If you are the target of some harsh criticism or insulting talk, for example, the harder you try to avoid being exposed to it, the more of it you seem to hear.
The best thing would be to be like the great sages of the past, who felt neither upset when criticised, nor pleased when praised, because they were able to perceive all sounds as empty echoes, and to hear all criticism and praise about themselves just as though people were speaking about a person who had died long ago.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Our life is vast. It does not stop at the limits of what we personally experience. It is not something concrete or bounded. I do not think it is valid to view our life as limited to just ourselves — as if our human life extended only as far as our own body. Rather, we can see that a life extends out in all directions, like a net.
We throw a net, and it expands outward. Just like that, our life extends to touch many other lives. Our life can reach out and become a pervasive part of everyone’s life.
His Holiness the Karmapa
Clarity, like emptiness, is infinite: it has no limits, no starting point and no end. The more deeply we examine our minds, the less possible it becomes to find a clear distinction between where our own mind ends and other’s begin. As this begins to happen, the sense of difference between “self” and “other” gives way to a gentler and more fluid sense of identification with other beings and with the world around us.
One should not view one’s dharma practice as being something decorative, regarding statues and images as material possessions or as furnishings for one’s house, or thinking that because there is an empty space on a wall one might as well put up a thangka for decoration. That kind of attitude should not be cultivated.
When you arrange the statues or thangkas, you should do so out of a deep respect from the mind, moved by your faith and conviction. If you can arrange these physical representations—statues and so forth—out of deep respect and faith, that’s all right. On the other hand, the attitude that they are merely material possessions is dangerous and destructive.
I think that some people who have a cupboard or the like in which they keep all their precious possessions may arrange an altar on it just for the sake of decoration. This is very wrong.
Having such motivations is not the proper way to become a Buddhist; the proper way to become a Buddhist is to bring about some positive change within the mind. Any practice that can give you more courage when you are undergoing a very difficult time and that can provide you with some kind of solace and calmness of mind is a true practice of the dharma.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama