages the world from the point of view of being supremely open and awake to whatever comes their way. Bodhisattvas manifest their basic goodness in a confident manner and are thus very successful when it comes to navigating through life.675

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If you aim to engage in a difficult conversation, the first step, Shantideva informs us, is to speak from your heart. Address the topic at hand in a clear and precise manner, without letting your emotions get in the way. If you can do that with gentleness, then the individuals you are working with may be able to truly hear your statement, regardless of whatever preconceived notions they may have.686

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Mistakes along the path are helpful. They are opportunities to reflect on the qualities that we long to cultivate, and to remember that it is only through practice that we create perfection.708

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“Making one hundred different mistakes is progressive. Making one hundred of the same mistake is regressive.”716

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One of the most skillful things I have learned from him is that when you sit down with someone, you can treat them as the most important person in your life for those few moments.728

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When someone comes to you with an issue, they often believe it is the most important thing on your agenda as well as theirs.745

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Often it is not the best-trained or most highly educated people who succeed; it’s the people who are present enough in a situation to do what simply needs to be done.758

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simple can understand complicated but complicated cannot understand simple.760

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if you can slow down and be present enough, you can simplify even the most convoluted situation. However, if you walk into a complicated situation with a complicated mind, it may turn out that you continue to perpetuate trouble.761

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Simple here is the opposite of dumb; it is being present enough to see the brilliance available in any situation.765

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In the traditional Buddhist point of view, it is said that we habitually see our world through three different lenses: passion, aggression, and ignorance. Passion may manifest in a variety of ways: as greed, jealousy, lust, or longing. Anger may come forth as hatred, frustration, or impatience. Ignorance may show up as bias, avoidance, or fear.767

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Most of us end up sinking our teeth into the story lines that come with these emotions, constantly thinking about what happened or what we can do in the future to prevent our feelings of upset. In other words, we are not present enough to feel our emotions fully and instead get hooked by them, attached to them, and that causes us suffering.777

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Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche seems to agree here, as he once said, “When you’re in the middle of a situation, you automatically pick up on what is needed. It’s not a question of how to do it—you just do it.”791

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The Buddhist view is not that we should just act on whatever whim or fancy catches our spirit; instead, when faced with a difficult scenario, we should come back to the present moment, right now, and then act from a place of mindfulness. Just doing something, and doing it properly, comes from slowing down rather than speeding up.795

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The Shambhala Principle, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche writes, “Every moment has its energy; either it will ride us, or we can ride it.”799

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When a major upset occurs, people either try to solve the problem immediately, try to blame someone for it, or try to run from it. These are those three basic responses at work again:806

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we get hooked by the desire to eliminate the problem, we use aggression to place blame, or we try to ignore it.807

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The hardest thing I have learned in approaching difficult situations is that sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all. Sometimes we need to create space around difficulty in order for solutions to arise.

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When we take a step back from a problem, that simple mind that arises can unravel the complicated situation. The more space we create for ourselves and others, the more clearly we are able to see a situation.809

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The Hinayana is a path of not creating harm and trying to become familiar with yourself as you explore your world.851

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Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one. This slogan highlights the notion that at the core of who we are, we are worthy. We are capable. As a result of developing confidence in our own basic goodness, we have deep trust in ourselves.

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When tricky situations arise, there can be multiple points of view as to what has happened or what should happen. That is what Atisha means when he points out that there are two witnesses—there is other people’s view of you and your actions and your own view of yourself. Of those two points of view, the principal one is your own insight.

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Meditation practice is a practice in getting to know yourself very well. No one has spent more time with you than you. You are your own best adviser. Because you know yourself well, you ought to respect your own insight and listen to it. Trust your intuition, and lead from that perspective.868

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Don’t ponder others. When we obsess over other people’s actions or affairs, we are not bettering anyone.876

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This means that you should not take delight in other people’s misfortunes or waste your time fantasizing about what may or may not be happening with them. Obsessing over other people’s business perpetuates inner gossip, ruining your mindfulness.881

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Don’t bring things to a painful point.890

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How often have you wanted to get in the last word or tried to alleviate your discomfort by forcing an issue beyond what another person felt able to discuss?891

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Another way we bring things to a painful point is by running away from topics that scare us.894

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Unfortunately, when we hide from our problems, they tend to get bigger.898

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Instead of avoiding discomfort, you can lean into your life and tackle difficult topics straightforwardly and mindfully.900

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This is not to say that you should never give space to difficult topics, as was discussed in the previous chapter. Sometimes the most skillful thing to do is give a tricky situation a lot of space and let it resolve itself.902

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Don’t be swayed by external circumstances.905

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if you train to be present and spacious only when things are good, you will feel that way only when things are good. When things are difficult, you will not be able to experience the qualities you are trying to cultivate.908

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Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche has also commented on this slogan, saying, “Although your external circumstances may vary, your practice should not be dependent on that.”910

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Don’t expect applause. The reason we try to bring our meditation practice and our livelihood together is not to attain great fame but because it is a way to live our life with meaning.913

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Pema Chödrön has commented on this slogan, saying, “We can thank others, but we should give up all hope of getting thanked back. Simply keep the door open without expectations.”917

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This basic experience of opening up beyond just thinking about me and my problems is the basis of the Mahayana, or greater vehicle.948

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transcends working just for your own benefit; it is based in taking others’ happiness as the source of your own. It is a path of stepping beyond yourself and being completely available to the world, living your life in a way that is not only meaningful to you but serves others as well. The first step on that path is discovering how you suffer and learning to be empathetic when others suffer in the same ways.949

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trapped in a constant cycle of suffering, known as samsara. Samsara is a Sanskrit term that describes the continuous flow of the pain of our existence from birth until death and into birth again.954

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We seek pleasure and want to avoid pain. We yearn for praise and abhor blame. We fantasize about fame but fear disgrace. We desire gain and are terrified of loss. In the Buddhist canon, these four contrasting pairs are referred to as the eight worldly dharmas.965

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“When you give in to these eight, you will walk around like a zombie.” “A zombie,” I thought. “That’s interesting; you’re just aimlessly wandering through life.” “A zombie,” he said. “You know, an undead person who eats brains!”969

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The more you meditate, though, the more likely you are to notice the way your mind slips into these eight worldly dharmas, and the more likely you are to come back to the present moment.975

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At this point in your spiritual journey, you begin to comprehend that this whole meditation thing is not just about you. It’s about helping others so that they aren’t so hooked by their own pain and drama.983

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When you see how others suffer, just like you, your heart goes out to them. This is the blossoming of bodhicitta.987

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Bodhicitta is a Sanskrit term. Bodhi has the same meaning as in bodhisattva: “open” or “awake.” Citta can be translated as “heart” or “mind.” There is not a lot of difference between the heart and the mind in the Sanskrit. Putting these two terms together, you can think of bodhicitta as that experience of opening your heart, or being awake enough to allow your heart to be available to any experience, good or bad.990

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A being who practices the path of bodhicitta is referred to as a bodhisattva. As mentioned before, a bodhisattva is a brave individual who continuously offers this sense of openness in order to be more fully connected to their world and to benefit others in the process.997

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this is the practice of the bodhisattva—opening your heart fully to everyone, the people you love and the people who annoy the heck out of you. When you are able to do that, you grow as a human being and create positive change in the world.1001

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Opening our heart in this unconditional, vulnerable way actually makes us stronger.1003

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“The starting point of relative bodhicitta practice is realizing that others could actually be more important than ourselves.”21005

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In that sense, opening your heart to others is the best kind of double-edged sword. You are cutting through your own stuck mind-set, moving beyond just thinking of yourself. At the same time, you are cutting through others’ difficulties and being helpful in a way that brings everyone contentment.1016

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We are inspired by leaders who make themselves available. In his book Integrity, Dr. Henry Cloud wrote, “The tension between vulnerability and strength in leaders cannot be lost.”1037

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I am a firm believer that cynicism can be overcome by the power of an awake heart and that uncomfortable conversations can be softened through bodhicitta. I believe that whatever life throws at us, we can meet it with vulnerability and strength simultaneously, if we dare to tread on the bodhisattva’s path.1041

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Virtue, or gewa in Tibetan, is about listening to and leading from your bodhicitta. You can align yourself with your open heart and let that be your moral compass.1056

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We are strengthening our resolve to offer an open heart, which shows off our potential, deepens our faith in our goodness,1060

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Virtue, in this sense, is about tuning in fully to your open heart and acting in a way that is in accordance with whatever your inner voice is telling you.1061

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One aspect of discernment is learning what company you want to keep.1070

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It is through being present and open that we begin to notice whom we want to spend our time with and our energy on. We begin to discern how we can live a life of virtue,1072

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According to Ngulchu Thogme, if you are spending time with someone and your negative qualities start to wane while your positive qualities blossom, then you have found someone worth spending time with. Doing so is virtuous activity.1076

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It is important that in the company we keep and the actions we perform, we hold the view that we are working for the happiness of others as well as ourselves.1108

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it is often those who work tirelessly, consistently, but slowly who accomplish the most—not the people who were the most frantic in their endeavors or the best at multitasking.1121

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When it comes to living a virtuous life and still accomplishing a great deal at work, slow and steady wins the race.1138

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equanimity means taking a larger view, rising above these petty distinctions, and recognizing that at our core we are all the same. We all possess basic goodness, and we all are striving to be happy.1186

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The Buddha taught extensively about the six paramitas, specifically how they can serve as tools that we can use in cultivating bodhicitta so that we too can move beyond our constant suffering and arrive at the shore of awake.

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The six paramitas are: 1. dana (generosity) 2. shila (discipline) 3. kshanti (patience) 4. virya (exertion) 5. samadhi (meditative concentration) 6. prajna (wisdom)1203

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generosity, he points out that there are three traditional ways to practice generosity. GIVING MATERIAL ITEMS We can give away material possessions.1220

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GIVING THE GIFT OF DHARMA There are two aspects to the generosity of giving dharma. The first is that we should give up improper actions—those that we know are harmful to ourselves and others.1242

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The second form of offering the dharma is to offer your experience of it.1247

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you can share your experience of how meditation has affected your life and offer your authentic presence in a way that inspires people to try mindfulness out for themselves.1249

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Usually this means showing rather than telling.1251

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three primary ways we can practice discipline. THE DISCIPLINE OF REFRAINING FROM NEGATIVE ACTIONS1259

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The way we learn about our negative actions is twofold: we meditate and become familiar with our mind, and then we pay attention to our conduct so that if we do make a mistake, we quickly learn from it and vow not to repeat it.1265

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THE DISCIPLINE OF GATHERING POSITIVE ACTIONS Another way to practice discipline is to carry out more positive actions. The more you meditate, the more you turn the tide against the habitual way you have lived your life.1267

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Practicing discipline in this way means that you are immediately moving beyond thinking about only yourself and instead opening your heart to others.1275

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THE DISCIPLINE OF WORKING FOR THE BENEFIT OF SENTIENT BEINGS The final form of discipline is based in equanimity. It is the idea that when we refrain from negative actions and cultivate positive ones, we apply the discipline of doing it for everyone. This means that sometimes we must practice a gut-wrenching form of discipline: doing things for people we simply don’t like.1277

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Dudjom Rinpoche has said, “The point of patience is to train so that our altruistic attitude is immovable and irrepressible in the face of those who hurt us with their ingratitude and so forth.”3 Patience is not something that is based in just waiting until you get to do what you want to do, with those people you want to do things with. It is based in relating fully with a situation, even if it annoys the hell out of you.1294

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Chinese proverb that says, “Slander cannot destroy an honest man. . . . when the flood recedes the rock is there.” Patience in this sense is simply remaining present when someone is a jerk. When someone wrongs you, you do not need to correct them or lash out at them.1303

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If you can smile in the face of uncertainty, you are well trained.1316

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PATIENCE IN ASPIRING TO A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF REALITY The final form of patience is based on aspiring to view life as it is. This reinforces the idea of being as present with as much of your life as possible.1317

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The fourth paramita is exertion, which encompasses both applying yourself on behalf of others and rousing yourself to think about more than just your own particular situation. Dudjom Rinpoche presents three aspects of exertion.1323

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ARMOR-LIKE EXERTION We should wear our exertion all the time, constantly remaining vigilant in seeking out opportunities to be of benefit to others.1325

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EXERTION IN APPLICATION Moving beyond thinking about just me doesn’t always feel comfortable, so we have to persevere in exerting ourselves to do it. Often we are lost in our own emotional upheavals. When you notice that you are starting to cling tightly to your own comfort, valuing it above the comfort of others, drop the story line of whatever neurotic mess is swirling in your brain and return to the underlying emotion. Acknowledge that emotion, sit with it, but try to cut through the story line around it. When you have returned to some semblance of calm, take one more step to move beyond thinking solely about yourself. Do one good thing for a coworker and see how that changes your attitude. More often than not, the quickest way to stop feeling lost in your own head is to exert yourself on behalf of another.1332

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We can embrace the path of offering ourselves for others as a means to our own happiness. We can put our personal concerns aside to work for something bigger,1341

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When you exert yourself in this manner, you make others feel good because they are experiencing relief. You feel good because you are living a life that is having an impact on other people. That is true exertion, the type that benefits both ourselves and everyone we encounter.1343

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It may be best to cut down on multitasking and develop a feeling of well-being by bringing yourself entirely to whatever is right in front of you.1358

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The most excellent quality that concentration can give rise to is a sense of awake.1361

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CONCENTRATION THAT BENEFITS SENTIENT BEINGS When you have developed a level of meditative stability, you can be of maximum benefit to everyone you encounter. If you are truly present with people, they begin to feel respected and encouraged. If you bring yourself fully to a project or task, it gets accomplished in a seamless and efficient manner.1365

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Prajna is often translated from Sanskrit as “wisdom.” It is, more specifically, the wisdom to get what the heck is going on in a situation so that you can do something appropriate in that moment. It is not an accumulation of knowledge, or acting in a slow-moving, semicontemplative manner. It is an instant type of wisdom. It is the skill to recognize what needs to be done and to do it.1371

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There are three main ways to let this form of intelligence guide your activity.1375

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THE WISDOM OF LISTENING Listening is a lost art in our society. There is great wisdom in taking the time to hear someone out and give yourself the space to understand what they are trying to communicate.1376

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The more you listen, the more you will eventually be able to express yourself clearly to others.1382

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THE WISDOM OF REFLECTING/CONTEMPLATING After deeply listening to a variety of opinions, you should chew on them. See what truth sits with you and what does not. Reflect on what has been offered to you. There is an element of patience in this process1384

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THE WISDOM OF MEDITATING Finally, allow your contemplations to sink in as an act of meditation. The discursive thoughts that came up will naturally dissipate. What truths have come to you will remain. Sitting with the reality of the situation, you develop certainty in those facts. You can realize those truths in your life and work. Then you are prepared to act.1389

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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche wrote, “When our attitude is open, we can have fun with what the world presents.”41397

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From a Buddhist point of view, karma is the law of cause and effect, which plays out over multiple lifetimes.1416

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Think of the alaya consciousness as a giant warehouse. It is white and pristine. This is representative of our basic state. This giant warehouse exists to house your virtuous and unvirtuous actions, known respectively in Tibetan as gewa and migewa. If you engage in positive actions, such as helping a coworker out of a jam, then it is like walking into the alaya warehouse with rose water on your feet. This sort of activity creates the cause for a future rebirth in which you can enjoy your life and be of benefit to others. If you screw your coworker over, though, it is like walking into the warehouse with muddy shoes on. Your negative actions will be imprinted on your alaya consciousness like mud on a white carpet.

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Your alaya, which is basically clear and neutral, gets imprinted with your virtuous and unvirtuous activity. It holds the imprints of positive and negative actions that will, in some way, give rise to results in this or another lifetime. This is different from the one-to-one correlation that is often assumed in discussions about karma, so it is worth considering our own experience to try to determine what this karmic warehouse means for us.1420

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The Buddha said that we have to test the truth of his teachings. He encouraged us to check whether anything he taught meshes with our own experience.1429

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In Turning the Mind into an Ally, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche writes, “If we plant peaches, we’re always going to get peaches. If we plant pears, we’re always going to get pears.”1 This is perhaps the simplest and clearest description of karma I have ever read. Whatever seeds you plant in your own mind will bear fruit appropriately.1443

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According to the Buddhist canon, there are six realms of existence, although you might not have any memory of actual lifetimes spent in some of them. It may be helpful to think of them as psychological states, which is how they are often introduced.1449

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THE HELL REALM It is said that even one moment of anger can be like immersing your body in a swamp and running muddy into your alaya warehouse and rolling around; you are dooming yourself to the hell realm. The hell realms are said to be places of various kinds of torment. There1453

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The point here is that when you experience anger, you don’t have to act on it and give in to perpetuating negative actions. You can feel the hot and the cold, the poking and prodding, without lashing out and creating harm for yourself and others. Experiencing these strong emotional states but not giving in to them is how we sow the seeds of virtue.1462

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The hungry-ghost realm is based in jealousy and stinginess. It is said that when you are born into this realm, you take on the form of a hungry ghost, a being who suffers from extreme hunger and thirst. Hungry ghosts are said to have mouths the size of a needle’s eye and stomachs the size of mountains. Their necks are so thin that they cannot pass any food down to the stomach, so while the hungry ghost is starving, it cannot eat and is lost in a state of yearning for an entire lifetime.1466

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the idea of yearning is probably not far from your experience. We constantly long to fulfill our physical desires but are never satisfied with what we get. If a hungry ghost does manage to get food down its throat, it is only reminded of what it has been missing, and its desire for more increases exponentially.1470

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When you engage in this mentality, you are lost in desire and do not experience joy. By cutting through stinginess and craving, you can experience your life more fully and are planting the seeds for more positive things to occur in your life (or lifetimes).1474

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it is said that the animal realm is not a good one to be born into because of animals’ limited intelligence. They are unable to meditate and become familiar with their own mind, and thus are constantly yanked around by instinctual urges. They suffer from bewilderment and have no hope of distinguishing between virtue and nonvirtue.1486

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The human realm is said to be the best possible birth, because we have the ability to work with our mind and become a better person. This is the sole realm in which we can seek awakening.1491

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At the same time, the human realm is marked by its own pains. We suffer from the pains of birth, aging, sickness, and death.1494

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It is said that it is more likely for that tortoise to poke through the hole of the yoke floating somewhere on the ocean than it is for someone to obtain a precious human birth. Thus, it is a rare and precious opportunity.1501

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The jealous-god realm is said to be inhabited by demigods. They live long lives that are wasted in jealousy of gods who have more than they do. As a result, they constantly try to wage war against the higher gods but are easily defeated. A rough equivalent of this jealous-god scenario may play out when your colleagues are promoted ahead of you.1508

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it is better to learn to sit with your jealousy and let it pass like a cloud moving across the sky instead of engaging in unvirtuous activity.1513

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The sixth realm is the god realm. Gods are not eternal in the Buddhist tradition, but they do have an extended lifetime of many years. This is the reward for having engaged in virtue and accumulated a large amount of positive karma. For the majority of their lifetime the gods are youthful and healthy.1515

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If they suffer during this portion of their lives, it is from pride in how good they have it.1518

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Since we cannot avoid impermanence, we must realize that things change and we will suffer this form of loss. Knowing that things change is part of our path; it allows us to appreciate them more. We loosen our attachment when we realize the nature of impermanence, and we are then more likely to be generous and engage in other virtuous activity.1528

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The six realms are based in the same three root emotions, aggression, passion, and ignorance, discussed earlier.

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We become lost in the hell realm when we fall victim to anger and aggression. We wander in the hungry-ghost realm when we are stingy and passionately desirous of things we cannot have. We meander in the animal realm when we are lost in ignorance.

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The human realm is marked by the desire for pleasure and the desire to avoid pain.

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The jealous-god realm is based in aggression, specifically the aggression of acting out against beings that we perceive as having more than we do.

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The god realm is a place of ignorance, where we do not realize the nature of change.1531

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The more you examine yourself, the more you will see how you wander into these various realms through the simplest of actions.1538

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This being has been my mother. I give thanks for their kindness. They have shown you great care and support in the past.1568

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A recent study developed by the Career Advisory Board showed that one of the most important factors for the millennial generation when looking for a job was that they felt the work they are doing is meaningful. The notion of doing something meaningful outranked “high pay” and “sense of accomplishment.”11588

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Regardless of the story line, the point of our meditation practice is to recognize the underlying emotions and, before getting caught up in them, to see them as impermanent. You can see the story lines as something other than what is currently going on in your present experience. From there you can return to the breath. This is our practice on and off the meditation cushion.1618

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An angry protester demanding peace seems paradoxical. To quote the comedian George Carlin, “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”1631

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STEP 1: CUTTING THROUGH FIXED VIEWS- By continuously coming back to the present, we are learning to free ourselves from fixed points of view.1670

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STEP 2: RAISING YOUR G- As you get to know your mind, you see where you get hooked by fixed emotions, but they no longer get their hooks into you like they used to. You come to recognize when you stray into one of the six realms. Then you start to recognize people around you similarly lost in the fog of their own emotional states. As you are freed from just listening to and expounding upon your own fixed views, you become more available to notice the emotional turmoil of those around you.1673

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In his article “Innovation Starts with Empathy,” Dev Patnaik points out that the quickest and most effective way for a company to prosper is for its leaders to develop empathy for the world around them.1682

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the more we can empathize with coworkers, clients, and even superiors, the better we will be able to understand them. Having understood them and seen them for who they are, we will be able to figure out how best to engage in compassionate activity and create change based on what needs to happen, as opposed to our ideas about what needs to happen.1695

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STEP 3: COMPASSIONATE ACTIVITY- I believe we are a generation that wants to create positive change, but we have not yet woken up to our potential to do so.1723

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If you can move beyond thinking only about yourself and open up to an empathetic point of view, then you will be able to come home from work and feel good about the life you are living.1742

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The following five slogans seem particularly relevant to keeping an open heart at work.1745

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When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi.1746

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He is saying that it is easy to keep an open heart when we are surrounded by puppies and loving friends and family. When we are confronted with bona fide evil, particularly in the workplace, it is difficult to maintain a sense of bodhi.1748

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When in the belly of the beast, you can create tremendous positive change simply by taking whatever comes up at work as an opportunity to exhibit the power of an open heart.1754

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That cave is an evil-filled workplace. The flashlight is your bodhicitta. The beauty of bodhicitta is that you never will run out of batteries; it is always available.1758

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Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation.1760

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When you bring together unexpected events and meditation, it similarly creates a complete scenario.1766

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when you are thrown a curveball in life, you are immediately offered two doors that you can walk through. Both open into your warehouse consciousness. One door is marked MEDITATION AND VIRTUOUS ACTIVITY and the other PASSION AGGRESSION IGNORANCE DANGER KEEP OUT. Perhaps it is all those capital letters, but we often miss the meditation door and run straight toward this doorway of habitual patterns.1770

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Don’t act with a twist. Short and sweet, this lojong slogan encourages you to be straightforward in all your workplace interactions as well as your meditation practice.1778

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you should exercise compassion and empathy because it will help everyone. If you benefit from the interaction (and likely you will), that’s great, but that is not the point. The point is to help this world through all of your interactions.1782

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Change your attitude, but remain natural.1785

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If we want to experience the joy and lightness that comes from bodhicitta, we need to change our attitude. That means instead of hoarding our kindness and compassion, we must offer it at all times, to all beings. We are included in “all beings,” so we don’t need to stop being kind or compassionate to ourselves. The shift in view is from “I’m going to make samsara work for me” to “I’m going to work for all beings.”1791

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The second half of this slogan points out the way we should approach this transition in attitude—we should remain natural. There is a sense of relaxation in this statement. We should not get hyped up about trying to embrace all beings1794

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Be grateful to everyone.1797

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Steve Carell’s coworkers wanted to become better people simply because he would not complain.1811

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complaining doesn’t help anyone; it only furthers negativity. Instead of complaining, you should seek out solutions to whatever problems ail you. Plus, if all beings are actually practice opportunities, we shouldn’t complain about them. We should be grateful for their existence!1813

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“If someone hurts you, you should be thankful to them for giving you the opportunity to practice.”21816

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EMPTINESS + COMPASSION = POSITIVE CHANGE1819

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Emptiness is not based on the relative notion of fullness. It is a return to the teachings on prajna. The paramitas1824

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They too are constantly changing, fluid beings. Emptiness, then, means that the world and all of us, its inhabitants, are not what we think they are. We are all actually ever-changing1832

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In her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Bronnie Ware describes the five biggest regrets of the patients she encountered during her years as a caregiver.3 Surprisingly, the first one was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

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When you practice the principles introduced thus far, you will live a life true to yourself. You can overcome other people’s expectations and bravely engage in a lifetime journey of being aligned with your own moral compass, your awake heart.

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By living in accord with the practices of mindfulness and compassion, you have a much better shot at creating change that is meaningful, without forcing or changing major aspects of who you are. You don’t have to work so hard at this idea; you can just let your bodhicitta naturally transform your environment. After all, the second biggest regret on that list was “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”1839

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The difference between a pebble and a mountain lies in whom you ask to move it. —Marcus Buckingham1852

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If we want to do all the various things we aspire to do, we must play to our strengths while relying on others.1864

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A fundamental principle of leadership is that we need to engage others, work with their skill sets, and encourage the people with whom we collaborate.1869

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The Six Ways of Ruling are based in the idea that we are all already the king.1879

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The Six Ways of Ruling are about being benevolent, true, genuine, fearless, artful, and rejoicing.1888

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each of us has the ability to lead others, once we develop a sense of confidence in our innate wisdom. That confidence is where the sense of regality comes from. Furthermore, the Six Ways of Ruling teach that you can be successful at leadership positions when you act primarily on behalf of others. Putting others’ happiness before your own is a surefire way to earn the trust of your coworkers and creates fluid communication among everyone.1889

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There is a fine line between being selfish—when your motivation is to do anything possible to make sure you come out on top—and taking care of yourself so you can be of assistance to others.1905

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You can spot good leaders because they are able to simultaneously take care of themselves while taking care of others.1909

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a leader can simultaneously hold a long-term vision and act in a way that accomplishes what needs to happen right now.1919

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Marcus Buckingham, the best-selling author and founder of the leadership development platform Stand Out, once said, “If you want to understand leadership, you have to understand it through the impact a leader has on followers. The word leadership explodes into meaninglessness if you don’t think about it from that perspective. What a leader does for followers is turn anxiety into confidence.”1927

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the best way to judge a leader is by analyzing the people whom he or she leads.1933

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THE BENEVOLENT LEADER The Oxford English Dictionary defines benevolent as “well-meaning and kindly.” In the context of the Six Ways of Ruling, however, benevolence means more than just meaning well; it is actively engaging kindness so that the lives of the people you are leading are changed for the better.1939

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One aspect of being accommodating is recognizing that people suffer.1946

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You are taking a holistic look at your work situation rather than focusing on deadlines alone.1951

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GENTLENESS AND HUMOR- velvet hammer in mind. The hammer is a tool that accomplishes what needs to get done. Yet the velvet makes it soft, gentle, and thus people are more likely to respect it.1962

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Often when you offer space to someone, their aggression naturally fizzles. You are not pouring fuel on the fire of their anger, and without it, the heat of aggression gradually fades out.1983

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how silly it was for me to be angry at this abusive person. His words only carried the weight I allow them to carry.1994

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place.”2 Instead of meeting someone on the battlefield of aggression, you can meet them in the spacious playground of shared innate wisdom.2001

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In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. —Thomas Jefferson2009

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“If you are telling the truth, then you can speak gently, and your words will have power.”12016

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When we talk about being true in the Shambhala context, we should be clear that the term does not refer to insisting on the truth of a particular opinion or idea. True, in this context, means being true to the view of basic goodness.2022

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Really being true, then, simply means being in tune with your core wisdom.2024

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you are basically good, and others are basically good,2025

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if you want to lead others, you need to let go of the notion that you can do everything at once. You need to focus, bringing yourself fully to whatever task is at hand2036

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AN UNWAVERING PRESENCE- She was constantly true to her conviction in her goodness, as well as the goodness of the demanding person she was encountering.2052

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True is not puffing up your ego to think you’re the best or better than anyone. It is confidence that everyone possesses basic goodness and that therefore you will be able to resolve whatever issue arises.2058

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When you are true to yourself in this way, you spontaneously act with integrity. There is something about you that comes across as completely sane. That mountain-like steadiness is apparent to everyone, and they see that you will not flinch at the light breeze of other people’s neuroses. There is something so reliable about that; people grow to trust you as a result.2060

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There is a sense of ease in working with people when we are true.2071

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charismatic behavior can be broken down into three basic elements: presence, power, and warmth.2077

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When you are true, there is no them that we need to conquer or subjugate; there is only us.2092

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When you devote yourself to being true, you are connecting with the most intimate part of who you are and putting it on display.2099

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Genuine in this sense is not just being clear and direct. It involves pointing out the exact nature of things.2109

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Genuine is based in knowing what is in your mind and heart, which is true, and not being afraid of it. We can genuinely be who we are.2112

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When you are genuine, you are able to discern what needs to happen in any given moment, based on the wisdom of your own understanding.2117

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In some sense, genuine is merely pointing out the reality of any given moment. It is highlighting your own wisdom and creating a map for others to discover their own.2123

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When you are genuine, you are offering other people the opportunity to meet you in that state of mind. You are opening the door to the reality of what is going on, which is not always pretty.2150

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if you are lost in your own sense of the way things should be, and not realizing the way they are, then you are merely displaying your ideas and opinions, which is not necessarily genuine either. In this case, you may mean well, but you yourself are engaging in bullshit.2154

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You know how it feels when you are not genuine. Often, it feels like you are living half a life. You are more prone to distraction, and you aren’t truly happy.2162

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“Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”2167

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encouraged us to give up our genuineness. One aspect of this teaching points to the idea that being genuine actually has nothing to do with us. Being genuine is not about being smarter than others or having the best plan or the most important insights. It is that we are able to see a clear course of action and point to it. Pointing out the logic behind a situation is always about benefiting others.

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When you are genuine, you make things easier for others. This is actually very simple. You are in tune with who you are, and thus are not lost in your own neurotic garbage.2172

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Mantra is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “to protect the mind.”2185

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When someone recites a mantra, they are engaging in a meditation practice that cuts through harmful habitual patterns and focuses their attention on a more noble aspiration, thus protecting their mind from negativity and fortifying it with virtue.2185

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choose the phrase that makes the most sense to you as an antidote to whatever emotional disturbance you’re currently experiencing. If you notice that you are lost in your own melodrama, you could recite the phrase Come back to the present, or if you are on your way to meet someone you have a hard time with, you could recite kindness as a reminder to treat them gently and with consideration. As you count your repetitions, reflect on the meaning of the word or phrase, coming back to that just as you come back to the breath during shamatha practice. Whenever you engage in this practice, take a moment at the end of your recitation to raise your gaze and rest with whatever feeling has arisen.2210

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The Six Ways of Ruling are divided into two broad categories: just and powerful. The first three principles—benevolent, true, and genuine—are about manifesting in a way that feels just when working with others. The next three qualities fall under the heading of powerful. All six embody the Mahayana aspiration of helping all beings we encounter.2223

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It does not matter how much wealth you accumulate or how many titles you hold; true power comes from working for the welfare of others.2227

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Fearlessness is not about ignoring fear or running away from it—quite the opposite. Fearlessness is about looking at our fear, learning it well, and seeing our way through it. We must become familiar with our fear if we want to experience fearlessness.2238

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Fearlessness is based in the idea that in order to truly deal with your phobias, you need to confront them with an open heart and mind. Eventually, through repetition, meditation, and possibly even therapy, you can work through them.2250

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Fear is powered by story lines, and fearlessness is powered by innate goodness.2254

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When those fears come up, the instruction is to label them thinking and return our attention to our breathing.2258

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We end up feeling more liberated, knowing that our fear is not as solid and real as it initially appeared.2272

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As you become familiar with fear, you discover that you hold the ability to let it wash over you and walk through its fog into the brilliant and clear space of fearlessness. The story lines that are associated with fear will continue to come up in your life, but you always have the choice not to get hooked by them and instead reside in your fearless state, your own basic goodness.2277

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Sakyong wrote in Ruling Your World, “Fear is a state of mind. Fearlessness is our nature.”2282

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It is much better to rest in our nature than to engage a state of mind that only causes us suffering.2283

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One way fear manifests at work is through extreme hesitancy. When you are disconnected from your own basic goodness, you have cut yourself off from your inner voice. You cannot make decisions based on the principle of being true to your wisdom, because you are too fearful to trust that it even exists. One way fearlessness manifests at work is through freedom from hesitancy. If you can move beyond uncertainty in your basic goodness, then you can move beyond hesitation in making whatever decisions need to be made.

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When you face tough decisions, there will only be yes and no. There are not a lot of maybes when you are fearless, because you are genuine and thus you see the logic behind why things need to happen. Having determined the logical way forward, you know you ought to act decisively, and you feel the impetus to follow through on that logic. That is fearlessness at work.

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Furthermore, if you act indecisively, you are only inspiring others to question your decision-making ability. This is not to say that you should lead from a sense of false confidence and just proclaim decisions for the sake of getting things done. That would only delay the questioning of your decision-making ability. Instead, if you are connected to the first three of the Six Ways of Ruling, you can lead from a place of confidence in your goodness, in what is good for others, and in the logical path forward. You will inspire confidence in others through this form of leadership, as opposed to waffling on whether your decisions are the right ones and inspiring doubt. This is the methodical aspect of fearlessness: you are efficient in your work and others appreciate your bold decisions.2284

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Pema Chödrön once said, “A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next.”2302

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Fearlessness in the face of uncertainty is a powerful weapon for good.2304

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In order to overcome the hold that fear has on us, we need to confront it fully. Doing so, we end up kinder, more compassionate, and more open to helping others through their fear.2321

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Fear will always arise in new forms as we go about our lives. To embrace it when it arises not as obstacle but as journey is a brilliant learning experience.2323

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I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues. —Franklin D. Roosevelt2327

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Artfulness is the fifth of the Six Ways of Ruling. It is the ability to flow with your life, as opposed to measuring it out in exact terms. It is seeing what needs to happen and making it happen, utilizing the skill sets at your disposal. When you are successful at being artful, everything looks effortless.2341

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In order to truly be artful, you have to manifest a genuine presence. If you practice the first three ways of ruling discussed thus far, then you are already in touch with and acting from your own goodness. You are already presenting your most authentic self. As a result, people will be drawn to you.2344

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Skill sets can be easily taught; things like presence and communication are harder to train someone in.2359

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arranging your kingdom.2364

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Tina Fey made the point, “In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.”2372

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Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche once said that an artful leader cares about all of the details of people’s lives, from the type of clothing they wear to how they advance professionally.2378

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If you want your work to flow seamlessly, you need to know when to act and when to give space to a situation.2383

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An artful leader is one who gives others the space to discover their own wisdom.2387

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Another aspect of artfulness is knowing when not to act at all.2393

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be our best selves when we actually listen to others and take their opinions into account. The more space you give other people to discover their wisdom—even if that messes with your preconceived notions of what ought to be happening—the more they will come to trust and respect you.2397

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A skillful leader sees the unique qualities in others and places them in positions that allow them to shine and feel empowered, while bettering the situation at hand.2423

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it is foolish that we waste so much time complaining about what we do not have instead of rejoicing in our good fortune.2440

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This ability to rejoice in the midst of great pressure is one of the things that make the Sakyong an incredible leader.2486

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“Celebration is an attitude.” Celebration is not empty sake bottles or happy-hour Budweisers. It is an attitude of appreciating our life as it is. That is the example the Sakyong sets: if we are able to be aware of the present moment, celebration comes naturally.2507

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Rejoicing is a direct outcome of combining the previous five methods of leadership. When you are benevolent to others, are true to your own goodness, can genuinely point out the logic in a given situation, are fearless in presenting that goodness and logic, and are artful in your execution, a great deal can be accomplished. When that happens, it’s only natural to party.2510

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the Buddhist path involves examining your natural state, without taking too much stock in the confusion that swirls around that.2531

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our basic goodness is always available to us.2540

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When we have developed prajna and see reality as it actually is, as opposed to how we might want it to be, we spontaneously know how to act in a way that is skillful and helpful.2551

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In today’s world, engaging in the process of slowing down and discovering that you aren’t, in fact, basically struggling and pitiful but are instead good and worthy is countercultural.2562

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If we long to be our most authentic self, then we need to overcome this obstacle and develop true confidence in our own goodness and our unique abilities.2568

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One aspect of developing confidence in your basic nature is realizing that you are not your obstacles.2570

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A core belief in the Buddhist tradition is anatman, a Sanskrit term that translates as “not-self.” It is the idea that you are not the set, solid being that you think you are. You are a fluid, constantly evolving and changing person who can play a variety of roles and embody a variety of qualities over time. You are not a permanent expression of the labels you put on yourself but more of a fluid entity that shifts in accordance with what comes up in your life.2591

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How we respond to obstacles is what actually defines us.2600

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we can look to all of the imperfect aspects of our life as opportunities to learn more about ourselves and our world.2603

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You are not this heavy, solid thing but a vast conglomeration of knowledge and experience that is ever-changing. Similarly, when you face an obstacle, you should think of it in the same impermanent, fluid way.2606

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Everything is workable. If you have confidence in the fact that you are basically good—that this is the deepest reality about who you are—then every situation you encounter becomes an opportunity to be of benefit to yourself and others. Every situation gives you a chance to develop faith in your own abilities.2617

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The more you align yourself with the present moment, the more you will be able to practice upaya, the skillful or expedient means that spontaneously arise when you are grounded in seeing the reality of a situation. When you do that you can act from the standpoint of your basic goodness, allowing your obstacle to serve as a jumping-off point for further continuity of your basic state of awake.2622

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a dakini might manifest as a meditational deity upon whom we can focus to inspire qualities within us or as a wrathful protector of the teachings.2643

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achieved awakening by taking on humble work, committing fully to it, and making it a part of his spiritual practice.2660

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he pinpointed the aspects of himself that he needed to work on, and chipped away at his negative habitual patterns2674

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we need to consider our livelihood from the perspective of how it can help us to hammer away at our neurosis, instead of encourage it.2700

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The third moral of the story of Tilopa, from my personal point of view, is that we may be surprised by the effect this level of commitment has on others.2707

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The author and Tibetan Buddhist teacher Ken McLeod has translated these six words as follows: Don’t recall. Don’t imagine. Don’t think. Don’t examine. Don’t control. Rest. He has also provided a slightly longer translation as an aid in understanding this very short text: Let go of what has passed. Let go of what may come. Let go of what is happening now. Don’t try to figure anything out. Don’t try to make anything happen. Relax, right now, and rest.2726

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Dwelling in what has already passed is like living in a cinema. You may get some sort of satisfaction from the experience, but eventually the lights come up and you return to a reality that differs from the one you had been enjoying.2744

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Don’t feel that you need to intellectualize anything. Instead of getting lost in his own head, your friend could drop the idea that he has to figure out exactly what is going on.2761

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We should just relax and rest with right now. We should just be available to the present moment, as it is.2770

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In the Buddhist context, giving up means that you are surrendering everything that is holding you back from experiencing reality in a direct and pure manner.2780

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The strongest and most efficient leaders I know are the ones who are artful enough to drop their own sense of what needs to happen and empower other people to make things run smoothly.2787

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A true guru is an individual who has fully let go of their ego, embraced a set of teachings, and embodies those teachings in a real and living manner.2802

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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has pointed out that when we hit the roadblock of boredom on the meditation cushion, we should not look to other factors to make us less bored. If you are sitting there with your own mind, then it is only you that is boring. Finding a more experienced teacher is not going to make your mind more fascinating.2813

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That means that every life situation is already sacred and wonderful. Obstacles are not obstacles; with the right perspective, they are already workable situations. In this sense, we aren’t transmuting anything other than our point of view.2872

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There is a common practice used in improvisational comedy troupes that may prove helpful in learning how to surrender into life’s situations. It is known as the “yes and” rule.2881

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In fact, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche has said that the aim of Shambhala Buddhist training is to “become a real person who can help others.”12898

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When you start contemplating the Vajrayana path, you may think that something radical will change within you. That’s not really the case; you are simply becoming more you. The idea of basic goodness is that more you is exactly what this world needs. When you are your most authentic self, you can serve the world in a powerful way.2902

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wangthang, which can be directly translated as “field of power.”2907

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When you exhibit wangthang, this authentic presence, people are magnetized to you.2912

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he tells us to step away from thoughts of the future, thoughts of the past, and even busying our mind or trying to control this present moment, and to just rest. That is the same advice that Atisha is offering here. Rest your mind.3011

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absolute teachings of the Mahayana are about developing the realization that you and others—and all phenomena as well—are empty of an absolute self, or ego.3024

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We are constantly looking at our life as full of snakes, when really they are just ropes lying everywhere.3032

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The Mahayana path is based in giving up our time, energy, money—really everything we have—in order to benefit others. This letting-go process destroys me-based thinking. You realize that you can offer yourself fully to your work and your world without losing anything. When you engage the bodhisattva path, you only gain.3044

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as we continue on our journey, we realize that so much of how we achieve these goals is based in just being present to this very moment.3056

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don’t focus on results, focus on the process.3064

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we should train wholeheartedly. We need to be single-minded in bringing our full and most authentic self to every moment of our life.3067

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if you remember to live a life based in an experience of basic goodness, things flow naturally.3087

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Decks in Book Notes Class (70):