Dear friends near and far,

As always, I hope this message finds you well, healthy and happy, as I am. On today’s Guru Rinpoche Day, I would like to share with you some more words of advice from Dza Patrül Rinpoche:

Feigning the meditation and recitation of generation and completion
Without practicing all-important bodhicitta for a single session,
One is but masquerading as a practitioner
Whose word is worth nine villages full of bullshit.

Some of you may be practicing Dharma, maintaining sessions, meditating and so on… Whatever you may be doing, the most important is always your motivation. As Patrül Rinpoche says, no matter what and how much you practice, without bodhicitta, all of it is pointless, and you are really just posing as a practitioner. Therefore, whether you are practicing Sutra or Mantra, all of your practice should be suffused with the motivation of bodhicitta. And bodhicitta arises from compassion, which must stem from a sincere heart. This is probably the most difficult point for all of us, but it is also the most important.

Whether it’s four sessions without generation or completion,
The decrescendo of cymbals without the right timbre,
Or the blurting out of mantra recitation without samadhi—
All of these leave you on the wayside of the path to liberation.

If you practice four sessions without properly understanding the principles of the generation and completion stages, if you go through the motions of the rituals without knowing their key points, or if you recite mantra without meditative concentration, you will never reach the state of liberation and omniscience.

Is the parrot-like recitation the one who,
Disregarding all the key points of true Dharma,
Engages in but a semblance of practice,
The undeceiving teaching of the Victor? I think not.

All practice should be based on an understanding of the key points of the Buddha’s authentic teaching. Without such an understanding, you are just putting on the pretense of practice, like a parrot reciting “om mani padme hum.” As Patrül Rinpoche says, I doubt that is the true teaching of the Buddha.

These three verses all point to the key principles of Dharma practice, that we should always keep in mind. These basically come down to three excellences: the excellent preparation of bodhicitta, the excellent main part without conceptualization, and the excellent conclusion of dedication. The excellent preparation of bodhicitta is our motivation. The excellent main part without conceptualization is non-clinging: practicing without self-clinging, without clinging onto things being one way or another, and without clinging onto what one is doing. The excellent conclusion of dedication is dedicating all of one’s virtues to all beings, so that they may reach the state of omniscient Buddhahood. These three excellences are crucial to all Dharma practice.

Thus, on today’s Guru Rinpoche Day, I am sending these words of advice as a reminder. You have all received many teachings, read Dharma books, and spent quite a bit of time practicing. But there are many who practice without understanding the key principles of Dharma. That is why you’ll find quite a few people who say they’ve been practicing for a long time, without any results. This is entirely due to missing the point in one’s practice: the Buddhadharma is not at fault; we are, for not having the correct motivation, not accumulating merit and purifying the obscurations, and not remembering the key points.

Therefore, don’t play the ball game: blaming the guru, blaming yourself, blaming your Dharma siblings, blaming the Dharma… If you want results in your practice, stay positive and remember the key principles of Dharma.

With all my love and prayers,

Sarva Mangalam.

Phakchok Rinpoche


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