Skillful Doubt is Easier than Deluded Doubt

So, we will explore a bit now about a aspect of Lorig; correct and incorrect doubt. A formal definition of doubt is a mental factor that vacillates with respect to its object. When the mind becomes mixed or associated with doubt, the mind itself, along with all other mental factors, such as emotions, motivation, and ability to distinguish between right and wrong, becomes blended with the qualities of doubt. In informal or everyday life, we may experience it’s effects, use it, or look at it, but we do not really analyze doubt itself, isn’t that so?

Because we have to be very firm when practicing dharma to have confidence in the path and goal of our spiritual efforts, our mind must be free of wavering. Certain kinds of analytical meditation train us to observe two or more positions making dispassionate judgment regarding the correct view. That is not the vacillating mind-wavering kind of doubt. When doing correct analytical meditation, we not only observe, but we also enter a stronger connection with the objects under analysis by deliberately dividing our attention between two or more viewpoints.

An example of this might be thinking about karma or cause and effect as having either a positive influence or a negative influence on our behavior. This enjoyable type of meditation requires a great deal of previous inner work creating clarity of mind for best results. This will culminate in higher enthusiasm for dharma and an ability to resolve inner doubt so completely that eventually one becomes awakened in the manner of awakening achieved by Buddha Shakyamuni. Non-deluded doubt meditation practice actively seeks to resolve conflict by structured cogitation using correct logic based on healthy Buddhist principles.

However, improper doubt is a powerful reverse blessing. Deluded doubt not only shakes confidence and faith, but can actually cause one to stop spiritual practice completely should it get to a point where one cannot tolerate it. One can become discouraged by doubt. Without confidence, stamina and understanding needed for practice can cause the meditator to falter. That person’s progress can either stop immediately or return into a tiny seed form. In this fall from being a practitioner, at best they revert to an earlier practice of mild interest but no longer sustain the enthusiasm of a practitioner.

Excerpt from Mystery of Emptiness & Love by DG Rinpoche
2009 Hermitage Buddhist Publishing


  1. The correct kind of doubt you describe looking at two positions examining them with equanimity, not being squimish or angry for example is very healthy for mental and physical healath as well as spiritual health. When we doubt and it makes us frantic, guilty, ashamed etc. we create a great deal of stress. It is good to think of doubt in these ways. Thank you Rinpoche!
    Nyima (Wisconsin)


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