Monthly Dharma Quotation: On Feeling Guilty

Opinions, emotions, prejudices and ideas change, but even so they are still what we identify with. We think all this is ‘me,’ but actually it is just something that arises within that space [of] awareness and sensitivity. It is just a feature of that. The person in charge is not anything special and his lordly judgement is by no means binding.

It is tremendously important to recognise this, because it is the person in charge, with his lordly judgements, who perpetuates all our guilt feelings. When we feel guilty two things happen. First we side against ourselves and then that part of ourselves that feels criticised sides against others. So on the other side of a feeling of guilt is a feeling that others are bad. This leads us to attack them, if not verbally or physically, at least in our mind. 

This is a very common problem in the West. It is important to notice these feelings of guilt: ‘It’s all my fault, I am bad, I blame myself’, which then moves on to things like ‘It’s their fault, They are bad.’ These thoughts and the feelings that go with them are actually just thoughts and feelings. They are nothing special. The problem comes when we identify with the special person in charge who is making these kinds of judgements as if they really knew what was what. In spite of appearances and feelings, this person is not you in any profound sense. In the meditation, notice that that lordly judgement appears in space as just a phenomenon or feature of that space.

Rigdzin Shikpo

This month’s dharma quotation was submitted by a student of Rigdzin Shikpo and comes from the book Openness, Clarity, Sensitivity which can be ordered from our bookshop here: If you are a student of Rigdzin Shikpo and have any suggestions for the monthly quotation, please let us know at

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