Noble Living, Noble Caring, Noble Dying

Conversation: Pure Motivation

Our Noble Living, Noble Caring and Noble Dying team here discusses the importance of pure motivation when care-giving. If we spend some time to consider our motivation, we benefit not only the receiver, but also ourselves.

Pure Motivation: Beginning Your Day

As we care for others, we return repeatedly to the principle of loving kindness, compassion and bodhicitta. In this part of the conversation, Tsunma Jamyang emphasizes the importance of starting each day by checking one’s own motivation, and re-affirming the bodhisattva commitment. She suggests that we do this each morning before we engage in any activity.

Then, throughout the day, as we proceed in our work, we come back to that intention. So, we take a few pauses to check in with ourselves and see how we’re doing—and reset our motivation. Some days we may need to do this repeatedly—but that’s okay. When we reset, we’re practicing mindfulness of motivation.

Reflection Exercise

  • Also, at the end of the day, we can check in and look honestly at how we acted and spoke during the day.
  • When we find that we said or did something unskillful, we don’t need to judge ourselves—but we acknowledge that and make the commitment to do better tomorrow.
  • For caregivers, this process helps us center ourselves in the ground of pure motivation.
  • Do you see how this builds your sense of dignity?


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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.