What does it mean to be open, truthful, and sincere? Phakchok Rinpoche begins this video teaching by describing these three fundamental qualities. He then explains that these are key principles for the spiritual practitioner. These same qualities are also core values for living a good secular life. Here, Rinpoche elaborates on the specifics of each quality in both the spiritual and secular context.


What does it mean to be open? Openness on the spiritual path means being less opinionated about spiritual matters. In regular life, it similarly means reducing judgment. We don’t hold tightly to our own opinions. When we develop an attitude of openness we allow ourselves to learn from others. And we acknowledge the basic fact that we are not always right! We can continue to grow and expand our views throughout our lives. And this very openness also offers us the opportunity to grow our sense of humor and kindness because we aren’t so busy defending ourselves.


Truthfulness can be a little scary for a spiritual practitioner. You will hear that you do not exist, that you have no “I”. That may be a frightening thought. And we may not want to accept this message. So, in the spiritual sense, being truthful means not mean holding back or turning away from uncomfortable teachings. We lean into what scares us and examine why we are reacting the way we are. It is also important that we know the true purpose of “secret” teachings. They are “secret” because they can transform us on an inner level. If we have received the teachings, but have not really changed, then something is not working correctly. We have not truly put the teachings into practice.

In the mundane sense, being truthful is the best way to operate with our family and friends. That is easy to understand.


Finally, we need to be sincere. On a spiritual level, this means that we do not try to hide anything. We should be transparent. We can look at our faults and shortcomings with detachment and resolve to purify them. There is no benefit in being caught up in self-criticism or guilt. On the other hand, we don’t puff up with pride. In our daily lives, we can resolve to operate the same way.  We should be straight with people (but treat them respectfully)  and have no fear.

Adopting these three qualities of being open, truthful, and sincere means that we have no agenda. We can naturally develop many good qualities such as compassion once we’ve established this strong foundation.

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