Buddhist Teacher Advice Video 7: Keeping Motivated in Your Daily Practice, Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

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    In the seventh in a new video series, “Advice from the Teachers”, the Venerable Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, Spiritual Head of Gaden for the West Centers, answers a student’s question:

    What advice would you give to a student for keeping motivated and excited about daily practice?

    Rinpoche explains the importance of regular daily practice, inspired by meditating on impermanence. He strongly advises study of the lives of the great Yogis and Yoginis, and also study of the Lamrim teachings to help inspire enthusiasm.

    Full transcript below video. Play video here:




    “This is a good question. I would say, in order to have good motivation, first you have to study Dharma, study Lamrim. You have to learn, and you have to know, the importance of Dharma practice in every day life. And the benefit of Dharma practice in every day life.

    Zasep Tulku Rinpoche meditates by river Nelson BC
    Zasep Rinpoche meditating by the river near the Tashi Choling Retreat Centre in B.C. Rinpoche uses the metaphor of the river or creek to explain the importance of continuous practice. Picture is a frame from the documentary “Come Again.”

    Continuity, ongoing, is very important. It’s like a river, or say a creek. If it’s always running, it will help the area, the valley I would say. It will keep the moisture along the bank of the river. Plants and trees, flowers and so forth will grow. Also, animals will be there. They come to the water.

    Like that, if you are always practicing — doesn’t matter how much — the continuity will be there, the moisture is there. Then, there’s ongoing merit, virtues always growing! Then, when you have more time, more energy, it will be easier to resume, because you are always practicing.

    Instead of practicing for awhile, then stop, then start all over again. That would take time, and it will be harder. That’s why continuity is very important.. For that reason, motivation and understanding the daily practice, and continuity is very important. You need that motivation.

    Buddha Weekly milarepa the sage Buddhism
    The sage Milarepa. Rinpoche advises students to study the life stories of the great sages, Yogis, Yoginis, Mahasiddas and Gurus as inspiration for our own practice.

    As I said, in order for you to have the motivation, you have to understand the benefit of Dharma practice. That’s why one should study Lamrim.

    Also, there are other [ways] to generate motivation. Study the life stories of previous masters — previous great Yogis and Yoginis ­— who did so much practice. They accomplished Dharma realization. So, when you read the life stories of great masters, Yogis and Yoginis, and Gurus, then, it will give you inspiration and motivation to do the practice.

    Another motivation to practice Dharma is to meditate on impermanence of life. And this is mentioned in the Lamrim teachings. According to the Kadam and Gelug tradition, it says that at the beginning of our Dharma practice, or at the beginning of our meditation, if you concentrate a little bit on the impermanence of life, including death and dying, that will give you motivation to do Dharma practice, because you realize life is very transient, life is short. So, Dharma practice is the most valuable thing, and everything else is secondary. That makes you thin, ‘I should practice Dharma.’

    Why? Because Dharma practice is always helpful. Dharma practice is the path to Enlightenment. So, Dharma practice is the most valuable thing. Everything else is secondary.

    Buddha Weekly buddhist monk china prays for deceased found on train platform Buddhism 1
    A monk holds the hand of a deceased person found on a train platform in China. RInpoche advises us to meditate on impermanence, death and dying to help inspire our sense of urgency to practice today and continuously. Precious human life is too short.

    Think a little bit about the impermanence of life. Of death and dying. All the time, people are dying. See what’s happening in the world — there’s so much suffering, people are dying everywhere to illness, disease, calamities, natural disasters, wars, and so forth. When you think about it like that, it makes you think, ‘I should practice more Dharma.’

    Also, end of our life, towards death, Dharma practice is also very important. Some people might think ‘What is the purpose of practicing Dharma at the end of your life. Your life has ended, anyways.’ That sort of thinking is wrong thinking, because, especially when your life is ending, when you are dying, there are different kinds of Dharma practice. There are Dharma practices especially for Death and Dying, such as Phowa practice, meditation on compassion and love, devotional practice, Guru Yoga, these are very important at the time of death so that the Gurus will guide us, our Yidam deities will guide us, at the time of death. And Phowa practice helps us to move on. Instead of going to the Bardo, and being confused, instead we can ‘eject our consciousness’ straight to the Pure Land. And that is why meditation on impermanence is very important. It gives you the motivation.

    To motivate Dharma, I would say meditation on impermanence is very beneficial.”


    Next week, in Buddhist Advice Video 8, Venerable Zasep Rinpoche answers the student question:

    “What practical advice would you give to new students to purify their mental defilements and bad karma? Can you speak about Vajrasattva Purification?”


    Video 1: Advice for Students on Karma>>

    Video 2: Advice for Students dealing with loss of a loved one>>

    Video 3: Advice for Students coping with memory loss, Alzheimers or early dementia>>

    Video 4: Advice for Students coping with the loss of a beloved pet>>

    Video 5: Advice for Students coping with aggressive illnesses such as cancer, looking for supportive practices>>

    Video 6: Advice for the New Student to Buddhism>>

    Video 7: Advice for Keeping Motivated in Your Daily Practice>>

    Video 8: Purifying Negative Karma>>

    Video 9: Advice for Advanced Vajrayana Students on Managing Commitments>>



    Venerable Zasep Rinpoche just returned from a visit to Mongolia, where he was welcomed at the Ulaan Baatar School for the Disabled. He is spiritual director of Gaden Relief, who donated new kitchen equipment for the school. Rinpoche visits Mongolia for both teachings and relief efforts each year.
    Venerable Zasep Rinpoche on a previous trip to Mongolia (2016). He is currently teaching in Mongolia 2017, then on to Zuru Ling, Vancouver BC (April 2017) and Gaden Choling Toronto (May 2017).

    Zasep Rinpoche is currently in Mongolia on an extended round of teachings

    Vancouver, Canada

    Rinpoche will be teaching at Zuru Ling, Vancouver in April: “Zuru Ling is extremely pleased to announce that our precious teacher Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche will be teaching in Vancouver in April 2017:

    • How to do personal retreat, setting up an altar and torma making. Wednesday April 26th, 2017 starting at 7 til 9 pm.
    • Green Tara Initiation – Friday 28th April starting at 7 til 9 pm.
    • Black Manjushri Initiation – Saturday 29th April 2 til 4 pm.
    • Teaching on healing and protection of the Black Manjushri practise – Sunday 30th April starting 10 am til 4 pm.
    • Information: Zuru Ling website>>

    Buddha Weekly Zasep Rinpoche Gaden Choling 2017 Buddhism
    Teaching Schedule of Zasep Tulku Rinpoche for spring 2017 at Gaden Choling Toronto, Canada.


    Toronto, Canada

    Rinpoche will be at Gaden Choling in Toronto, Canada in May for two weeks.

    • Mahamudra teachings: Saturday, May 20th, 10am to 5pm
    • Lama Chopa Guru Yoga: Sunday May 21st, 10am to 5pm
    • Hayagriva Highest Yoga Tantra Initiation: Thursday, May 25th, 7pm to 9pm
    • Green Tara: Friday, May 26th, 7pm to 9pm
    • Black Manjushri Initiation: Saturday May 27th 2-5pm
    • Black Manjushri Practice and Commentary (requires initiation) Sunday May 28th, 10am-5pm
    • Information to be posted soon at Gaden Choling website>>

    About Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

    Buddha Weekly Zasep Tulku Rinpoche happy at Medicine Buddha event Buddhism 1
    Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche.

    Rinpoche is popularly known for his approachable teaching style, strong humor and teachings based on a long lineage of great lamas. His own gurus included the most celebrated of Gelug teachers: His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, Venerable Geshe Thupten Wanggyel, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Venerable Lati Rinpoche, Venerable Tara Tulku Rinpoche and Venerable Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche.

    Rinpoche is spiritual director of many temples, meditation centres and retreat centres in Australia, the United States and Canada. He was first invited to teach in Australia by Lama Thubten Yeshe in 1976.

    More on Zasep Tulku Rinpoche>>

    Gaden for the West Meditation Centres


    • Vajra Ling, Uralla, N.S.W.
    • Losang Gyalwa Mandala, Sydney, N.S.W.
    • Tenzing Ling Centre, Quamaa, N.S.W.
    • Dorje Ling Retreat Centre, Lorina Valley, Tasmania


    United States

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    Venerable Zasep Rinpoche

    Author | Buddha Weekly

    Rinpoche is spiritual head of many Dharma Centres, and teaches around the world. Originally from Kham province in Tibet (born 1948) Rinpoche has taught in the west since 1976, after he was first invited by Geshe Thubten Loden and Lama Yeshe to teach at the Chenrezig Institute in Australia. Today, he is spiritual head of the Gaden for the West centres in Canada, U.S., and Australia and also spiritual director of the the charities Gaden Relief Project (Canada) and Manlha Tus NGO (Mongolia). He is the author of three books, including his latest release in 2018 with a rare English commentary and practice instructions for Gelug Mahamudra.

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