Confidence with compassion is a key trait of a Buddhist practitioner. These days we often lack self-confidence and may blame external situations, such as public speaking or relationships. However, Phakchok Rinpoche says that if we really examine ourselves, we can learn how to develop stable confidence. The good news is that as practitioners we can easily train in developing confidence, also known as dignity. He notes that every single Buddhist practice, especially on the Vajrayāna path, is designed to empower us with dignity.
For example, if we practice taking refuge, we visualize ourselves being purified and blessed by all the figures within the refuge tree. We receive all these blessings in the form of light rays.
Then, at the conclusion, what happens? We visualize that entire refuge tree dissolving into us. The very basic yet profound practice of refuge is quite empowering. We imagine all these beings, with all of their qualities, merging into us. And we should feel great confidence in that.
Then, of course, the practice of Guru Yoga is the true empowerment with dignity. Mingling our body, speech, and mind with the guru’s body, speech, and wisdom mind means that they are not separate: they are one. It is important to remember that the “oneness” is not situational. They are always one.
We should not think about this “mingling” as if we were mixing two glasses of water. They are always “one.” We need to be very decisive about this. This is a case where asking too many questions is not helpful. In the beginning, doubts are natural, but if we ask too many questions about the “hows” of the process, we may lose heart. But if we keep doing this Guru Yoga practice, then confidence and dignity gradually increase and remain deep in our hearts.
Simple Buddhist Practice of Building Confidence
If we are not engaging in Vajrayāna practices, but are followers of the Buddha, we can still build confidence by relying upon the Buddha. For all levels of practice, we gain great confidence by regularly contemplating the Buddha. Whenever we are feeling low, or harbor doubts, we can call to mind the Buddha and his qualities. Why do we think the image of the Buddha is so popular these days? Because even those who don’t call themselves Buddhists or spiritual people seem to naturally feel drawn to his presence.
We can contemplate an image of the Buddha and visualize receiving blessings from the Buddha. We can also imagine that the Buddha dissolves into us and we are not separate from the Buddha. Regular practice in this way will also help us become more confident. For more information on this practice please follow this link to the Treasury of Blessings blog.