Dharma Apprenticeship Program

Tulku Thubten Rinpoche

March 14, 2000


Dear Sangha,


I feel that it's important for all of us to practice Sojong. Each of us

tends to break the precepts constantly since we're continuously submissive

to our inner habitual patterns (Bakchak). There is no sin or evil that

induces us to commit actions that cause harm to others and ourselves. When we identify with our emotions, we tend to act them out in destructive ways. We no longer see emotions as just emotions, but we begin to experience them as being real. This perception of our emotions determines our reality.  Whenever we become attached to our emotions, we begin to break precepts, such as "causing harm to others".


There is no sense of somebody having more or less sins than another.

Someone may have stronger tendencies of identifying with emotions than

others, therefore, they may commit more harmful actions than do others. The

notion of Bakchak is very different from Sin. Sin is to be condemned and

one is to feel guilty. The notion of sin is a very sinful concept. It's

created as a conceptual entity by religious and social institutions as a way

of teaching people morality by force and threat. The moment we begin to

purify our habitual patterns, our actions become more ethical, peaceful and

creative. It is never too late for us to change our Bakchaks, no matter how

old they are. It takes only mindfulness. It is about being mindful of ones

motives and actions, even of subliminal ones. Somebody reporting that he is sad (in his homework) and, that he's becoming more mindful about the reality that he is NOT mindful; is the best report on the mindfulness meditation that I have heard for a long time.


Sojong is about reflecting on oneself and on one's actions. It's about

analyzing one's Bakchak, seeing how thoughts and actions arise out of one's Bakchak. When we truly have a chance to reflect on our own Bakchak, our Bakchak begins to fade. As long as we are aware of our own Bakchaks of projection, hope, fear, doubt and so forth, we begin to experience inner

freedom and clarity.


Everyone is to practice Sojong tomorrow, March 15th in the early morning

around 6 a.m. Pacific Time If it is possible for all of us to sit at the

same time using Pacific Time as our gauge, it will be a more powerful

practice for the entire Sangha and other beings.


All of us can sit in front of an altar or sacred image. Invoke sacred

witnesses like the Buddha's and Bodhisattvas. Sit there for at least twenty

minutes with your prayers to strengthen your commitment to the path and the

willingness to experience inner peace for yourself and love for all beings.

Reassure yourself of your intentions NOT to allow yourself, again, to be

subject to your own habitual tendencies.


Tulku Thubten Rinpoche