1) Before you begin practicing Buddhism ask yourself what
Buddhism is and why you want to practice it. Later, if you become a
practicing Buddhist, you will find that right motivation is essential to
all elements of the Buddhist life. In fact, there is no Buddhist life
without right motivation.
2) Discipline yourself. Work with a plan. Have time allotted for
meditation and study and stick to it without clinging unreasonably. If
a time conflict arises because of a necessary appointment, adjust
your schedule to accommodate it, and make up the time missed for
3) Be kind to others because you are a kind person; and know
that being kind in a contrived way misses the point. This will require
a lot of work.
4) Seemingly “new” obstacles appear as soon as a serious
practice is begun. Know that these obstacles are not new at all, but
only your awareness of them is new. As the saying goes: “The
Buddha grows a foot, and the demon is already ten feet tall.”
5) First understand the consequences of wrong ways and then
6) Practice a completely balanced path. Meditation, study, yoga,
kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, generosity, patience, energy,
moral and ethical discipline, etc., all equally illumine the Path.
Because this is so, our active world is a potent source of spiritual
7) Sincerity will draw out the Buddha’s compassion even if your
practice is incorrect. Do not be afraid to begin because you are not
sure how. Be sincere and apply great effort; your practice may not
seem right and indeed may not be right, but will become right if
your heart is right. Believe in yourself.
8) The full lotus posture is the most symmetrical posture for
meditation; but it is not essential. If full lotus is difficult for you, try
to overcome the difficulty by practice. If after some months of
stretching and enduring pain the posture is not yet natural, adopt a
posture that is comfortable with the spine straight.
9) Eat right. Food can be very entertaining, but shouldn't'’t be.
We should eat food that is nourishing and eat it with mindfulness
and thanksgiving. Always stop before being full as this promotes
digestions and prevents sluggishness. Avoid those foods which lead
to heaviness and torpor.
10) Sleep is an “unfixed dharma” and as such there is no
amount that is right for everyone. Discover your needs and avoid
unnecessary sleep. Remember that false thinking makes you tired.
11) Meditation often seems to bring out the worst in us; often
causing novices to think they were better off before they started.
But, the fact is that meditation just brings the worst to the surface
where we can see it. It is this seeing that is so vital to overcoming
disturbing emotions and other faults.
12) Desires of all kinds, particularly sexual desire, must be
disciplined. This is how they are brought into the Path. Harnessing
our desires, rather than following after them, is very empowering.
13) Buddhist and Hindu scriptures taught Tantra as a means to
enhance Samadhi, the trance of great yogis often accompanied by
long periods of breathlessness. For most great yogis a physical
partner is unnecessary, but is occasionally prescribed for great yogis
who had already cut off common sexual desire.
14) Tantra as taught in the New Age community is a simple
fraud. Within each individual are male and female energies. It is
these energies that genuine Tantra aims at uniting. In stillness,
examine the active, thinking, aggressive side, and the passive feeling,
receptive side of your own mind. Uniting these is Tantra.
15) Do not try to get off cheap. Practicing the dharma requires
16) Make vows you can keep. Negative action that violates a
vow bear heavier consequences than if the vow had never been
made. Typical vows discipline sexual activity, eating, sleep,
entertainment and other sources of energy outflows. Make vows for
short periods of time and gradually lengthen the time.
17) Beware of the person who is trying to help you. Good
teachers are tight-lipped. Those offering unsolicited advice generally
are more interested in displaying their knowledge than benefiting
anyone. Great knowledge whispers.
18) Do not place too much importance on uncommon mental
states and mistake them as signs of genuine achievement. Some
individuals have many experiences while meditating, while others
have none. The absence or abundance of visions, etc is not
indicative of achievement.
19) Objects seem to bring happiness, but it is really the mind
that empowers them. That is why some objects bring happiness to
some, but not others. This being the case, stop empowering objects
with your mind.
20) The mind naturally turning inward is an early sign of
21) Achievement is relative. Don’t worry about how little
achievement you have (compared to others), but only your failure to
22) Buddhist practice makes the saintly more so and the worldly
23) The Buddha is an “equal opportunity employer.” There is
no high or low in Buddhism. Anyone can practice Buddhism.
24) If you think that you have had a spiritual experience, seek
out a genuine master to certify it before accepting it as such.
25) In the beginning the contrast between spiritual practice and
worldly activity is very clear; but as years move along they become
26) Beware of "The Self-proclaimed Enlightened Ones." These
are "teachers" who have no lineage, profess great insight, and yet
their insight is only verified by themselves.
27) Popularity is no indication whatsoever the worth of a
"teacher." Truly great music has relatively few fans.
28) There are two kinds of monk: those who earn their rice and
those who don't. Don't be fooled by the robe.
29) The Buddhist "Three year retreat" does not come with a
guarantee. The county jail has many in retreat, too.
30) The so called power of "Now" is a naive attempt to
leapfrog karma and be in a blissful present. Karma gets a big laugh
out of this. This New Age idea is not to be confused with Zen,
Chan, Dzogchen, or other Buddhist schools of "Sudden
31) Better to study the authenticate teachings of the Buddha
with friends; than follow a teacher with no credentials and whose
understanding is not certified.
32) You will know you are making progress when you realize
that you are a beginner------ after years of practice.
33) Never assume you are a Buddhist just because you study
Buddhism and practice Buddhist meditation etc. Attaching to the
form of a practice can become a bigger obstruction than not
practicing at all.
34) Make offerings to great teachers---even if they are far away.
You will feel the benefit of your sacrifice in meditation.
35) If you wear the robe of a monk or nun, earn it or return it.
36) "Leave well enough alone" and you will have time to do
37) Live in the moment, not the moment you wish for.
38) Our words are the most powerful tools we have and will
serve us better than any physical strength or beauty will ever be able
to. No matter how beautiful, handsome, or homely we may be, there
is nothing that can adorn us like our words. Others will be attracted
to us or repelled far more because of what we say than how we
look, what we wear, or where we live. Our real clothing is the words
we speak; that is what people will know us by and remember us by,
and that is why we should guard our thoughts and speak
thoughtfully, considerately, and respectfully.
39) It is impossible to find the best way for yourself by paying
attention to others.
40) Some people say Karma doesn't matter. Karma says some
people don't matter.
41) If you find yourself stagnating in a practice; don't blame the
practice. Renew your energy, focus, and try scrutinize your attitude
toward your practice. Make sure that subtle attachment to the form
of your practice is not undermining your effort.
42) Results come when they are earned. Be happy in the
practice itself. It takes time for your practice to mirror the mind's
43) Don't sell the Dharma.
44) Don't buy the Dharma.
45) Keep your practice to yourself unless asked specifically
about it. Do not talk about the Dharma casually or at inappropriate
46) Learn to practice during the many idle moments of the day.
Keep a thread of self awareness alive as much as possible
throughout the day. This way when you do sit down to meditate you
will focus immediately with few scattered thoughts to push aside.
47) Happiness is not lots of sparkling white teeth bursting
between the lips.
48) Never say you don't care what others think, because you do
care; it is demonstrated by your denial.
49) If you care what others think; ask yourself if you should
care. Assess the value of others' opinions. Cultivate friendships that
will help you develop inner understanding and avoid those that don't.
50) Vegetarianism is an aid to practice but it does not
necessarily make you a better Buddhist than one who isn't. The
important thing is deep compassion.
51) Buddha is as Buddha does; you are as you do.
52) The Buddhist scholar who does not seek experience,
confines himself to a mere intellectual appreciation. Experiential
realization is the culmination of a practice that balances study and
53) Beware of too much intelligence. You can't cheat the
54) Skill in logic and debate must be balanced with the
cultivation of virtue and merit. Debating skills that are not founded
on a moral, virtuous, and ethical foundation cannot dissolve
55) Cultivate the path you understand; even if it is not regarded
as the "Supreme." If you are building a house and are unskilled in
the use of power tools, you will do a better job using tools you
know how to use---even though a more skilled craftsman may do
better with the more advanced tools.
56) Life is fatal; there is no cure. Therefore strive to know
57) Meaningful words are seldom many.
58) A penny on the track is not going to stop the freight train of
59) If you want to become enlightened, you must first make
60) If you wish to be smart with words; use fewer of them.
61) The study of Buddhism is to learn to ask the right questions
rather than find answers.
62) The 'now" is not a refuge that we can step into leaving our
baggage at the door. However, the baggage itself, when rightly
viewed, may itself become a door.
63) An enthusiasm to answer all your questions is the mark of
an unqualified teacher.
64) The reason we all see our world differently is because we all
judge it differently and not because we are all perceiving a different
65) Never judge thoughts as good or bad; thinking some are
OK to have while others are not. They are all OK; your awareness
of them makes them so.
66) Belief is a lazy man’s substitute for understanding.
67) When we die many of us will regret not spending more
time with those close to us; and it is a pity that few will regret not
spending more time with themselves.
68) Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself; it may be
the best advice you ever get.
69) Robes often confuse those who wear them as much as
those who don't.
70) Every single day, in the midst of our ordinary lives, there
are many opportunities to go into retreat by not seeking what is
unnecessary, and paying greater attention to what is.
71) Stand in the shadow of your good works and never in front
72) Just as a good actor studies the entire play, and not merely
his part, a Buddhist assures his meditation is on target by
familiarizing himself with the philosophical basis for the Buddhist
73) Whenever the aspiration to teach overshadows the
aspiration to learn we need to shut up.
74) If you are a shoe maker, your concern should be to make
good shoes. Where people walk in them is their business.
75) The real challenge in life is not getting things done, but
getting away with leaving things undone.
76) If you practice generosity, you will always have the
resources for that practice. If you are stingy, you will not enjoy the
resources that you have.
77) Although it has been suggested by some that the practice of
Buddhism is best accomplished by learning Tibetan, this is entirely
unnecessary. One needn't study a guide to France in French.
78) People who like to talk allot, have the least to say. The root
of this talking disease is not being truly engaged with oneself.
Meaningful words are seldom many.
79) Mistakes, easy to make, difficult to correct..
80) If you believe that you are unhappy because you have few
possessions, then having many possessions would increase that
81) Fully appreciating what is, and leaving to rest thoughts of
what is not, is living in abundance.
82) When the mind is calm and free of disturbance, and has
been so for some time, we should peer into it and maintain the
question, "Who is experiencing this stillness." Done properly, this
stillness will not be disturbed, any more than the calmness of a lake
is disturbed by our gazing into it.
83) Meditation is like shadow boxing; post-meditation, the real
84) Negative feelings are the burden of those who bear them.
85) It is more important to learn from an argument than win it.
86) Faith should never stifle self reliance, and belief should not
lead to intellectual laziness.
88) If you want to be sensitive to the needs of others; be less
89) "Openness" does not imply a failure to discriminate.
90) Those with the least to say, talk the most. Those with the
most to say, talk the least. A ripe student does much with little
instruction; an unripe student does little with much instruction.
91) When anger is the motivation, it does not matter if the
words are true or false. Anger destroys all meaning.
92) An open heart the Buddha guards and protects; a closed
heart is our own responsibility.
93) Wisdom is the thirst to know; not the thirst to know
94) A good teacher is one who leads his disciple to discover
who he really is and that the seed of enlightenment is already within,
and need not be planted, but only watered.
95) Contemplate the mind that runs out, not what it runs out
96) Be beautiful inside, live beautiful outside, and welcome
97) Live for the moment; your future depends on it.
99) If meditation becomes like a wall to keep things out, it will
also keep things in.
100) Love may be blind, but anger doesn't see any better.
101) Delighting in one's own peaceful state while meditating is like staring in the
mirror thinking how beautiful or handsome you are.
102) A good teaching does not explain anything, but indicates it.
103) Meditation battles are best won by being conquered.
104) When practicing meditation do not pick up hitch hikers.
Do mix mundane thoughts with meditation or cut them off, just let
them rise and fall.
105) One thing you will never find and that is a stingy dead
person. Generosity at the time of death is about as grand a gesture
as surrendering your valuables while being robbed at gun point.
106) When you feel there is no where to turn, try off.
107) If you feel alone in the world it may be because you only
think of yourself.
108) If death is not clearly understood; life certainly won't be.
109) Big view of self, big target. Small view of self, small
target. No view of self, no target.
110) We can never step out of the shadow of our deeds.
111) Don't worry about what the future may bring, because if
you do, you will worry about the same thing in the future.
(112) Rejoice in the success of others; it is the quickest way to
(113) We don't lack anything; we just haven't arranged things
(114) Some of us are so busy trying to stay in touch with others,
that we get out of touch with ourselves.
(115) While everyone seeks distinction, to be "somebody,"
the wise seek to be "ordinary and nothing special," to be "nobody."
Why?---- - Because---- Nobody's perfect.
(116) If someone else is speaking, and you cannot get a word in
edgewise, try listening.
(117) The only way to silence the mind is to listen.
(118) That unexpected moment of disappointment will be just
that, a moment, unless you hold on to it.
(119) If you fail to accept failure, you have truly failed.
(120) The world can offer you everything you want except a
place to put it.
(121) Desire and greed steal away the reins of free time when we
lack the mental vigilance to prevent them.
(122) Before seeking a solution; make sure the problem is
(123) A pat on the back, warms the heart --- encourage others.
(124) Conditions may make us miserable, but if we stay
miserable it is our fault.
(125) There is no end to things to do; but there is a limit to
what we can do well.
(126) Time doesn't wait, it dictates.
(127) Breaking rules is an art learnt by keeping them.
(128) The fool needs a wise person to teach him; the wise
person can learn from the fool.
(129) We do things because we don't know what to do with
ourselves; not because we know what to do with ourselves.
130) If you cannot refrain from judging people, judge them as a
junk collector judges trash, always looking for what may be of value.
131) Concentration is gathering all thoughts to a single point.
Wisdom knows where to direct them.
133) If you have practiced little or no meditation and think it a
complete waste of time, then the best thing for you to do is waste
134) Contentment is a virtue that often slips into complacency
which it is not.
135) The unforgiving are hurt more by not forgiving than the
136) Rejoice in the success of others; it is the quickest way to
137) We talk so much that we forget to say what need be
138) Some people talk much but communicate little. Some
people talk little but communicate much. And, some people just talk.
139) If weary, rest. Never give up.
140) Expectations pave disappointments way.
141) If you want to get the last laugh, die laughing.
142) A person who cannot enjoy being alone, cannot be good
143) Knowing when to break a rule is an art learned from
144) The majority may rule, but they all may be wrong. Always
think for yourself.
145) If the world followed the general consensus we would
have no progress; it is because of those who didn't that we have
146) If you find yourself talking to yourself, keep talking and
see if you can make any sense of what you are saying. If not, change
the topic and try again.
147) Thoughts are either running us over, dragging us around
or our servants, carrying us along. In this sense, they are like a
wheel, which we can be beneath, turned round and round on, or put
to use to carry us along.
148) If others think you have nothing to say it may be because
you talk too much. Close your mouth, think before you speak, and
when you have something to say, say it.
149) Think straight like an arrow, speak direct to the point
unless there isn't one, in which case, save your breath.
150) Pay attention to what you are thinking. It is the best
investment you can make.
151) Sympathetic criticism is supportive. Check yourself before
152) If you are a teacher, learn from those you teach; if you are
a student, learn from those who teach, and if you are neither,
become one or the other.
153) As long as you're good company, keep to yourself.
154) Good friendships grow slowly and their roots go deep.
155) Be more afraid of what you think others think than what
156) Happiness is not brought in from outside, but let out from
158) Not only are we “known by the company we keep,” but we
become like the company we keep.
The following "points" are my own thoughts on practice in a nutshell.