Genuine sincere motivation builds a steady foundation for practicing the Buddhadharma. Phakchok Rinpoche, here in a teaching given at beautiful Gomde Austria, reminds us that when we come to learn some meditation or to study the teachings of the Buddha, we should do so with a clean heart.
We should always wish to be sincere, genuine, straightforward–and we should hold that as a personal touchstone. Our motivation and our intention needs to be pure.
Genuine Sincere Motivation as Moral or Spiritual Compass
Often we speak of a compass, a moral compass–and it’s good if we can begin with that. As long as we keep our intention pure, then we can add practices as we progress. We can then practice bodhicitta, and aspire to attain enlightenment for all beings. And if we start with our moral compass correct, then we have a pure source.
Genuine sincere motivation marks a spiritual person–not the dress, nor the beauty of the surroundings, nor having lovely statues or perfect ritual items and ceremonies. Profound and beautiful texts don’t make us a good person. Likewise, sitting in meditation doesn’t guarantee that we become a good person.
Instead, Rinpoche says that we should wish to become sincere. And being sincere means having no fear–we’re not holding secret or extra hopes, but we simply want to be clean. Being genuine means we aren’t doing things from a selfish perspective.
Genuine sincere motivation keeps our moral compass pointed in the right direction–we begin our meditation from a pure place. Everything else we layer on is a combination of method, wisdom, practice and time. With all those layers we can grow in the correct way. For a beautiful Dharma center like Gomde Austria to flourish for centuries, the key is really to maintain this genuine sincere motivation.
Traditionally, we begin teaching and meditation sessions by chanting. And we might wonder why we do this. Rinpoche explains that right now we don’t see our true natures–we see our normal minds. And we need some help to clean and improve those minds. Once we’ve cleaned up a bit, we can see our nature more easily.
Like any other new habit, building motivation takes practice. Most of us don’t automatically generate vast pure motivation. So, what do we do?
First, take a few minutes each morning to simply remind yourself to want to become genuine and sincere. This may feel a little forced, but after days or weeks of regular reminders, this will start to come automatically. So, as you open your eyes, think, “May I become genuine. And may I become sincere. May all my thoughts and activities be for the benefit of all sentient beings. And may I give up selfish thinking”.
During the day, when you have a spare minute or two, just check in with yourself. Ask, “Am I being sincere and genuine? Are my actions in accord with my motivation?” If you’ve made some mistakes–and who hasn’t–then just remind yourself that you’re building a new habit. This can be a very short reminder–the important part is to begin rewiring your internal circuits. Regular repetition and mindful monitoring will help you to build those motivation muscles.