Obstacles and Unsteadiness as Aspirations and Spiritual Fuel


Phakchok Rinpoche advises us how not to be shaken by obstacles. In this video teaching filmed in summer 2013 at Samye Hermitage New York, he warns of letting our spiritual practice become unstable. Additionally, he explains how best to avoid this situation.

Obstacles can cause problems for all of us. But we can learn how to not be so “shaky”. Successful practitioners can deal with unsteady health, emotions, relationships, and difficulties. Emotions and families may always bring unsteady bumps in the road. But, we are so fortunate that we have found the path of Dharma. These kinds of problems should not cause major imbalances. And it is especially important that we do not lose our spiritual practice! We cannot lose the meaning of life. We know that our human life is very precious; we have all have heard this many times.

But reflect honestly—how much time do we waste? Rinpoche shares here frankly how he assesses his own behavior and how he works to avoid obstacles. To overcome and be free from these obstacles, we first anchor ourselves and remind ourselves by doing daily practice. Also, we can seek support in our sangha—ask your instructors and senior friends for help.

And, always, we can supplicate our masters and all the buddhas and bodhisattvas. We concentrate on making our life meaningful, and not abandoning our spiritual practice. Don’t wait until the moment of death to have a strong spiritual connection. We can supplicate as often as we like throughout the day.

Making aspirations is also very important—Rinpoche refers to aspirations as the “fuel” for spirituality. Rinpoche concludes by stressing the importance of making very bold and big aspirations. May all sentient beings without exception benefit from this pith teaching!

Reflection Exercise

This week, commit yourself to spend a little more time making aspirations. You may recite any of the aspiration prayers that you know—or visit Samye Translations and read some of the beautiful aspiration prayers they offer there. Also, feel free to personalize the aspirations and say things in your own words—it is important that you feel this from the heart!

As you supplicate, ask your teacher and lineage masters for help in overcoming obstacles—in seeing them as part of the path. At the end of the week, if you have been working with aspiration, has your outlook on obstacles changed? Can you see obstacles as less threatening? And can you see how your practice gives you the power to move beyond them?

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