Buddhist Philosophy

~ September 29, 2015 ~

Becoming an Authentic Practitioner.

Buddhist Philosophy • audio

In this audio clip from an extended Question and Answer session in February, 2015 in Nepal, Rinpoche responds to a question that many of us often pose. How do we become authentic in our dharma practice?  And what does it really mean to be an authentic practitioner?

Rinpoche gives two very specific instructions that we can use to make sure we practice correctly.

Motivation and Non-Attachment

First, he reminds us about motivation, specifically the motivation of bodhicitta.

Secondly, he points out that an authentic practitioner should not be attached to the eight worldly concerns, the ‘jig rten chos brgyad in Tibetan.

The Eight Worldly Concerns

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What are the eight worldly concerns?  And where do we find this teaching?

These eight concerns are specifically mentioned by Nāgārjuna in his Suhṛllekha (Letter to a Friend). Although he wrote advice to the king, all practitioners can benefit from contemplating these points. Through reflection, we should see these opposing conditions as equal and not let any of these factors disturb our minds.

Hope and Fear

The ordinary concerns are divided into four pairs of common human preoccupations or attitudes. If we examine them, it is clear that hope represents attachment and fear is a manifestation of
aversion. And these concerns seem to be universal. Thus, we should observe our own conduct and practice and try to break free from these bonds.

  • Hope for happiness
  • Fear of suffering
  • Desire for fame
  • Dread of insignificance
  • Hope for praise
  • Fear of blame
  • Wanting gain
  • Fearing loss

Reflection Exercise

First, we can make an effort to memorize these concerns. Then we can use mindfulness to check ourselves regularly.  We may, at times, feel that we are free from these situations.  But, if we dig deeper, we may surprise ourselves by discovering subtle hopes and fears.  Observe how these attitudes color our actions and reactions.  Can we develop more equanimity–or do we let ourselves become upset when faced with what we do not want? 

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