Four powers

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Four powers or four strengths (Tib. བཤགས་པའི་སྟོབས་བཞི་, shakpé tob shyi, Wyl. bshags pa'i stobs bzhi) — the essential elements in the practice of confession.

  1. power of support (རྟེན་གྱི་སྟོབས་, ten gyi tob, rten gyi stobs)
  2. power of regret (ཉེས་བྱས་སུན་འབྱིན་གྱི་སྟོབས་, nyejé sünjin gyi tob, nyes byas sun ‘byin gyi stobs)
  3. power of resolve (སྡོམ་པའི་སྟོབས་, dompé tob, sdom pa’i stobs)
  4. power of action as an antidote (གཉེན་པོ་ཀུན་སྤྱོད་ཀྱི་སྟོབས་, nyenpo künchö kyi tob, gnyen po kun spyod kyi stobs)

The Sutra Teaching the Four Factors says:

O Maitreya, bodhisattva mahasattva, if you possess four factors, you will overcome harmful actions that have been committed and accumulated. What are these four? The action of total rejection, the action as remedy, the power of restoration, and the power of support.[1]


Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche makes this distinction between feelings of guilt and the power of regret:

Guilt has no benefit of any sort and only increases our neurotic attachment to the self, freezes us in our perception of ourselves as “bad me.” In fact, no one is saying it's your fault, that you are responsible. It's the confusion that exists in your mind.
But you're making that confusion as you. When you cling to ignorance as "me", there's no way to purify; you're defending the confusion!
The whole method of confession is not to possess this confusion as yours. So you have to self-reflect, expose it and distance yourself from it.[2]


  1. See internal link for reference.
  2. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Guilt: an obstacle on the spiritual path,

Further Reading

Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha

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