Laying Down Our Faults: Returning of the Light

Dudjom Rinpoche was a very great householder yogi. He embodied the best of the Dharma yet remained a humble husband, father, and Dharma teacher. As a lama, he inspired thousands to practice pure awareness. We who follow in his footsteps continue to receive his blessings though living teachers who walked in his shadow.

The last prayer Rinpoche wrote before his death came in a vision where Padmasambhava appeared and spoke directly. He said, “Establish the dharma. Plant it in your heart. In the depth of your heart, you will attain Buddhahood. Enter the Buddha land. Purify confusion. Happily the Pure land is nearby. Generate diligence in the essence practice. Without practice, who can get results? Looking at all of one’s faults is difficult. Laying down one’s own fault is the essential point. One day all defects will slowly purify themselves. And good qualities gradually flourish.” That was the teaching.

After receiving this vision Dudjom Rinpoche composed a beautiful prayer that very directly surfaces our faults and points the way to liberating them (see: The Prayer for Recognizing One’s Faults . . .<>). This extensive prayer is difficult to read as it hits the nail squarely on the ego’s head. But the entire prayer can be summarized in the visionary words above.

Everyone experiences a time in life when laying down one’s faults becomes excruciatingly necessary. Dilgo Khyetnse Rinpoche said, “Start with your worst defilement first.” If we are honest, we can look “nakedly” into the face of a core habitual tendency and practice “laying it down” every time it arises. This is how we establish the Dharma and plant it in our heart. By practicing the profound teachings and mingling them with our perceptions, we begin to recognize our natural wisdom. We notice the difficulties we experience are a result of refusing to let go of an unskillful fixation. In that moment, the light of pure awareness dawns and we experience a momentary liberation.

As we enter a new seasonal cycle and celebrate the winter solstice, maybe we can remember it is really the returning of light. Daylight hours will gradually increase amidst the backdrop of chilling cold. When we experience the cold darkness of our hidden faults we see they are really a returning of the light—if we lay them down and expose them to the sun of our natural insight. We may experience an early Spring where our good qualities flourish.

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