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Before you begin

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche 2004, Nalanda West Inauguration. Photo by Ryszard Frackiewicz.

If you’re interested in “meeting the Buddha” and following the spiritual path he described, then there are a few things you should know before you begin. First, Buddhism is primarily a study of mind and a system for training the mind. It is spiritual in nature, not religious. Its goal is self-knowledge, not salvation; freedom, not heaven. It relies on reason and analysis, contemplation and meditation, to transform knowledge about something into knowledge that surpasses understanding. But without your curiosity and questions, there is no path, no journey to be taken, even if you adopt all the forms of the tradition.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, from Rebel Buddha, A Guide to a Revolution of Mind

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Challenging our cultural conditioning

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

It’s not an easy thing to challenge your cultural conditioning, to break through its constraints, and then to go further and penetrate the more subtle conditioning of your own mind. But that’s the nature of the search for truth that frees you from illusion. When I think of that freedom and finding the courage to break through the icy formalities of my own perfectionist Asian culture, I always recall the ancient Indian prince, Siddhartha, whose accomplishment still stands as a perfect example of a revolution of mind: a one-pointed search for the truth that led to his full awakening and freedom from all cultural and psychological bondage. He wanted nothing from the outside world. He was not on some emotional trip with an agenda of personal glorification and power. He simply wanted to know what was true and what was mere illusion. His sincerity and courage have always inspired me, and they can be an inspiration for anyone’s search for truth and enlightenment.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

from Rebel Buddha, A Guide to a Revolution of Mind

Ponlop Rinpoche on YouTube:   Living in Confusion?

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