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Friday, July 3, 2009

Marks and Signs of a Buddha

“One takes refuge by knowing the good qualities of one’s refuge.” The good qualities of the Buddha: the Buddha has four types of good qualities: 1- the good qualities of his body, 2- his speech, 3- his mind, and 4- of his good works. Regarding the good qualities of the Buddhas body has two viewpoints, the outer and the inner descriptions and the outer and inner meanings of the descriptions. Regarding the descriptions of the outer marks and signs of the Buddha we check the scriptures for the various marks that are on the soles of the foot, the palms of the hands, the earlobes and so forth. (1)

However, it really helps to have been born as a Brahmin in India 2,500 years ago. There are many of you whose short or even missing earlobes will never pull down and yet you can walk into any common Indian market and see many people with long earlobes, one of the external marks and signs of a Buddha. So perhaps the sooner we divest ourselves of what actually are the external marks and signs of a Buddha, world is going to be better for it. What do you think?

Buddha was born into Brahmanic culture as a Kshatryia or king class (even Buddha not a Brahmin). (2) Friends, even people in Tibet don’t look like Indian Brahmins, so we were very hard pressed to find even one sign even though we had great faith. Truly we looked to see which sign like Lord Buddha Shakyamuni from the text, is actually on my friend who has a really good practice. We might even admire to say, “Your earlobes do look a bit longer today.”

We must move away from superficial understanding of what it means to be a Buddha, to be authentic. This Buddha is short and scrawny and this one is big and fat. None of these descriptions are of the actual awakened being in the external form.

“Oh now we know what to look for, now we’ve got it. It’s not their body appearance, but what they look like inside.” And so we youngsters tried to do this through visualization. Truly, I’m ashamed to say this. Meditators attempt to recreate the forms of enlightened beings on top of their form that not have the marks and signs but in an inner form. In Tibetan system many believe that there is a kind of form in subtle that possess the external marks and signs.

As for me in my present life I decided that I don’t care now if the Buddhas are pink and blue polka dots on the inside or the outside. I don’t care if they are forty feet tall or they’re one inch tall on the outside. These are of so little importance. In that way, you do not need to expend mental effort to exhibit or visualize your ordinary self in any one particular form. I’m moving away from that idea. However, I admit that I had that idea in my just before life.

Perhaps a thousand years in the future there will be other more advanced societies arriving in spaceships or however they come and tell us, “We’ve been waiting for all of you humans to get over your ethnocentrism”. Truly, it says it clearly in the Lam-rim that marks and signs are qualities. When you develop the qualities of a fully enlightened being, the marks and signs you will exhibit will be inside. These are some of the issues surrounding discussions of marks and signs.

footnotes (1) links to photos and descriptions of marks and signs,M1

(2) classes in India

Edited excerpt from “The Qualities of Refuge” 8-2003

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Botticelli lives!

Working on the last galley proofs for Mystery of Emptiness & Love book.....must get to press now quickly as many are waiting.... here I offer a couple of photos I subjected to change appearance as though they were painted by Botticelli or other famous painters. If you wish to try it - go to

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hermitage Buddhist Publishing

We are happy to announce Hermitage Buddhist Publishing produces books by Domo Geshe Rinpoche. PO Box 126, Neillsville, WI 55456 USA

books are available through Hermitage, White Conch,, or Joyful Path or ask your local bookstore to order from New Leaf Distributors

Part One of Mystery of Emptiness & Love defines the problem sentient beings face with understanding the nature of reality. This predicament results because the innate view causes us to see ourselves and the world around us in a way that is not consistent with the way it actually exists. Because of the innate view, we experience suffering that moves from imperceptible to manifest, while remaining in a kind of sleep-like inner stupor or hypnosis.

Part Two contains the step-by-step method by which the innate view is dismantled. We arrive at the correct view through careful, sequential elimination of incorrect views. The arguments are presented in the form of short excerpts and my commentary based on ”Twenty Emptinesses” by Chandrakirti, (600–c. 650), a small but important segment of Chandrakirti’s seminal Introduction to the Middle Way, Madhyamakavatara.

Part Three places the analysis of emptiness in harmony with the teachings of compassion and spiritual love. We learn how the bodhisattva heroes, enlightened beings on their way to perfect Buddhahood, think and behave. Their understanding of the illusory nature of reality might logically make them stern and unforgiving, but they are quite the opposite. How do they train themselves in love?


"Some books are a living challenge to expand our thinking and being. This treasure of surprising twists and turns exercises our ordinary thinking and opens us to a new paradigm. I felt tremendously enriched and excited by this scholarly and yet accessible presentation on emptiness and love by Domo Geshe Rinpoche and recommend this book heartily. You will surely be benefited"

Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.
author of Your Soul's Compass and
Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

Scientists and other serious inquirers know how essential it is to acquire new perspectives on the nature of their process. This little book by Domo Geshe Rinpoche will take you to new vistas about yourself and your world, and you will laugh along the way. Here you will be introduced to ancient wisdoms that you may have wondered about but never found easy access to. As such, this could be one of the most valuable books you ever read.

James L. Oschman, Ph.D.
Author of Energy Medicine: the scientific basis

ISBN 978-0-692-00394-7 soft cover 186 pages $16.95

Pre- Order "Mystery of Emptiness and Love"
book launch July 28, 2009

"Red Lotus Buddhist Wisdom"
It was a joy to write and those who have seen it have given many thumbs up so far. There are 50 full color lotus flower photos and 50 graphic displays of quotations as well as explaining how to use quotations as basis for meditations. It also introduces a deep topic of how we interact with the symbolic world that is of great interest to all spiritual seekers
ISBN 978-0-692-00410-4 81/2x 51/2 soft cover 110 pages with 50 amazing full color photographs $18.95

pre -order Red Lotus Buddhist Wisdom here:
book launch July 30,2009 book launch August 25,2009
ISBN 978-0-692-00394-7 Amazon number 0692003940 Mystery of Emptiness & Love
ISBN 978-0-692-00410-4 Amazon number 0692004106 Red Lotus Buddhist Wisdom

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What Is Desire?

Shantideva “Although wishing to have happiness, like an enemy they ignorantly destroy it.” If seeking happiness is the prime directive and nearly all of our available energy goes toward seeking, acquisition and grasping or hanging onto happiness, then we should already have a tremendous amount of happiness. There should be a huge pool of happiness and we should be able to find as much happiness as we want because we were built to be satisfied by getting what we want. And yet, we know that is not true. What you don't want, often comes to you unbidden, and what you really really desire is as though it is held hostage away from you.

Student: If what one really desires is held away from them…but what about when we do get the things that we desire and then we find that they don’t make us happy.

Rinpoche: That’s interesting. It is because the acquisition of objects of desire is not what you really want. You actually want to experience desire. The human realm has been described as a desire realm, that is because the preparation, (both mental and emotional), for desiring is what traps you here. Your capacity to grasp increases, meaning desire is being applied to what you are already hanging onto while looking for another object. This is using desire as motivation.

For example; while passing a new car dealership, a cascade of sensory input causes an upwelling of perceptions. “
Ah! That is the very thing that I want. I want that new car.” Then, your energetic activity begin to stir and fuel further motivation in the form of emotions. You want not just any car, but that particular car. That energy now picks up speed with emotions, rising a source of joy and pleasure could even extend for a short time after buying that very car. From the time you acquire the vehicle until the time the first breakdown occurs, the possibility of that kind of happiness and satisfaction could even possibly sustain the logic for grasping which is now is a source of pride and possible source of identity.

…Of course, if one has an old car already then they don’t have to worry because they know that it won’t take long to feel disappointed. (Laughter). My car is not new, we don’t have to worry about running after happiness with our vehicle. Now the water pump went out, my goodness.

The source of true happiness is the arisal of the benefit mind, which will relieve the suffering of all living beings, but this precious jewel mind is forgotten in the hurry and intensity of desire. The potential for great mind is eroded by intense desire. Whatever good intentions one might have of creating great mind are destroyed through pollution, wasting one’s life and not beginning authentic practice. In that way, the chance that they have for real happiness, authentic happiness, is damaged like a fat man trying to fly while sitting on the back of a butterfly.

edited excerpt from "Inspiration of Deep Altruism" Oct 2003