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Natural Water Fountains


In the inter-tidal zone, a celebration of life occurs.

His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

“At the heart of the Buddha’s teachings lie the four seals, or axioms, of Buddhism, and when we summarize the essence of everything the Buddha taught, we find that the basic framework is presented in the context of these four:

  1. All composite phenomena are impermanent.
  2. All contaminated phenomena are unsatisfactory, or in the nature of suffering.
  3. All things and events are empty, or devoid of self-existence.
  4. Nirvana is true peace.”

Illuminating The Path to Enlightenment

Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Of Tibet

A Commentary on Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana’s A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment & Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lines of Experience

Translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa

Edited by Rebecca McClen Novick, Thubten Jinpa, and Nicholas Ribush

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A Crow With A Message


This crow seems to be trying hard to have his message heard. Port Hardy, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

The importance of bodhicitta

“The highest perfection of altruism, the ultimate altruism, is bodhicitta complemented by wisdom. Bodhicitta – the aspiration to bring about the welfare of all sentient beings and to attain buddhahood for their sake – is really the distilled essence, the squeezed juice, of all the Buddha’s teachings, because ultimately, the Buddha’s intention is to lead all sentient beings to perfect enlightenment, complete omniscience. Since it is bodhicitta that determines whether or not our practice becomes the path to enlightenment, bodhicitta is truly the heart essence of all the teachings of the Buddha. Thus, all 84,000 discourses of the Buddha can be seen as either preliminary to the practice of bodhicitta, the actual practice of bodhicitta, or precepts and activities in which we must engage as a result of taking the bodhicitta pledge.”

Illuminating The Path to Enlightenment

Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Of Tibet

A Commentary on Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana’s A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment & Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lines of Experience

Translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa

Edited by Rebecca McClen Novick, Thubten Jinpa, and Nicholas Ribush

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Seabus Approaching North Vancouver


Watching the Seabus come into Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

The nature of wisdom

Lamp for the Path: Verse 47

Understanding emptiness of inherent existence through realizing that the aggregates, constituents and sources are not produced [do not come into being] is described as wisdom.

“This reference to the emptiness of inherent existence of all things refers to the ultimate nature of reality. In our ordinary perception of the world, we tend to perceive things as enjoying some kind of absolute status, as having concrete, objective reality. If we subject them to deeper analysis, however, we find that things do not exist in the way that they appear to us. All things and events lack inherent nature, and this absence of inherent nature is their ultimate reality, or emptiness.

Given that things lack inherent existence, their properties, such as coming into being, abiding and ceasing, also lack inherent existence.”

Illuminating The Path to Enlightenment

Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Of Tibet

A Commentary on Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana’s A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment & Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lines of Experience

Translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa

Edited by Rebecca McClen Novick, Thubten Jinpa, and Nicholas Ribush

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Rising Sun Over Kempenfelt Bay


Sunrise in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, looking eastward into Kempenfelt Bay. Sounds of birds, waves, people and things made by us.

His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

The qualities of the spiritual teacher

The qualifications of a suitable teacher can be found in texts from the vinaya all the way up to the Vajrayana. Since here we are discussing Mahayana teachings in general, we will consider the ten qualifications of the teacher as presented in Maitreya’s Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras:

  1. A disciplined mind (referring to the quality of having mastered the higher training in ethical discipline).
  2. A calmed mind (referring to the quality of having mastered the higher training in meditation and concentration).
  3. A mind that is thoroughly calmed (referring to the quality of having mastered the higher training in wisdom, particularly the wisdom of no-self (Skt: anatman, Tib: dag-med]).
  4. Knowledge exceeding that of the student in whatever subject is being taught.
  5. Energy and enthusiasm for teaching the student.
  6. Vast learning in order to have the resources from which to draw examples and citations.
  7. Realization of emptiness – if possible, a genuine realization of emptiness, but at least a strong commitment to the practice of emptiness on the basis of deep admiration for the teachings on it.
  8. Eloquence and skill in presenting the Dharma so that the teaching is effective.
  9. Deep compassion and concern for the well-being of the student to whom the teaching is given (perhaps the most important quality of all).
  10. The resilience to maintain enthusiasm for and commitment to the student, not becoming discouraged no matter how many times the teaching has to be repeated.

Illuminating The Path to Enlightenment

Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Of Tibet

A Commentary on Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana’s A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment & Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lines of Experience

Translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa

Edited by Rebecca McClen Novick, Thubten Jinpa, and Nicholas Ribush

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A Story About Swans


A sunny day in April, the water is starting to open up, and trumpeter swans and Canadian geese enjoy the lake. Falcon Lake, Manitoba, Canada.

His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

“The second sentence [your enlightened speech grants the wishes of limitless beings] describes the quality of the Buddha’s enlightened speech as fulfilling the wishes of limitless sentient beings. This explains the actual purpose of attaining enlightenment. When we become fully enlightened, it is our duty to serve all sentient beings and fulfill their wishes. There are countless ways in which enlightened beings serve sentient beings, such as using their enlightened minds to discern the tremendous diversity of sentient beings’ needs and to display miraculous powers, but the primary medium used by fully enlightened beings to fulfill the wishes of sentient beings is their enlightened speech. The term “limitless beings” suggests that the Buddha uses his enlightened speech in limitless skillful ways.”

Illuminating The Path to Enlightenment

Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Of Tibet

A Commentary on Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana’s A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment & Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lines of Experience

Translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa

Edited by Rebecca McClen Novick, Thubten Jinpa, and Nicholas Ribush

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A Gathering Of Snow Geese


These snow geese were practicing flying above this farm. Both the white and blue varieties of the snow geese were present and working together. The sheer number of birds was intimidating, and this capture only provides a glimpse into the event.

His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

“If you limit your understanding of impermanence to something’s continuum, you will comprehend only gross impermanence. You will feel that when certain causes and conditions give rise to something, it remains unchanged as long as the factors that sustain its existence remain unchanged, and begins to disintegrate only when it encounters adverse circumstances. This is gross impermanence.

If, however, you deepen your understanding of impermanence by approaching it at the subtle level – the moment-to-moment change undergone by all phenomena – you will realize how as soon as something comes into being, its cessation has also begun.”

Illuminating The Path to Enlightenment

Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Of Tibet

A Commentary on Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana’s A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment & Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lines of Experience

Translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa

Edited by Rebecca McClen Novick, Thubten Jinpa, and Nicholas Ribush

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A Creek In The Kootenays


Enjoying the flowing water and views along this creek outside of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. This water is heading towards Kokanee Creek Provincial Park flowing from the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park.

His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

“This transient and impermanent nature of reality is not to be understood in terms of something coming into being, remaining for a while and then ceasing to exist. That is not the meaning of impermanence at the subtle level. Subtle impermanence refers to the fact that the moment things and events come into existence, they are already impermanent in nature; the moment they arise, the process of their disintegration has already begun. When something comes into being from its causes and conditions, the seed of its cessation is born along with it. It is not that something comes into being and then a third factor or condition causes its disintegration. That is not how to understand impermanence. Impermanence means that as soon as something comes into being, it has already started to decay.”

Illuminating The Path to Enlightenment

Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Of Tibet

A Commentary on Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana’s A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment & Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lines of Experience

Translated by Geshe Thubten Jinpa

Edited by Rebecca McClen Novick, Thubten Jinpa, and Nicholas Ribush

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videos

Sunset At French Beach On Vancouver Island

Taking in a sunset at French Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.