Guru Rinpoche Day Teachings

Supreme Mind Training

Dear friends near and far

As always, I hope this message finds you well, healthy and happy. On this Guru Rinpoche day, I would like to share with you a few lines from Atisha’s Root Verses on Training the Mind. These offer very clear, simple, and straightforward advice to anyone who wishes to practice, or just improve their lives by changing their way of thinking and acting. I wish to share with you those lines that I find most important, as pithy summaries of the key points of the teachings:

The supreme spiritual discipline is to tame one’s own mind.
The supreme good quality is great altruism.
The supreme oral instruction is to observe the mind at all times (…)
The supreme conduct is to be in disharmony with the world.

—Atisha, Root Verses on Training the Mind

In essence, the teachings consist in watching your mind and transforming it. And this is only possible if one detaches from the worldly concerns, which is what is meant here by being “in disharmony with the world.” The worldly concerns are basically ego- or pride-based expectations: hoping for praise, respect, fame, and so on. These concerns are quite natural if one lives in this world in the samsaric way. However, they also create a lot of difficulties for whoever is attached to them. Instead, we should turn our minds towards thinking of others.

The supreme accomplishment is the continuous decrease of disturbing emotions.
The supreme sign of accomplishment is the continuous decrease in disturbing emotions.

—Atisha, Root Verses on Training the Mind

The result of Dharma practice is reduced desire, reduced attachment to achieving any goal, and, overall, less negative emotions, disturbing feelings, or mental and physical stress. In short, knowing the Dharma means knowing yourself, and practicing the Dharma means transforming yourself.

So among these quotes that I share with you today, please choose whichever one you find most beneficial, and you can use that as a reminder, a mirror to watch yourself. If you wish to learn more about mind-training, you can also visit Samye Institute for more content and a free short course (also available in Chinese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian and Thai).

I’m wishing for all of you to improve in your practice and to be genuinely happy. Please take care, and try to meditate and transform your minds as much as you can.

Thank you.

Sarva Mangalam,

Phakchok Rinpoche

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3 responses on "Supreme Mind Training"

  1. Thank you Rinpoche for the Great Teachings ❤️🌸🙏🏻❤️🌸🙏🏻❤️🌸🙏🏻

  2. Does anybody know where I can find a Tibetan edition of this text of the “eight-fold supreme mind training”? I have looked on TBRC and Lotsawa house, but it seems I don’t have the right title.

  3. Hi Paul, thanks for reaching. I understand that a member of our translation team reached out to you with the Tibetan version of the Atisha text, Root Verses on Training the Mind. Is that the text you’re looking for?

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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.