Buddhist Philosophy

Motivation, Aspiration, Devotion

Motivation, aspiration, devotion—we can rely on these to support our Dharma practice. In this video teaching, filmed at Khandro Ling in Brazil in March 2015, Phakchok Rinpoche teaches on the three wish-fulfilling jewels that aid our practice. This video includes Portuguese subtitles!

If we want to be good, persistent and decisive practitioners, we need these three basic skills. First, we should be sure to begin our practice with motivation. Then we can perfume and infuse it with devotion. So, motivation comes first, and throughout the path we maintain our devotion. Finally, we can seal our practice with aspiration. Motivation is like looking in the mirror—it is your reflection. And devotion reflects of your realization of your nature. Aspiration reflects your future results. Thus, these three aspects reflect our practice.

Although we hear many teachings on devotion and motivation, we don’t hear as much about aspiration. Here, Rinpoche reminds us that aspiration is the reflection of our future results and points us in the correct direction.

Reflection Question

This week, and in the coming weeks, make time to observe your own practice. Have you been neglecting one of these three cornerstones? If so, you may want to spend a few more minutes on that cornerstone in the upcoming weeks.

Is there one that you find particularly helpful for your practice? What does contemplation and reflection of this cornerstone mean to you?

3 responses on "Motivation, Aspiration, Devotion"

  1. Thank you SO much Rinpoche for these precious Teachings! <3 <3 <3

  2. Very precise and to the point, extremely important teaching Rinpoche. Tesekkur Ederim. Thank you. <3

  3. I’ve practiced for many, many years. The instructions were to do aspiration before any practice. I found it “pointed” the mind in the right direction and help “lift” the mind from an ordinary place to a better place.

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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.