On this Guru Rinpoche day, I would like to share with you some advice about two more qualities that are important both for worldly life and Dharma practice. The first of these qualities is being able to see one’s own faults without losing one’s dignity (rang kyön tong tupa, sem pa ma shorpa).
We know that we ourselves will eventually die. We know, and yet … are we really taking these teachings to heart as the Buddha and the teachers encourage us to do? Do we truly believe that this could be our last Dharma talk or meditation session? Have we become bored with these reflections?
When we really want to practice Dharma we wish to carry on until we die. We don’t want to stop! Dharma practice is a continuous journey. Of course, we want to continue until enlightenment but as we begin, we can think, “I want to practice at least until death”.
As Vajrayāna and Mahāyāna practitioners we can regularly engage in self-reflection to check our progress.
We gradually train in understanding these crucial points to give our practice a strong foundation.
We’re busy people and have lots of responsibilities and activities, so often we may forget to engage in self-reflection. But, we may want to look carefully at what we prioritize. If we don’t make time for self-reflection, we don’t need to apologize–but we should remind ourselves how important this is. And we should begin our meditation sessions with a few minutes of reflection–don’t leave it to the last thing we do. If we form the habit of checking ourselves, we are actually taking steps toward becoming a bodhisattva, a buddha.
When reflecting, it is important to do so with your practice, personality, responsibility, and so forth. Reflect on your actions and reflect on your self. When you don’t reflect, you are like a blind person, not knowing where you are heading.
Trusting karma is something that many of us struggle with in our practice. But are we clear about what karma really means? Here, Phakchok Rinpoche reminds us that the Sanskrit word karma means “action.” We create karma when we act with our physical body or when we speak. However, it may not be so obvious that we create karma when we think as well.
When we gain trust and certainty in ourselves, we cannot help but want to do something beneficial for the world. The world does not orbit around the ego anymore. Ego is an actor, always in the theater. When we discover our innate dignity, we no longer need to act. We only need to be who we really are—compassionate, kind, and dignified.
Phakchok Rinpoche, Awakening Dignity, Chapter 11: Authentic Power