There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.
Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.
Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it.
Practicing Dharma is the supreme method for improving the quality of our human life. The quality of life depends not on external development or material progress, but on the inner development of peace and happiness. For example, in the past many Buddhists lived in poor and underdeveloped countries, but they were able to find pure, lasting happiness by practicing what Buddha had taught.
The spirituality of Buddhism deals with the ways and means of attaining enlightenment, discovering Buddha within through the aid of great teachers and the diligent practice of meditation. It has always been emphasized that one does not purely practice the dharma, but one becomes the dharma.
To take refuge in the Buddha means to take refuge in the dharmas that constitute a buddha (a nonlearner). These consist of a buddha’s knowledge of the termination and nonarising [of the obscurations]. Together with the associated factors [of this knowledge], they consist of the five uncontaminated skandhas.
To take refuge in the sangha means [to take refuge] in the dharmas that constitute the sangha, which consists of [all] learners and nonlearners except for buddhas. It is by virtue of having attained their respective [dharmas] that the eight persons* are not separated from the path by [anyone], including gods. Therefore, they are called ‘sangha.’ In other words, [the sangha] is represented by the five uncontaminated skandhas in the mind streams of said eight persons.
To take refuge in the dharma means [to take refuge] in the analytical cessation that is nirvana, that is, the two nirvanas [with and without remainder] of the noble ones.
*The eight persons are also known as ‘the four pairs of persons’—stream-enterers, once-returners, nonreturners, and arhats, each divided into approachers to, and abiders in, these states.
At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.
Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.