Guru Rinpoche Day Teachings

Key Words of Advice from Dza Patrül Rinpoche

*Image courtesy of Schechen

Dear friends near and far,

As always, I hope this message finds you well, healthy and happy. For today’s Guru Rinpoche day, I would like to share with you some key points of advice from Patrül Rinpoche.

First of all, in all circumstances of life, whether mundane or spiritual, there will always be ups and downs. Sometimes we have good experiences, sometimes bad; sometimes we are very happy, sometimes we go through great difficulty. Whatever the case, we need to always remain mindful, and not get carried away by excitement when things are going great, or by despair or anger when things are going terribly. Basically, it is extremely important, throughout all our ups and downs, highs and lows, not to react with too strong an emotion, but to remain mindful of our basic, stable state of mind.

Secondly, we should be careful in all our behaviors towards our friends, relatives, neighbors, or acquaintances. We need to be mindful in all our actions and avoid lying, stealing, scolding, bad-mouthing, or anything of the sort. In whatever we do, we should always think of benefitting those around us. To this end, through all circumstances, good or bad, we have to remain mindful and not lose our mental groundedness, so that we don’t become too emotional or reactive.

Thirdly, we should always think of putting ourselves in the position of others, and others in our own position. It’s extremely important to do this with all our relationships and in all situations, whether with family, friends, partners, or others. If we always think of exchanging our positions with others’, our minds will become broader, more spacious.

Fourthly, we are all very quick at seeing other people’s faults, immediately identifying whatever we think is wrong with whomever we meet. Instead, we need to apply the mirror of mindfulness to see our own faults. Now, for people who are stressed, have low self-confidence or low self-esteem, who are obsessive, slightly depressive, or generally have an unsteady mind, this might not be the best thing to do. But if your mind is relatively stable and balanced, then it is extremely important to use the mirror of mindfulness to investigate your own mind and find out how it works, and what its faults are. Failing to do so leads to many mistakes.

No one is devoid of all faults, or of all good qualities. There are differences in degree of fault or good quality, but everyone has both, which means that everyone has value. The main good qualities that Patrül Rinpoche identified are the following. First, it is best to be of few words, and not needlessly talkative, chattering meaninglessly. Second, one should have a broad, spacious mind, which is not easily affected or emotional. Third, one should know the correct measure of things, and not overdo anything. Fourth, one needs to be grounded, knowing one’s own place and role in the world. Finally, one should be kind-hearted. These worldly qualities are important for all to have, and essential to Dharma practice as well.

This precious advice from Patrül Rinpoche was my message to you on this Guru Rinpoche day.

With all my love and best wishes for the New Year,

Sarva Mangalam.

Phakchok Rinpoche

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1 responses on "Key Words of Advice from Dza Patrül Rinpoche"

  1. Wonderful! Very wonderful message! Thank you for these beautiful and very wise words!

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.