It's Up to You: the practice of self-reflection on the Buddhist path
On the spiritual path we speak of enlightenment. But how do we reconcile the idea of enlightenment with what we see when we look in the mirror—when insecurities, doubts, and self-centered tendencies arise in our minds? Dzigar Kongtrül suggests that we need not feel "doomed" when these experiences surface. In fact, such experiences are not a problem if we are able to simply let them arise without judging them or investing them with so much meaning. This approach to experience is what Kongtrül calls self-reflection.
Self-reflection is a practice, a path, and an attitude. It is the spirit of taking an interest in that which we usually try to push away. Self-reflection is the common thread that runs through all traditions of Buddhist practice. It breathes life into our practice, protecting it from becoming just another enterprise. When we practice self-reflection we take liberation into our own hands and accept the challenge and personal empowerment in Kongtrül's title: it's up to you.
Trained by the celebrated Tibetan meditation master Dilgo Khyentse (author of The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones and The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel ), Dzigar Kongtrül is steeped in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Having lived in Colorado and taught Western students for fifteen years, he is deeply valued for his skill at presenting ancient teachings in a way that is accessible and relevant for the contemporary mind.
"Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche has written an enthralling and practical book that speaks to us all with an exceptional clarity about confusion, uncertainty, and fear, about fearlessness and courage, and about awareness, joy, sanity, and freedom. A book which I cannot recommend highly enough."
—Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
"In trying to articulate what is so profound about his style of presentation, I find that partly, it is the prolonged and intensive Buddhist training he received; partly, it is the way he never holds back but always challenges himself; partly, it is his good heart and his humility; partly, it is that he has immersed himself wholeheartedly in Western culture; partly it is that he knows the minds of students; partly it is his almost ruthless directness; partly it is because you feel understood and appreciated; partly, it is because you feel you can't get away with anything."
—Pema Chodron, author of When Things Fall Apart, The Places That Scare You, and The Compassion Box
"Like Dzigar Kongtrül himself, this book is warm, direct, and potent. Its intimacy is transformative."
—Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, author of Turning the Mind into an Ally