What Does Dignity Mean to You?
Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche speaks often on the subject of dignity. And Buddhist dignity is a vital quality for a dharma practitioner. In this video clip from a public talk in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts in 2015, Rinpoche explains how dignity functions.
Dignity is a gentle feeling–a very steady firmness. It is not self-judgment. Dignity is a gentle looseness–not being too uptight or too reactive to situations or experiences. Dignity is not cold or unfriendly–we can still enjoy life! But with dignity, we do not go through the ups and downs and swings of emotions. Usually we are too reactive. Dignity brings stability.
Buddhist Dignity is Not Uptight
We have to accept that each of us is different, so we need to check out our own character. Then gently sit and meditate a bit. Have some kindness, a little detachment. Dignity is a by-product of kindness, meditation, knowing ourselves and not being too uptight.
We can see our own faults and acknowledge our mistakes, but we need to have the dignity to see and know that we can change. That is dignity. Dignity always has the motivation to improve.
Buddhist Dignity is Not Pride
Dignity is not pride that looks down on others. Dignity comes with compassion. Rinpoche tells a story of an encounter with a homeless man in New York City. He demonstrates how our minds often work by rising too quick judgments. Then he explains how dignity allows us to feel compassion for all people involved. We can learn to recognize bad action, but not to condemn the person. Dignity gives a little distance from the situation or problem. Dignity allows us to have a bit of space in every situation. If we lose or forget our dignity, we tend to slip back into our habitual patterns, our habitual way of reacting. We should all work every day with our practice to develop dignity in all situations.