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When we are just beginning to practice, the process of incorporating the dharma is awkward because we’re still not that familiar with it. We look at whatever is happening and think, “Is this cause and effect, like what I heard? Is this suffering? Is it emptiness? Is it selflessness?” In the education system of more traditional spiritual cultures, you spend your early years just memorizing. This is a highly effective method for taking dharma into your day. The teachings you choose to memorize will soak into the mind and make an imprint.

Later, when you are practicing, or even driving down the road, words such as “May all beings enjoy happiness” will come easily to mind. The words are placed there for a reason. Like seeds in a garden, as you cultivate them, they begin to blossom. Then the structure of the words, and the words themselves, begin to fall away. There is a deep sense of connection, and you know what is being said. Then you begin to fall away, too, and only the dharma remains.

— Sakyong Mipham

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