Lama Zopa Rinpoche at an Indian restaurant in Vienna, Austria, September 2017. Photo by Markus Igel.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave advice to a student who wrote to him about experiencing many obstacles and low self-esteem. Here’s an excerpt from Rinpoche’s advice, given in February 2017:

Regarding your question about low self-esteem, many people have low self-esteem, but it is by not thinking about karma and thinking only about worldly things, so low self-esteem is really a wrong label. It is not thinking about and understanding karma, so it’s like a wrong label. It’s a worldly mind. You think you don’t have what the country or society expects, but in reality the most important thing is Dharma. By understanding karma, you can see this. So I think low self-esteem is a wrong label; it is a more worldly way of thinking. …

The most important thing is to help any being with our body, speech, and mind, to help others, even insects, to help anybody who has any problem, to help in whatever way we can. I was saying in the teachings at Root Institute [in January 2017] that to share even an Indian rupee, even an anna [a small currency unit, worth less that a rupee] even if we only have that, we can make charity and share with those in need. In our daily life every single thing, whatever we can do to help others with our body, speech, and mind, it is very important in everyday life to help others as much as possible. In that way we create merit, unbelievable, unbelievable merit, especially if it is done with bodhichitta. That is very, very important.

Then making offering—for example, when we eat and drink—making offering to the guru, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. By making offering to the guru it is the highest merit and the greatest purification and therefore the quickest way to enlightenment. [This includes] anything done toward the guru, such as obtaining advice, fulfilling the guru’s holy wishes and these things. Offering to the guru, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha—these are very powerful [objects] to create good karma, and most powerful is the guru. It says this in teachings of sutra and tantra; I’m not just making it up.

Also, taking care of our parents, not with attachment, but by thinking of them as sentient beings. So this life’s kind mother and kind father who took care of us, every single service [for them] is very powerful, good karma. We start to experience the result, happiness, in this life and then for many hundreds of thousands of lives, on and on, for lifetimes.

Read the complete advice “Low Self-Esteem,” posted in August 2017 by Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive on “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book”:

The 100 Million Mani Retreat at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Italy began on October 4! You can watch Lama Zopa Rinpoche teach live on YouTube and Facebook. For links and details:

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s webpage on If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT via email, sign up to FPMT News.