About Shang Rinpoche
Rinpoche’s spiritual pursuit began at a very young age and has spanned many years, in which he received lineages of all four major Vajrayana Buddhist schools—Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug—from numerous lineage holders and great yogis of our time in India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Rinpoche has acquired all the necessary empowerments, transmissions, and teachings to become a fully qualified Vajrayana master. Furthermore, Rinpoche is a recognized tulku (reincarnate lama), authenticated by eminent lineage holders and distinguished masters of our time.
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How to cope when the going gets tough?
From childhood into old age, success and struggle are our lifelong companions. However, when things are going well, we hardly give it a second thought and then when difficulties set in, even the courageous might have their spirit dampened. Therefore, we need to invert the conventional notion of success and failure: success comes about by chance whereas failure happens naturally. If you look at predicaments with this kind of mindset, you will not be encumbered by the feelings of success or failure, right or wrong. As a way to repay his mother’s kindness, Chan Master Empty Cloud took a pilgrimage where he knelt down after every three steps and prostrated flat on the ground on every tenth step. He went through countless ordeals and life-threatening situations, and eventually his steadfast dedication moved the Bodhisattva Manjushri who came to his aid in the form of an old man. Empty Cloud lived through the reign of five emperors in four dynasties. In his quest to protect the Buddhist teachings, he remained fearless in the face of all obstacles even when his life was at stake; in this way his legacy has influenced innumerable Buddhist followers. If the Tibetan yogi Milarepa had given up building the four different towers as commanded by his guru Marpa, the golden lineage of the white (Kagyu) school could not have been passed down to this day. When Cangjie, the legendary scribe of the Yellow Emperor, was creating the Chinese characters, he would at times study the patterns on a turtle shell, at others observe the constellations in the sky, sometimes watch plants and creatures, etc. He was completely absorbed in the task day after day, night after night to the extent of nearly forgetting to eat or sleep. Cangjie encountered numerous setbacks and frustrations, but his perseverance finally paid off and he created the Chinese characters. As a result, we stopped using knots on ropes as a means of keeping records. Amongst religious figures of recent times, I first and foremost admire the good old gal Mother Teresa. She was known for her unconventional style, and yet she spared no effort to help the poor and unfortunate. Despite the extraordinary mutual respect between Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa, the latter often defied tradition in holding firm her convictions which I find highly admirable.
If people are to break out of their predicaments and surmount all difficulties, the only way is to do so to treat each of these opportunities as if it were the last. One must fight as if one’s life were on the line, mustering all of the determination and daring that one has, along with the supreme will to act in order to ensure success. Back in the 1930’s, the founder of the Hilton Hotel chain found himself nearly destitute, pursued daily by creditors, yet due to the encouragement of a single photograph, and through over a decade of hard work, he finally became the figurehead of the hotel industry. The journey of life must sometimes be regarded as a path of no return, along which your sole possession is a one-way ticket. The difference between success and failure lies solely in your determination and courage. The key to the success of all great people is that they care about only one thing, which is, “When will my day come?” The reason that ordinary people depend entirely on others throughout their whole lives is that they cannot envision the future, are content to just get by, and recoil when they encounter adversities. The successful person keeps their eye forever on the clear, azure sky. Those who succumb easily to failure live as if blindfolded, always in a state of darkness. So, the critical juncture in creating success is to take difficulties as if they didn’t even exist.
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche