Buddhist Philosophy

Inspiration to Practice – Advice on Dealing With Success and Positive Circumstances

Inspiration to Practice Dharma

Inspiration manifests in many ways. In this teaching to a Dharma Stream group in NYC in April 2015, Phakchok Rinpoche gives some personal examples of how he inspires himself to practice. And, self-reflection drives the process. Rinpoche advises us to make an honest assessment of our own emotions and behavior. We have to look at our true character and not at some phony, constructed version of ourselves we prefer people to see. In these days of social media dominance, we can forget who we are pretty easily, right?

Inspiration with Understanding of Purity

We benefit from doing this self-assessment while simultaneously remaining completely confident that our nature is completely pure. Rinpoche again reminds us of the importance of supplicating the gurus and Buddhas and bodhisattvas –making the wish that we can become genuinely good practitioners.

From his personal observations, Rinpoche notes that when we experience success and good fortune, we often revert to old patterns. Here he gives very personal advice on how easily we can get sucked into ego and pride. Rinpoche shares some short tips on how we can check our own minds and avoid this pitfall.

He reminds students how important it is to continually make aspirations and supplication to be a true practitioner. By following this pattern–not by relying on luck– we, too, can bring about the conditions that are conducive to practice. We can remain inspired and motivated by following these simple and effective steps.

Reflection Questions

Regularly reflect on these simple questions.  Check in with yourself frequently to see if you are becoming complacent.

How do you react when things are going well?  Can you relate to Rinpoche’s caution about reverting to old habits? 

When you experience success and happiness, how is your Dharma practice?

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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.