Belief, or confidence, in our own dharma practice allows for progress. Yet, often we approach our practice in a half-hearted or not fully committed manner. But when we don’t believe in what we are practicing, we may not recognize our own experiences on the path. And if we don’t believe that the practice will bear results, then we may end up abandoning it altogether.
Here, in a video teaching from Malaysia, Phakchok Rinpoche points out that if we practice Vajrayāna we want to develop confident belief.
How to Practice Visualization: Belief in Dharma Practice
Belief means holding the steady conviction that the guru is all-pervasive. Rinpoche reminds us that he often teaches how to see all deities as inseparable from Guru Rinpoche. Again, he explains that we can dissolve all deities into Guru Rinpoche, and then into ourselves. Furthermore, he explains that we come to regard all phenomena–a flower, a tree–whatever we encounter, or whatever we experience– as Guru Rinpoche.
We begin by practicing in the conviction of inseparability. And yes, this starts as a conceptual exercise–we’re imagining something that we can’t yet fully see. From this conceptual stage, we then use the visualization to work with the experience, to bring it into our own life. Thus, Guru Rinpoche dissolves into all our experiences without exception–regardless of whether we consider them good or bad, positive or negative.
So we can practice by visualizing that Guru Rinpoche dissolves into absolutely everything–and then, simply rest with the confidence that it is the actual situation. We rest for a short period. Once again–immediately, everything dissolves back into Guru Rinpoche. And then, we rest again.
You might also want to consider the role of faith and the mind by reviewing this teaching.
Belief in Dharma Practice: Reflection Question
How often do you practice receiving the four empowerments from Guru Rinpoche? Perhaps you have been doing this in a very rushed way. During the next several weeks, make a point to slow down and develop conviction that you and the guru are inseparable. Then, as you go about your daily life, keep touching back into that experience.
Does your belief in your practice change when you are more intentional? What is different?