Spiritual decision making for daily life

The bottom line is this:  our ordinary minds are completely under the control and influence of our ignorance and self-cherishing.  Ignorance is our root view, and self-cherishing is our root value.  Therefore, if we rely upon our ordinary mind to make our daily decisions, the decision will be a product of these two deluded minds.  Ignorance functions to keep us trapped in samsara, and self-cherishing has one goal:  to put us in the deepest hell as quickly as it can.  Thus, it is quite foolish to make ANY decisions, even the most mundane, with our ordinary mind, because what good could come from that.

In contrast, our guru’s mind is omniscient, perfectly compassionate, omnipotent (within the constraints of karmic possibility) and possesses perfect skilfull means.  Wisdom is its root view and compassion is its root value.  The guru’s mind and our ordinary mind are completely opposites and take us in completely opposite directions.  One takes us out, the other takes us deeper in. 

Since every situation is equally empty, every situation is an equal opportunity to either plunge deeper into samsara or surge towards enlightenment.  There is no moment, no situation in which we do not face this choice and possibility.  We think many of our daily moments have no particular spiritual significance once way or the other.  We consider them to be mundane moments, or neutral moments.  We are not engaging in negativity, but we are not creating virtue either.  Every such moment is a total waste of our precious human life!  Through the most incredible good fortune, we have found a set of instructions that can get us our of samsara once and for all and through the greatest of miracles we are actually motivated to put these instructions into practice.  But through ignorance of the possibility pregnant within each moment, we flitter away the little time we have to purify and train our mind. 

Therefore, it is of paramount importance that we rely upon the guru’s mind in every moment of every day for every decision, even the most mundane such as brushing our teeth or when to wipe. We need to make our ordinary mind completely still and allow the guru to completely take over every moment of every day of our life.  We need to put him completely in charge of everything.

Some may say that this is a denial of free will, but it is in fact the very expression of our free will.  What makes us unfree is the fact that our mind is completely a slave to our delusions.  Delusions funciton to make our mind uncontrolled.  Delusions are what make us unfree.  Rather, it is with our free will that we examine the relative merits of relying upon our ordinary mind compared to relying upon the guru’s mind, and we make the decision to abandon the former and adopt the latter.  This is an expression of our free will, the very means of acquiring free will (because we gain freedom) and it is the wisest thing we can do with our free will. 

At the end of the day, we face a choice:  have to make a myriad of decisions on the basis of ignorance and self-cherishing or make one decision again and again on the basis of wisdom.  If we make the decision to rely in every moment, then the guru will make all other decisions for us, and each of these decisions will be the reflection of his omniscience and compassion, and they will function to swiftly take us to enlightenment.

So how do we rely on his mind at all moments?  Very simply. 

  1. Make your ordinary mind completely still
  2. Generate the wish for him to take over every moment of our life motivated by the wisdom that knows he will make the best possible decisions which have as their goal the swiftest possible enlightenment of all beings.
  3. Make the request that he please take over, decide and act through us.
  4. Be prepared to do whatever he says, regardless of how much our self-cherishing and other delusions may howl!

5 thoughts on “Spiritual decision making for daily life

  1. Yes, great advice but the reality is this: it is extremely difficult to maintain this awareness all the time. There is just a huge abundance of distractions. So this concept is always a work in progress, like many others over a great many lives.

    But it is a very interesting concept, one that so many people get excited about. It’s pretty easy to understand. The hard work however pays off over the years and years of training in this type of thinking. But for this ‘idea’ to blossom at the heart it takes a very, very determined individual to give everything over, to fully surrender. Sometimes a great suffering needs to come first. But it really does take a considerable discipline.

    These types of ideas enhance faith but in ordinary life it’s probable that distractions rob us of this determination. So emphasis should be on seeing the value of such thinking and then planning on implementing/integrate it into daily life and keep a check on it else it becomes another interesting idea that gets filed in the back of the Buddhist archives of the mind.

  2. Vows and commitments: how do my decisions affect my ability to maintain my vows. Since keeping my vows strengthens my mind and virtue, they are real friends guiding me. So we don’t have to rely on our guru’s mind all the time, although it would be great if we could. Vows are like stepping stones that help a person get there.

    • Great article, and James thank you for your response, excellent point that vows and commitments pave the way to complete reliance on the Spiritual Guide.

  3. Well,tonight while i was changing offerings,i was thinking about a new mantra for me.” Guru,increase my faith on you…i never want to lose you…in my mind..”. and now I understand I have and need to care very much my votes and commitments,in that way virtue will increase and will light my mind….a mind where my Guru could act through ….

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