Arrogance and low self-esteem: flip sides of the same coin

  If we’re accused of being arrogant, it’s not very comfortable, is it? “No!” we think. “I don’t have pride. I have low self-esteem.”   We all have low self-esteem. In fact, His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he heard about the extent of low self-esteem in our...

Practice begins when we change our mind

   There’s a saying in Buddhism that if we can change something, please, change it! But the question is: what if we can’t? This is when Buddhist practice really begins. And the people whose practice I admire most are my friends in prison....

Why do we need a teacher?

Why do we need a spiritual teacher and what is one? The Sanskrit word is “guru” and I believe it implies someone “heavy with qualities” – who doesn’t need someone like that! The Tibetan equivalent is “lama.” They’re “knowledge-holders”: rigzin. We so often mystify all...

How to understand emptiness by thinking about dependent arising

How do we get to realize the emptiness of the I? Am I supposed to just sit there and think, “I am empty, I am empty, I am empty,” waiting for some vision to come. Ridiculous! Actually, you don’t sit there thinking about emptiness; you sit there thinking about...

How do we know whom to trust?

One of the most painful experiences is betrayal of trust. But how to ensure that someone – our colleague, our close friend, our beloved, or simply our next-door neighbour – is worthy of our trust? Or, putting it another way, how can we learn to develop the wisdom to...