Beyond emotional reactions

Everything is judged in terms of how it relates to a person’s emotions.

It is quite possible for a human being,
even one who is not enlightened,
to have goals, commitments, and personal convictions
beyond merely emotional reactions and considerations.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Enlightenment is a Choice


Compassion emerges naturally…

The moment we turn the power of observation and inquiry
toward our customary ways of living,
asking how we are using our human heritage of freedom,
we are clearing the ground for growth.

When we cultivate what has positive value,
seeking to contribute to the health of society
and the welfare of all beings,
we are turning the soil.

When we let compassion emerge naturally
in response to the overwhelming suffering of others,
we are planting the seed.

When we respond from the bottom of our hearts
with the resolve to put an end to this suffering,
we are beginning to generate the mind of enlightenment.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Enlightenment is a Choice

Examine your life carefully…


Our understanding can become a living experience. 

Clear and accurate self observation awakens in us the desire to change unpleasant situations. Whatever situation we are in we can try to learn from it rather than escaping or refusing to deal with it.

We can learn to teach ourselves.
We can be our own healer and guide. 

Examine your life carefully.

With sincere study and strong determination comes clarity, certainty, and a broad, healthy point of view.

The more you do this,
the more you will become that understanding –
not just for one day, but moment to moment, in each situation.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Enlightenment is a Choice

Inner conviction and confidence

When heart and mind stand for what is worthwhile, they are no longer subject to external pressure. Action that flows from love and appreciation, rather than from fear and anxiety, has a dynamic and long lasting influence on others.

The courage to act arises from caring for a good purpose and from inner conviction and confidence. When appreciation is transformed into action, compassion flows forth as skillful means engaged in the world.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Enlightenment is a Choice

Freedom from self imposed restrictions…

Until we thoroughly examine the nature of our mind, we cannot really be aware of who we are or why we are here. Just as an intoxicated man, lost in his own mind-created distortions, is unable to judge or control his actions, without an awakening into true knowledge, we can only continue to create problems for ourselves and others.

The complexities of our mental patterns and the turbulence of upsetting emotions join like eath and water to create a kind of mud that we call ‘samsaric mind’. Until we can cleanse ourselves of inner confusion and penetrate the various ‘layers’ of this mind, our judgments and actions will only reflect our inherent restlessness, like bees trapped in a jar.

By properly investigating our immediate situation, we can learn how an integrated patterning of mind can totally free us from our self-imposed restrictions.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Enlightenment is a Choice

Protecting yourself from Arnaud Maitland


In a previous blog, I have shared an overview of Mr. Maitland’s ways of insinuating himself with people, and how he tends to operate.

To help people who choose to continue to study with Mr Maitland, this blog offers some additional information and advice on how to protect oneself when he interacts with students inappropriately.

Note: someone from within the community left a comment on this blog about Mr Maitland, confirming that his behavior is known within the community, and has gone on for some time. Partially this is due to the fact that he brings in much-needed money – your money. There are other, better ways to contribute to the TNMC community, to Tarthang Tulku and the ongoing projects of preserving the Dharma and the Tibetan culture. Please consider using these ways to support the preservation of the Dharma, rather than giving money to someone who, after 40 years, is still not able to put into practice one of the most basic practices – apparently necessary for progressing to Enlightenment, according to Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche and often documented in texts  – that of ethical moral conduct.

Mr Maitland is a master manipulator. His bio often contains the information that he obtained a degree in Nyingma psychology. If this is true, then he seems to use that information manipulate people. He will tell you something that seems insightful about you, or something about himself that seems to connect you to him. Be very careful if he starts to pay a lot of attention to you, asks you to participate more, provide assistance directly to him, organize something so that you have to be in touch with him regularly – as flattering as it may seem, this may be a sign that he is preparing to escalate his level of interaction with you.

The usual things when dealing with someone who might cause harm – mental or physical – is to never meet with them on your own. It is also better to not listen to Mr Maitland’s recordings – mantras or retreat recordings. As we know from advertising and music industries, the voice can be mesmerizing, and repeated listening to something (advertising, songs) creates a receptivity to that thing that lowers our defenses. That’s why advertising works, that’s why we generally like the songs that are played the most. It works the same way with voices – so that if you’ve listened to his recordings a lot, when speaking with him or even interacting via e-mail, you will be more likely to allow things that are inappropriate to go unchallenged.

From a Dharma perspective – if you are really interested in the Dharma, there are better ways to develop a connection to Tarthang Tulku, Longchenpa, Padmasambhava, the Nyingma Lineage and the Dharma in general. Tarthang Tulku mentions in several different books what some of the foundational texts are that every Dharma practitioner should read and be familiar with; Lalitavistara Sutra, Bhadrakalpika Sutra, and Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava are all on this list. The Crystal Mirror series is intended to provide fundamental information about the Buddha, his life and times, and the Nyingma lineage; they are clearly written and easy to read. Tarthang Tulku mentions also how important it is to begin to develop the four limitless qualities of compassion, loving-kindness, empathetic joy, equanimity – something Mr Maitland rarely talks about and freely admitted to not being able to do. Similarly the paramitas of generosity, discipline, patience, effort, concentration, and wisdom are also important practices.

To connect more directly with Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, although he does not teach anymore, the books containing collections of his essays are great ways to connect (or re-connect) with the vision  and aspirations that Rinpoche had and may still have for the Dharma in the West. Enlightenment is a Choice, Mind over Matter, and Teachings from the Heart all offer Tarthang Tulku’s wisdom (almost) directly from his own mind. They are very inspiring and good reminders of what the Dharma can and should be.

If you love the Dharma and want to support Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, it is probably best to find other ways to do that than by studying with Arnaud Maitland. It is said that in the dark times of the Kaliyuga (time when virtue wanes in the world), that destruction of the Dharma will come from within – teachers who are masquerading as Dharma practitioners. One might reasonably deeply consider whether Mr Maitland is an example of just this very phenomena.

Happy birthday, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche!

October 10th is the day that Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche’s birthday is usually celebrated. This year he is having his 81st birthday.

Thank you for all that you have done to bring more peace, harmony, wisdom ,and knowledge into the world. It is truly amazing what you have accomplished in the 47 years you have been in the US, and even before that.

Your integrity in disseminating the teachings, and your efforts to discover how the Dharma can be appropriately shared here in the US are very much appreciated.

May the work that you have done laying the foundation be the rich soil in which the roots of an inspiring 21st Century Buddhism will flourish.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche

Rinpoche sitting among Tibetan texts (Nyingma Trust website)