The Practical Buddhist Blog – Practical Advice on Integrating the Practice of Buddhism in Contemporary Life


I recently saw a video that said it was critically important in manifesting new goals that you alter your subconscious so it is in line with your new goals and assume a new identity.   Because your old identity’s subconscious will typically be at odds with your new goals and will therefore sabotage your attempt at meeting them.   So for example, if your intent is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path, your subconscious, your ego, is definitely not going to be supportive.

When I heard this, I felt that I had over the years indeed assumed a new identity by freeing myself from the control of my mind and reconnecting instead with my true self, which is my heart, my true Buddha nature, my divine essence.   But I had not taken on a new name, even to myself.

When I sat with this, I thought about the fact that 25 years ago, when I took my Precepts, I was given a dharma name, Hanh Niêm.  But other than at temple or in connection with my website, I have never used that name or thought of myself as having that identity.

I have known, however, that my mind, the mind of Ronald Hirsch, would never allow me to pursue the Buddhist path and so it was necessary to turn my will and my life over to the care of my true Buddha self.   But I thought of that Buddha self as being part of Ronald Hirsch, which it is, but with a new identity.

I realize now that all the work I have done in the intervening years has been to flesh out the identity that I received on taking the Precepts.   And so in my meditation now, I take on my new identity of Hanh Niêm, which means Virtue of Mindfulness.

I am Hanh Niêm, Ronald Hirsch.


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