Buddhist Philosophy

Avoiding Spiritual Loneliness

Avoiding spiritual loneliness is an important step on our Buddhist path. In this video teaching, Phakchok Rinpoche encourages us to meditate every morning and to do it correctly. We begin by thinking of the purpose. Why are we meditating?

Don’t meditate like a dead tree! Dead tree meditation means that we are approaching the meditation session alone. In this type of meditation, we don’t take the time to generate compassion. We forget to reflect on motivation. In dead tree meditation, we neglect supplication. Why do we meditate in this way? Pride gets in our way, doesn’t it? We think that we can do it alone because we are valuing our independence and mixing it with pride. Rinpoche reminds us that this won’t work — because at this stage, we have no wisdom!


Instead, we need to recall the proper motivation of wishing that all sentient beings are freed from suffering and bondage. We spend some time reflecting on our own minds. When we do this we also take the opportunity to ask all the Buddhas to think of us and support us in our meditation. Please don’t fall into spiritual loneliness. Countless Buddhas and bodhisattvas have come before us. We can reach out to them and ask for help–that’s their job, after all! Their boundless compassion supports us.

Then, during and after our formal session,  we drop attachment to any kind of experience. We practice meditating with detachment. Whatever happens, good or bad, simply unfolds. Finally, we seal the session by dedicating the merit of our practice to the liberation of all sentient beings.

As we practice in this way, we are connected to all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and to all sentient beings. We are surrounded by support and we are working to benefit countless beings. If we practice in this way, we can avoid spiritual loneliness. We naturally feel deep love and connectedness.

2 responses on "Avoiding Spiritual Loneliness"

  1. especially today, I feel deep sorrow. Thank you Rinpoche for the beautiful Teachings.

  2. I just retired from my work life, many forms of loneliness come up, thank you for the insight . Now build connectivity without attachment to the experience. On we go !

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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.