Coming Home to Our Fundamental Goodness

“The fundamental message of the Buddha is that, regardless who we are, we all have Buddha nature,  the potential of enlightenment. In fact our true nature is the Buddha. That means our true nature is goodness.”

In this short teaching from Ireland, Sogyal Rinpoche explains how coming to understand our fundamental goodness can free us from our limited views of ourselves, including any low self-esteem issues we may have.

Rinpoche wrote about this buddha nature, this seed of enlightenment, in Chapter 4 of  The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying:

When we say Buddha, we naturally think of the Indian prince Gautama Siddhartha, who reached enlightenment in the sixth century B.C., and who taught the spiritual path followed by millions all over Asia, known today as Buddhism. Buddha, however, has a much deeper meaning. It means a person, any person, who has completely awakened from ignorance and opened to his or her vast potential of wisdom. A buddha is one who has brought a final end to suffering and frustration, and discovered a lasting and deathless happiness and peace.

But for many of us in this skeptical age, this state may seem like a fantasy or a dream, or an achievement far beyond our reach. It is important to remember always that Buddha was a human being, like you or me. He never claimed divinity, he merely knew he had the buddha nature, the seed of enlightenment, and that everyone else did too. The buddha nature is simply the birthright of every sentient being, and I always say, “Our buddha nature is as good as any buddha’s buddha nature.” This is the good news that the Buddha brought us from his enlightenment in Bodhgaya, and which many people find so inspiring. His message—that enlightenment is within the reach of all—holds out tremendous hope. Through practice, we too can all become awakened.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, pp. 48-49.

(Reprinted with permission from HarperCollins)

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