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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The Modern Path of Liberation
The difference between a normal person and a sage lies in that the latter is able to foresee the development of an outcome from small clues at the outset, making it unnecessary to bind them with elaborate formalities and rules. A normal person, on the other hand, is similar to a cat or dog that, without having undergone proper training, is likely to urinate and excrete everywhere or disobey their owners, much to their own demise. They act this way because the karma with which they born and habits developed throughout their life, and they have no idea as to why that behavior is wrong. Although normal people are human, eons of reinforced habitual patterns have piled up and smothered their ability to tell right from wrong. Throwing on top of that the hot coals of greedy desires, anger and ignorance, the whole mess bursts and sparks uncontrollably into flame, making it impossible to contain and purify the karma created through body, speech and mind.
Through his wisdom, Buddha Shakyamuni observed that all sentient beings are conditioned by their habitual patterns, and that the biggest problems these habits bring are endless afflictions and suffering. As (he also observed that) all human afflictions and suffering stem from greedy desires, anger and ignorance, the Buddha started to teach from the Noble Eightfold Path, which helps purify the body and mind. In order to make it easy for people to understand the point of what he taught, he summarized the principal teachings of the entire Buddhadharma in one stanza: “Avoid all unwholesome deeds and carry out all wholesome ones. By so doing, the mind is purified. This is Buddhism.” This stanza is quite easy to understand. The first phrase, “avoid all unwholesome deeds,” means that we should refrain from impure acts of body, speech and mind, either done by ourselves or directed at another. How do we prevent these things from happening? The answer lies in practicing both the right Dharma and following the right path.
Practicing the right Dharma starts from upholding precepts. Generally speaking, one should never be parted from the practices of the eight guiding principles of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration (the Noble Eightfold Path). These eight methods can purify all karma and suffering caused by physical attachments and put an end to all samsaric suffering as well as eliminate the eight worldly sufferings, which is extremely important.
As for the second phrase “perform all wholesome deeds,” it points to the basic tenets of restraint from hurting any living thing, stealing or taking without permission, even if only in your mind, and ignoring morals and virtue to engage in sexual misconduct out of selfish desires. One should always refrain from deceiving others with words for your own gain or letting your mouth run loose, even if you are just by yourself. Refrain from consuming alcohol and other intoxicants that will numb your body and mind, so as not to make big mistakes that you’ll later regret. In addition to upholding these five basic rules, which are the prerequisites of gaining rebirth as a human, you should also try your best to perform the Ten Good Deeds in word, act and thought. Performing these ten good deeds are what constitutes a decent and kind-hearted person. Furthermore, always clearly observe the mind, reflecting inwardly on your self-nature at every moment and not allowing the mind to float outward and search in the external environment or get snared by the temptations of the physical senses. Master to, in every instant, “turn inwards, reflect and illuminate the original mind, remaining completely clear and without wandering.” These methods are the principal teachings given by Buddha Shakyamuni and his successors, including all Bodhisattva and sages, to all Buddhists and practitioners who wish to deepen their spiritual cultivation. All Buddhist vehicles — whether Hinayana, Mahayana, or Vajrayana — root their teachings on the mind, seeing everything as the manifestation of the mind. Yet the basic teachings lie in the intention to benefit both self and others.
If everyone can honor the precepts, you should not intentionally harm others for a gag, because once you cause pain in someone, you are bound to be plagued by your own guilty conscience for the rest of your life. Therefore, we can say that by hurting others, you hurt yourself at the same time, just like a hunter who kills animals on a daily basis will eventually be harmed by animals. Those who perpetrate unwholesome deeds will not only suffer from the catastrophic consequences while they are still alive, but again in the lower realms after they die. On the other hand, those who perform good deeds will not only enjoy the sense of satisfaction, but also the merits of being reborn in the upper realms. You don’t need to go to the bardo to find the pain and suffering of hell; it can be experienced here through anger and desire. Once they take hold, it is as if you are being burned, physically and mentally, in the fire of hell. This is a kind of torture and punishment.
The key to success on the path of liberation, which begins with practicing the Buddhadharma and ends in eliminating all worldly suffering, lies in upholding the authentic teachings. This is in effect upholding the precepts. If you can also observe the Noble Eightfold Path, then you will be the kindest and happiest person in this age of the Dharma Decadence.
From Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche