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Confession (Tib. བཤགས་པ་, shakpa, Wyl. bshags pa) — the process of admitting or 'exposing' one's misdeeds before a witness or support, feeling regret for them and vowing not to repeat them in future. See also the four powers.

How to Practise Confession

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche says:

"Confession in Mahayana Buddhism has a lot to do with exposing oneself. I don’t really know the meaning of the word “confession”, but I would say that here it means revealing yourself or ‘uncovering’. Uncovering what? Pride, vulnerability, selfishness—all the attachments we cling to and cherish. This is what we are supposed to expose."

Chökyi Drakpa says:

"The third branch (of the seven branches) is confession, which must involve all four powers. As the power of support, trust in the field of merit as a method for purifying your harmful actions. As the power of regret, develop remorse for all the negativity you have accumulated including the ten non-virtuous actions (the three of the body, the four of the speech and the three of the mind). Feel as much regret as if you had just swallowed poison. As the power of resolve, vow not to repeat them in future.
For the power of action as an antidote, consider that all your harmful actions and obscurations, and all those of other sentient beings, are gathered together in the form of a black pile on the tip of your tongue. Then rays of light emanate from the field of merit, strike the pile, and purify it just like a stain being completely washed away.
Ultimately, the way to confess and purify is by resting in the luminosity of the dharmakaya nature of mind without grasping at the three spheres (of subject, object and activity) as being true or real."[1]

Alternative Translations

  • parting (Padmkara Translation Group)

Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha


  1. Seven Branch Practice section in A Torch for the Path to Omniscience

External Links