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Wisdom Spotlight - Issue #8 - Self-Reflection

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Wisdom Spotlight

September 2 · Issue #8 · View online

A monthly spotlight on Dharma education and practice resources from Samye Institute.


Dear Student,
Many of Phakchok Rinpoche’s teachings discuss the importance of self-reflection in both sitting practice and daily life. Self-reflection  helps us see  habitual unfruitful patterns when we are examining the occurrence of kleshas or the negative states of mind. Yet I suspect many of us focus unproductively on our errors and faults when asked to look at ourselves. We can mine disappointment, guilt, embarrassment and all manner of neurotic states when we look only at our shortcomings in the past. The  trick is to self-evaluate effectively.
As Rinpoche often says, reflect, don’t judge!
“When reflecting, it is important to do so with your practice, personality, responsibility, and so forth. Reflect on your actions and reflect on yourself.
When you don’t reflect, you are like a blind person, not knowing where you are heading.
While reflecting, know that your innate nature is clean and has the Buddha nature. Keep the judgmental and comparing mind at bay.”
From “Meditation Without Reflection is Blind.” A Guru Rinpoche Day Teaching Oct. 19, 2018.
Rinpoche encourages using key points of dharma teachings to direct focused attention in turning our behaviour and our attitudes in positive directions. We can use these dharmic methods to guide our self-evaluation with the understanding that they point to constructive ways of progress on the path. Clarification of our motivation to practice, The Four Immeasurables, the Four Mind Changings, the Paramitas, and the many Lojong (Mind Training) teachings can all be used as  lenses to guide the  cultivation of wisdom and compassion and  the dignity that Rinpoche encourages us to manifest. This kind of process can defeat self-loathing and inspire confidence in our meritorious qualities.

Wisdom Spotlight on Self-Reflection
In the postings below, Rinpoche and senior students discuss and describe ways they have used Dharmic teachings and principles to guide, structure and enhance their process of self-reflection.
Reflection: Importance of Motivation
Self-Reflection on the Spiritual Path
Busy Laziness
Becoming an Authentic Practitioner
Student Reflections on the Four Mind Changings
Check Yourself! The Tool of Reflection
Self-Confidence
Training the Mind: An Introduction - Samye Institute
Upcoming Events
Senior Lama Teaching Series: Advice for Practicing in the Chokling Tersar Tradition
Tsok Bum Series: Guru Tsokyé Nyingtik (The Lake-Born Guru’s Heart Essence)
Latest Wisdom Blogs
Samye Institute posts regular wisdom blogs, covering various aspects of Buddhist practice, ritual and education. Here’s what we posted in the last month.
Radically Loving through Spaciousness and Letting Go
Radically Loving: Creating Sparks of Love
Birth of Guru Rinpoche
The Importance of Dignity
Educational Resources on Samye Institute
For those of you who want to learn in more detail, we have the following courses available on our platform. Each course is presented in a structured way and also has access to forums and instructor support.
About the Author
Ani Marcia was a resident for 16 years at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde in California engaged in study and center administration. Prior to that she was a student at Green Gulch Zen Center near San Francisco for a decade. She was a midwife and midwife educator prior to her move to Gomde. She now lives in Singapore near her family and is involved at Ranjgung Yeshe Oddiyana.
About Samye Institute
Do you know that we’ve published over 500 pieces of content since our inception? On SamyeInstitute.org we offer a large archive of audio, video, and written teachings including many teachings directly from Phakchok Rinpoche.
All of these articles include key points and many offer reflection exercises or contemplations. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to or watch these teachings before, we hope that you will take the time to explore them.
We encourage you to regularly browse the archive or search it for topics that may be of particular interest.
Support Us
Here are a few ways you can support Samye Institute and it’s activities.
  • ​A regular or one-time offering - We are a non-profit organization that relies heavily on volunteer and donor support. You can either become a supporting member by making a regular monthly offering or make a one-time offering by visiting https://samyeinstitute.org/donate.
  • Volunteer your time and skills - We welcome you to form an auspicious connection with Samye Institute and to volunteer your time or skills. To view our application form, please visit https://samyeinstitute.org/volunteer
  • Contribute to a fund for retreatants - One of our deeply held principles at Samye is to facilitate and inspire long-term retreat amongst our global community. We have recently made a small fund available to support dedicated and serious practitioners who want to spend time in retreat. If you would like to contribute to this fund, please visit https://samyeinstitute.org/donations/retreat-fund.
  • Sponsor our monks’ education and living expenses - You can help support our young monks living at the Lotus Light Dharma Institute in Chapagaon, our artisan monks living at our Riwoche Monastery near Boudha and our Tibetan medicine doctors and students practicing near Boudha by visiting https://samyeinstitute.org/donations/monk-sponsorship.
  • Set up a local Dharma-stream group - Dharma-stream is a series of regular video teachings directly from Phakchok Rinpoche, designed to be viewed in a group setting. For more information about Dharma-stream and how to start a group, please visit https://samyeinstitute.org/dharma-stream.
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