All negative actions are motivated by delusions, which in turn arise from self-cherishing. First we develop the thought, “I am important,” and because of this we feel that the fulfillment of our wishes is of paramount importance. Then we desire for ourself that which appears attractive and develop attachment, we feel aversion for that which appears unattractive and develop anger, and we feel indifference toward that which appears neutral and develop ignorance. From these delusions all other delusions arise.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Eight Steps to Happiness”
All the happiness there is in this world
Arises from wishing others to be happy,
And all the suffering there is in this world
Arises from wishing ourself to be happy.


If the people whom we find attractive were intrinsically pleasant, everyone who met them would find them pleasant; and if the people whom we find unattractive were intrinsically unpleasant, everyone who met them would find them unpleasant; but this is not the case. Therefore, rather than following such mistaken minds, we should regard all living beings as our mothers. Whoever we meet, we should think, “This person is my mother.” In this way, we will feel equally warm toward all living beings.

Introduction to Buddhism, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

(Reblogged from kadampapenny)

Eight Steps to Happiness: The Faults of Self-Cherishing

All the problems we have in our lives ultimately come from our own self-cherishing mind. One reason for this is karmic: self-cherishing causes us to commit negative and selfish actions that result in negative karmic potentials placed within our mind. These karmic potentials later result in negative effects that ripen when conditions become right for them to do so.

Self-cherishing also is the basis for experiencing suffering. We are unhappy and dissatisfied when we are unable to fulfill our own wishes, which often are the desires of our self-cherishing mind. The self-cherishing attitude leads us to believe that we are more important than others, or at least our wants, needs, and time are more important or should come first before everyone else. This attitude leads to all kinds of relationship problems with others, verbally and even physically.

Self-cherishing makes us feel that our wishes and plans are so important, and when they don’t happen the way we want them to we are unable to accept and learn from our problems and difficulties when they inevitably do happen. Self-cherishing makes us dependent upon the approval of others or the need to feel well liked or popular. Self-cherishing makes us want to feel appreciated and acknowledged by others. Self-cherishing keeps us trapped within samsara and all the associated suffering, life after life.

Self-cherishing is the main obstacle to the attainment of enlightenment. We need to abandon our self-cherishing and instead learn to cherish others, develop compassion for them, and finally develop bodhichitta motivation in order to attain enlightenment.

Self-cherishing is not self-respect or taking care of ourself. Self-cherishing actually causes us to do things that will make us lose our self-respect by committing negative actions, harming others, and clinging to and indulging in our various attachments or even addictions. However, if we cherish others, our self-respect and confidence will increase as we benefit these precious living beings.

(Reblogged from blossomsofwisdom)
The practice of giving does not merely entail bestowing gifts upon others, although this is definitely part of it. Rather, giving is a mental training and involves acquainting ourselves with the thought of giving without desiring anything in return.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Meaningful to Behold”
Many benefits follow from taming our mind. If we take the rope of mindfulness and tie our elephant mind securely to the post of virtue, all of our fears will swiftly come to an end. All positive and wholesome attainments will fall into the palm of our hand. If we wish to elevate our mind we must merge it with the practice of virtue by steadily applying the power of mindfulness. This is the very heart of meditation.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Meaningful to Behold”

Teaching meditation classes in Richardson, Texas

So I was asked yesterday if I would start teaching the Tuesday night meditation classes at our branch in Richardson, so I’ll be teaching regularly again beginning the first Tuesday in October. If you’re local, feel free to drop in :)

It is very difficult to gain any realizations at all if our meditational practices are constantly interrupted. If we want to attain the state of tranquil abiding in which we can develop true single-pointedness of mind, we shall be unable to do so if we meditate for a month, abandon our practice and then resume it a few months later. No practice done in such a fitful manner will ever bear fruit. We cannot bring water to a boil if we are forever turning the heat on and off. Just as the stove should be kept at a constant temperature, so too should our meditational practices be steady and continuous.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Meaningful to Behold”
The object of meditation can be a particular aspect of the teaching - such as the benefits of bodhichitta - or the form of a personal deity or even our breath. Whatever object we choose, we should examine it fully to gain a clear idea of it. For example, in order to develop single-pointed concentration we could meditate upon the visualized figure of a buddha, choosing such a figure because it represents all the wisdoms and methods of the path. We can begin by selecting a painting or a statue that represents such a figure clearly. We should examine this image minutely, scrutinizing it from the crown of its head to its feet and back to the crown again. By doing this well we shall gain a rough concept of a buddha’s body. This then becomes our object to visualize in meditation. When we sit quietly and try to see this image in our mind’s eye, holding onto the object with mindfulness and checking with alertness, we shall be engaged in placement meditation.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Meaningful to Behold”