Friday, July 8, 2011


Tibetan lama Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche (pictured left) spent his childhood as a shepherd.

In due course he succeeded in becoming a khenpo [abbot] widely renowned for his erudition and practice.

In 1959, at the age of 27, he fled Tibet with a group of 65 people under a hail of bullets. Only 5 of them survived. 

Rinpoche was learned in all four (main) schools of Tibetan Buddhism and was renowned and loved throughout the Tibetan world.

He died in 1999.

Rinpoche wrote some very insightful pieces on mindfulness.

Here are some lines from a poem (of sorts) of his, variously entitled ‘Mind’s Mirror’ and ‘The Mirror of Mindfulness’:

Whenever I am seen, mindfulness is maintained. I am the mirror of mindfulness.
Express clearly your careful mindfulness. Do not become distracted by laziness.
Watch the essence of the mind!
Mindfulness is the root of the Dharma.
Mindfulness is the body of practice.
Mindfulness is the fortress of the mind.
Lack of mindfulness will allow the negative forces to overcome you.
Without mindfulness you will be swept away by laziness.
Lack of mindfulness is the creator of evil deeds.
Without mindfulness and presence of mind,
Nothing can be accomplished.
Lack of mindfulness piles up shit.
Without mindfulness you sleep in an ocean of piss.
Without mindfulness you are like a heartless zombie, a walking corpse.

A heap of shit. An ocean of piss. A heartless zombie. A walking corpse. Strong stuff perhaps, but hopefully you get the point.

There is no ‘way’ to mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ‘way’ ... and the ‘destination’ ... even though there is no 'place' to go.

If you want to manage your mind, practise mindfulness ... for mindfulness is the fortress of the mind.

In another translation of this piece of writing, the author refers to mindfulness as the ‘friend of self-aware wisdom’. I like that.

Recently, when addressing a group of young people, I was asked by one of those present what, in my opinion, was the root cause of our mental dis-ease. My answer? ‘Too much thinking.’ Yes, that was not an original statement of mine, but virtually nothing is!

If you want an unruly mind, that is, a ‘heap of shit’, keep thinking mindlessly.

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