Saturday, October 18, 2008

Not Progressing At All

I am disappointed in many ways nowadays. When the guru comes, everyone rushes to greet him, to touch him, to get his blessings, and also, in very subtle way, probably to show him how devoted we are to him compared to others. Throughout the year we go to this lama’s teaching, that rinpoche’s teaching, go here, go there…. But the moment a car comes along in front of you, you hone him like you will go crazy. Or, the moment, you receive an email or hear words we don’t quite like, or does not think it concerns us as Buddhists, we respond or reject it in a negative way. We narrow down our animal liberation activities to only buying animals to release them. That in itself is not something wrong, but do we have to stop people from participating in petitions for animals? We even have cases of politics within many Buddhist organizations, and “shouting matches”…. and we think everything we are, are nice and good, but we don’t see the worms that are infesting inside. Sometimes we turn into subtle “monsters” and we are not even aware of it.

All the teachings we hear through the year, all the devotion we show to our guru… becomes merely a “show” – an ornament for admiration and self-ego. When we attend to big dinners, we don’t care about compassion, and say things like, “oh, this fish is so delicious”…or, “I want more of this lamp chop”, “this chicken is not cook enough, they should have fried it even longer”… even if we don’t pray for the fish/chicken, whatever meat before we eat it, we don’t have to create more negative karma from our speech. I know because I have been careless too sometimes. Also, throughout our working career, we most likely have offended many people and animals …and spirits, ghosts, nagas... and we don’t even know. If these people cannot retaliate, they will likely curse us for our quick death. Dogs generally don’t go around biting people, unless they are mad dogs! Same for humans, spirits, ghosts, nagas! There is no effect without a cause. If there is a cause, there will be an effect.

The problem is we create negative karma in many ways we are not aware, and when bad things happen to us, we say it is not fair. We say it was created in our previous life, and to suffer it in this life is not fair because you don’t remember the bad things we have committed. However, if we really think seriously of all our bad habits we have now, we probably had them even in our previous lives. So, even if we are born with the physical defect, we cannot say, “oh, the baby did not do anything wrong”. Don’t look at others – think of ourselves. If we have cancer at an early age, think whether we have had negative thoughts or not on others? Have we got angry with anyone? Have we been jealous? Most likely the answer is “yes”. And that is an indication, of our bad habits since beginning-less lives. So, we don’t have to look at previous lives to know why we are suffering whatever we are suffering from now. Our imperfections are very clear in this life, …unless we choose not to see them. And a lot of us do choose not to see our own imperfections.

Hence, even after "practicing" the dharma for more than 10, 20 , or 30 years. we don't progress at all on the spiritual path. We only delude ourselves that we have progress, but if we check the amount of ignorance, hatred/anger and attachments, it would be considered good if you manage to maintain the level, and not increase it. But majority of us, let's not kid ourselves - most likely they have all increased! Unfortunately, the three roots of evil are not something that can be measured in a tangible way, otherwise they will be our spiritual KPI (Key performance indicators).

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