Guru Rinpoche Day Teaching

~ September 10, 2008 ~

Vigilant Introspection

Guru Rinpoche Day Teaching • Article

My dear dharma brothers and sisters,

I hope this email of mine finds you all well and happy. Today being Guru Rinpoche Day, I would like to share a few things with you and once again remind you all to practice mindfulness in every action. Today we’ll be again be looking at the chapter on Vigilant Introspection from The Way of the Bodhisattva by Śāntideva. This chapter implores us to continually undertake careful examination of one’s own mental and emotional process.

To cover all the earth with sheets of leather-
Where could such amounts of skin be found?
But with the leather soles of just my shoes
It is as though I cover all the earth!

And thus the outer course of things
I myself cannot restrain.
But let me just restrain my mind,
And what is left to be restrained?

Śāntideva here describes that if we thought of covering the entire earth with leather in order to safeguard ourselves from thorns, hard rocks and other unpleasant things, where could such a magnitude of leather be found? Apparently nowhere. On the other hand, he suggests, if we were to simply cover our feet with shoes, it would be as if the whole earth had been enclosed with leather and our purpose achieved!

Likewise, even though it is unfeasible to prevent or do away with every external source of harm, all we need to do is to eradicate our inner attitude of anger. What need is there to get rid of outer irritants?

Sarva Mangalam,

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Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche