Notes from Deconstructing our Emotions with Venerable Robina Courtin

  1. Everything is a viewpoint.
  2. Buddhism is the psychology of understanding the mind. It is not a religion. Buddhism doesn’t have to be a belief. It can be a “working hypothesis”.
  3. The positive states—love, joy, beauty, etc.—are at the core of our being. The negative states—fear, anger, anxiety, etc.—are not. Hence, negative states can be done away with. It just takes practice.
  4. Ego grasping creates an enormous sense of dissatisfaction.
  5. Being out of touch is why we suffer. The extent of our happiness mirrors the clarity and understanding of our mind.
  6. SEM CHEM is the Tibetan word for “Mind Possessor” or sentient being.
  7. If you’re good at piano, it’s because you’ve practiced piano.
    If you’re good at anger, it’s because you’ve practiced anger.
    If you’re good at compassion, it’s because you’ve practiced compassion.
    We’re born with these imprints, these potentials. We come fully programmed based on past practices.
  8. Karma is like gravity. It’s the movement of the mind based on previous practice… the inclination from having done it before.
  9. Karma ripens in four ways
    – The form you were born into (i.e. human)
    – Your tendencies/characteristics
    – How others treat you
    – Your environment
  10. Be humble and skillful with yourself.
  11. When trying to decide, ask yourself: “Will following this course of action help me develop compassion, hone my mind, practice patience and humility, and help me give up attachment?” If so, then do it.
  12. Attachment is always focused on the future.
  13. CHECK UP. Don’t just float along. Be always on the alert of the decisions you have made and the routines you find yourself in. Checking up and doing what is most beneficial for all will help you develop wisdom and courage. This way, you don’t lose the plot and you don’t waste time.