Isn't a Buddhist who wants Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse

- through Francois Leclercq

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In a direct, uncompromising, but humorous style, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse (also known as Khyentse Norbu) reminds us that being a Buddhist is not about wearing a saffron robe and displaying a peaceful smile, but about recognizing four truths:


– Any composite thing is impermanent

– All emotion is pain

– Nothing exists in and of itself

– Nirvana is beyond concepts


These four Seals of Buddhism, the author – lama born in Bhutan and filmmaker – illustrates them by parallels with the life of the Buddha, 2500 years ago. “Siddhartha had no grant or assistant to help him in his research. His only witnesses were the warm Indian dust and a few wandering water buffaloes. It was thus equipped that he understood the truth of impermanence at the deepest level. His awareness (…) was neither intended to offer a moral judgment nor to establish a social movement or a religion. It had nothing to do with a prophecy. Impermanence is a fact. »

Khyentse Norbu does not bother with psychological twists: “In the end, change is inevitable. If you feel desperate, think about it and you will no longer have any reason to react like this: the thing that despairs you will also change”. His tenderness is sometimes tinged with irony for our human weaknesses, as when he evokes the difficulty of defining “suffering” and “happiness”: “For some humans, being happy means managing to survive; for others, it's owning 700 pairs of shoes. »

All in lightness, it distills the founding stories of Buddhist cosmogony. So Milarepa able to take shelter in a yak horn without shrinking, illustration of his understanding of emptiness. An experienced teacher, Khyentse Norbu sweeps away concepts with a flip of words. So nirvana is not a "dream vacation spot" (which in the long run might prove boring), but rather "freedom from the straitjacket of ignorance."

Translated from English by Anne Benson, Is not a Buddhist who wants puts the dots on the i of Buddhism, for curious neophytes and practitioners on the way

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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