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Attitude & Behaviour Component

To facilitate this essential training aspect of the program, Lama Zopa Rinpoche has put in place a three-fold assessment of the attitude and behaviour component: a daily self-evaluation, fulfilment of the patience requirement and an acceptable level of conduct as evaluated by MP staff.

"It would be good to implement an assessment for moral conduct; moral behaviour is very important. If it is clear that they are using the teachings to subdue their mind and are being kind, this will touch the hearts of their students, and their teachings will be more effective. It's not just to study to produce knowledge, but to subdue the mind."

Lama Zopa Rinpoche - Geshe Summit, April 2001

1. Daily Self-Evaluation

During the first Masters Program, with Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s detailed input and incorporating feedback from students and staff, a self-evaluation card was agreed upon as an effective method to monitor one’s practice of ethical behaviour, patience and attitude. The card provides a way to record instances of abiding by and transgression of the five lay-vows, occurrences of harsh speech and anger, and actions done with or contrary to the intention to benefit others, and is set up so that it becomes an integrated part of the daily purification practice.

By keeping such a record students have found that their mindfulness of these specific elements of practice in daily life increases; the self-evaluation functions as a tool to develop their practice and as an encouragement to become more aware of developments and lapses.

The card is thus intended as a personal practice tool, to be kept privately, and used and applied as is most suitable for each individual student.

2. Patience Requirement

While the self-evaluation card as such is offered as a personal practice tool, students are required to report the total recorded monthly instances of anger as an extra incentive for developing their practice of patience, which has been indicated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche as a prerequisite for obtaining Masters Program qualification.

"....in one month, how many times one gets angry - and this means not just upset but hatred, ill will to somebody - to write that down. By writing it down, it becomes part of your job, it makes you to be aware. Always there is the thought “I must be careful.” It gives you awareness and that makes you to get angry less often and it persuades you to think of the meditations, of what to apply. It makes sure you prepare."

~Lama Zopa Rinpoche - Addressing MP students in Padua, Italy, May 2001


"How much one is able to practice patience is part of the examination, the conduct part. The idea is that while studying these extensive teachings, at the same time you are taming your mind against anger, the enemy, and practicing patience, for success. This condition makes us practice. We hear so many teachings but still, If we are not practising patience, thought transformation, and lam-rim, we get angry and we destroy our merits."

Lama Zopa Rinpoche - Advice to Master's Program students, ILTK, September 2004

Fulfilment of the patience requirement is necessary for subject completion.

3. Conduct

Behaviour is also assessed in general, with regard to meeting an acceptable level of conduct. This is evaluated by MP staff.

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