Sutra and Tantra

Let’s say there is a person walking along carrying some stones. He sees a dog, and throws his stones at the dog. He also sees a lion and he throws his stones at the lion, too.

What does the dog do? At the sight of the stone, the dog immediately tries to bite or chase it. Then the person gets to throw another stone at the dog. The dog again tries to follow the new stone and bite it. Now this guy has got a big collection of stones, so they are not going to run out any time soon. The dog becomes very tired.

Now when the man throws a stone at the lion, the lion does not look at the stone. Rather, he thinks, “Where did that stone come from? Who threw that stone?” When he sees the person who threw it, he pounces on him. A person only gets to throw one stone at a lion.

– Unknown origin. Heard from Mingyur Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhism.

Two sides of a coin

Any happiness there is in the world ultimately turns to pain. Why? Consider the two sides of a coin: just because what we desire is to be seen on the front does not mean that dislike won’t soon appear on the back. Likewise, hope and fear are a single coin, one entity with two faces—on the other side of a moment in which we hope for more happiness will be our fear of more suffering. Until attachment is eliminated, we can be certain of having both hope and fear. As long as there is hope and fear, the delusions of samsara will be perpetuated and there will be constant suffering. Thus attachment is the nature of both hope and fear: looking at the ultimate emptiness of the self-envisioned magical illusion of hope and fear, we should hang loosely in the flow.

– Tulku Pema Rigtsal, Nyingma, Tibetan Buddhism.

Picnic

A monk keeps promising his student that he will take him on a picnic but is always too busy to do so. One day they see a procession carrying a corpse.

“Where is he going?” the monk asks his student.

“On a picnic.”

– The 14th Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism, Vajrayāna.