Confidence with compassion is a key trait of a Buddhist practitioner. 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 need to know 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 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? The entire refuge tree dissolves into us. The very basic yet profound practice of refuge is quite empowering. 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. If we keep doing this Guru Yoga practice, then confidence and dignity gradually increases and remains 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. 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.
Phakchok Rinpoche was recorded on this topic in a Question and Answer session hosted in 2017 for the updated edition of A Glimpse of Buddhadharma, by Phakchok Rinpoche. This revised edition will be forthcoming from https://lhaseylotsawa.org/