Are we, including me, now on the path of accumulation, the path of joining, or not even on the path at all? The lowest level, or the first step, of the path of joining begins with uncontrived bodhicitta which will arise only after we have the conviction to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings. Do we have uncontrived bodhicitta now? If not, we cannot be deemed having entered the gate of Mahayana Buddhism. In fact, we are no better than the rest of the ordinary people, and are more than likely to cycle through the animal realm time and again, most possibly as carnivores.
How to learn Buddhadharma is very important. If Buddhists don’t dedicate efforts to hear, contemplate and meditate the teachings, focusing instead on the rituals such as attending pujas, tsok, fire offering and empowerment ceremonies, burning expensive incense and worshiping the deities, among others, the real meaning of learning the Dharma would still be missing even if these are all done with great sincerity. Although a properly conducted empowerment is needed and useful, absent the practice of hearing, contemplation and meditation, the Buddha’s thought and teachings will not be propagated effectively. Holding concerns for personal health, longevity, money, work, family, etc. as their ultimate goal, Buddhist followers can neither benefit from practicing the Dharma nor actualize the path to liberation. And Buddhadharma ends up losing its real core value.
~Depicted from THE HANDBOOK'S FOR LIFE JOURNEY - On The Three Poisons-How to Confront Anger
Patrul Rinpoche once said: “If renunciation and bodhicitta are absent, a person cannot sow the seeds of liberation even after nine years of Dzogchen retreat.” We ought to reflect deeply on this statement: it is the most sublime Dzogchen that one spends not a few days or several months but nine years to practice; in terms of methodology, it is undertaken in retreat away from any contact with the world outside; despite this, one cannot sow the seeds of liberation because one does not have renunciation and bodhicitta. This should be enough of a warning. Without renunciation and bodhicitta, we may find ourselves in a position wherein the cause of liberation cannot be established even after nine years of Dzogchen practice! Thus, renunciation and bodhicitta are extremely important to any practitioner.
~Depicted from GATEWAY TO THE VAJRAYANA PATH - Entering the Vajrayana Path
In Buddhism, “self” can be divided into two kinds: one is “self in person”; the other is “self in phenomena.” Here, self is called “bdag” in Tibetan. Although the Chinese written word for “self” is the same for “I, me,” it does not necessarily mean “I,” as in “you and I,” but things having real and substantive existence.