Buddhist Philosophy

Tolerance and Mind Training

Tolerance and Liberality

Tolerance is one quality where we should see growth because of our practice, says Phakchok Rinpoche. Dharma practice means training our minds.  What kind of mind training do we need as dharma practitioners? Tolerance training! We aren’t trying to become more conservative–meaning less open-minded, are we?

In today’s world, there are so many strong opinions and beliefs. So right now, we really need to learn how to be tolerant. This is mind-training in non-attachment. We don’t need to be so attached to our own opinions and perceptions. We can learn to go with the flow a bit. Why do we have to feel so defensive about our beliefs? A defensive mind has no tolerance–it is attached.

Tolerance Means Hanging Loose

We need to be loose and use skills when dealing with others. We can’t shut ourselves off from our family and friends. That is not a dharma practice. Holding on to our beliefs and refusing to do what others want us to do is actually very rigid, very conservative thinking. We can lightly discuss issues like impermanence with our family and friends without being dogmatic or critical.

We should not make our dharma practice something that makes us intolerant! If we act skillfully and embody the dharma, then people will pick up on our behavior. This will actually make our family and friends more appreciative and interested in supporting our practice.

Reflection Question

How have you learned to be more tolerant when dealing with your family and friends?  What elements of your Dharma practice do you apply most frequently when engaging in the world?  Have you found yourself becoming rigid or more judgmental?  If so, take some time this week to pay special attention to that habit. 

Think of tolerance as a sort of mantra.  Before you respond in your habitual way, can you remember to say, “tolerance”–or “hang loose”?  Then, how did that change the interaction?

2 responses on "Tolerance and Mind Training"

  1. This is beautiful. Thank you Rinpoche-la.

  2. Thank you Rinpoche..your daily presence and support is a true blessing..??

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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.