Uncommon Happiness: The Path of the Compassionate Warrior
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From 2005 to 2007, teacher Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche gave classes on Buddhist scholar Shantideva’s The Way of the Boddhisattva at a noted retreat center in Northern California. His commentaries revealed such a deep understanding that practitioner Marcia Binder Schmidt decided to collect them for other students of Buddhism as an independent work. This book is the result.
Beginning with an overview of the entire path of Buddhism, Kongtrül Rinpoche goes on to examine different aspects of Shantideva’s text, always relating the teachings to individual experience. He explores in depth the training of the four immeasurables—equanimity, loving kindness, compassion, and sympathetic joy—and discusses the importance of wholehearted engagement in the process. His advice for setting up and maintaining a spiritual practice is both practical and inspiring.
Although the book contains three years of teachings, it remains remarkably compact, reflecting Kongtrül Rinpoche’s characteristic directness and emphasis on implementation. In the words of the editor, “Dharma practice needs to be more than mere theory. Dharma needs to be trained in, integrated into our lives, and embraced by wisdom.” Uncommon Happiness contains the guidance to undergo that training with the right attitude of clarity and commitment.
own. Since there is really no difference between you and other sentient beings, rejoice in other people’s achievements as if they were your own. Then rejoice in the achievements of the supreme beings, the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Rejoice in the freedom that they have gained and the noble qualities that they have achieved. Whenever you hear any good news, rejoice; whenever you see or come to know about something that is good, rejoice, rather than being jealous or neutral. Rejoice without a
Kongtrül Rinpoche’s premise is extremely suitable to our times. To sum up this book, we suffer and are unhappy because we do not practice bodhichitta. It is simply a matter of intelligence to follow the well-validated results of the Buddha’s research. These include self-reflection, changing one’s focus from self to other, training in the four immeasurables, and arousing bodhichitta and engaging in it through the practice of the six paramitas. Dharma practice, Rinpoche reminds us over and over
of our mind so that we can truly get there. Offering is the first approach. Rejoice IN THE CONTEXT of ordinary life, one of the most difficult things is to actually rejoice in another’s good fortune. If somebody we like or love is fortunate, we may manage to squeeze out some appreciation—but forget about being happy with our enemies’ good fortune! Honestly, though, rejoicing practice is incredible. It offers a great deal of benefit for very little effort. A saying goes, “Little labor,
and who experiences the deeds? The answer to both is the mind. Once again, our mind doesn’t correctly experience the doer and the deed. If the doer is the experiencer of the deed, and the doer has not changed, both cause and effect would be one. The doer becomes permanent, which cannot be a doer. What actually happens here is that the continuum of the doer experiences the deed. The experiencer is the continuum of the doer, not the doer itself. The doer itself has ceased. It is like an apple seed
Vinaya, the discipline to do this. The essence of the Dharma is the realization of suchness, of the natural nirvana. This is free of concepts. It is the experience of the truth. Concepts point us in the right direction, but concepts themselves are dualistic, and thus are blind to the actual truth itself. When we don’t completely shed all our concepts and instead engage in them, we are in relative mind, not absolute mind. Realization of the absolute truth that resides in the minds of the buddhas,