Finding a genuine way to practice is quite easy to talk about, Phakchok Rinpoche teaches. But, he warns us that it is actually quite difficult to do. Finding a genuine way can be very challenging. What we really want to put effort into, Rinpoche says, is to be genuine. What does that mean? Often, we really don’t have a clue. We think we are being genuine, but when we investigate carefully, we see that we are learning to lie. We are habituating ourselves to a “positive” kind of lying.
To be genuine, Rinpoche teaches, we work to drop this habit. How? We can realize that we don’t have to work so hard to please everybody. We can stop thinking so much about ourselves. We can relax our striving to maintain a certain image. Instead, we can practice keeping a truthful and sincere heart. The sincere heart doesn’t focus upon obtaining something for ourselves, but on caring for others. Here, Rinpoche explains he means just simple caring. Try to have a good, sincere heart!
It is difficult to be sincere. Even among spiritual practitioners, we may not find many who embody that quality. We all face this challenge. So what to do? The only way to stay sincere, Rinpoche advises, is to remember to set our motivation. In the Buddhist tradition, we always begin teachings with supplication and motivation prayers.
Here, Rinpoche shares personal advice on how he personally now thinks about motivation. He knows that we have heard this many times and we may be tired of hearing about it. Rinpoche jokes that teaching about motivation can seem tiring — but it is all about kindness. And kindness means it is not “all about you.”
Rinpoche asks us to consider why he talks about motivation so frequently. A teacher reminds us where we can improve. We may be very good at accumulating mantras or doing hours of practice if Rinpoche requests it. But, we also need to check: are we more sincere? More genuine and true? Unfortunately, we might not pass this small test. We may be a little better until we meet someone we don’t like. And then, does our personality change depending on the conditions?
Dharma means knowing yourself. We have the confidence and dignity to look at our own character. We train in knowing without judging ourselves or worrying about our image. Just sit and reflect, remind yourself, and re-remind yourself. That is how to consider motivation. Please repeatedly remind yourself to have a kind mind and a caring mind.