It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the key to daily happiness is having the right purpose. If our purpose is to strive to satisfy our desires for wealth, power, pleasure or a good reputation, then some situations we face will seem good and others will seem bad. If instead our purpose is to train our mind then every situation is equally good, just in different ways. Since every circumstance we encounter is equally empty and since every circumstance provides an opportunity to oppose delusions and train ourselves in virtuous responses, from the point of view of wishing to train our mind, every situation is equally good. With such an outlook, we can be happy with anything, anybody, anywhere and anytime.
It may not be immediately obvious to us how every situation is equally useful from the perspective of training our mind, but we at least can know for sure it is. This is especially true if we have surrendered our karma to Dorje Shugden. If we have done this, not only is every situation equally good for training our mind, every situation is equally perfect.
So how can we realize how every situation is equally good for training our mind? There are five things I do (any one of which can work). First, I ask myself, “what delusions does this situation give me an opportunity to oppose?” Second, I ask myself, “what virtues does this situation give me an opportunity to practice.” Third, I ask myself, “what does this situation teach me about the truth of the Dharma.” Fourth, I ask myself, “what skills does this situation give me an opportunity to build within myself?” And the fifth thing I do is I request wisdom blessings from Dorje Shugden asking, “please reveal to me how this situation is perfect for training my mind.” With our reliance on Dorje Shugden, we want to get to the point where we feel within ourselves we have completely surrendered control to him and we say “please do with me what you wish” confident in the knowledge that we are in his care and protection.
Of course, none of this will work if in our root desires we do not value training our mind more than we value our pursuit of wealth, power, pleasure and a good reputation. This only works if our deepest desire is to train our mind. So how do we develop this desire? For me, there are several thoughts which work to help me stay centered in this desire or purpose. First, I consider how the only thing I can take with me from life to life is the karma I create and the habits of mind I cultivate. Everything else I have to leave behind. Second, I consider how happiness depends entirely upon whether my mind is peaceful, not whether I have satisfied my worldly desires. The less my mind is deluded and the more my mind is virtuous, the more my mind is peaceful and thus the happier I will be. Third, I remind myself I am working for a purpose larger than myself. My Spiritual Guide is seeking to forge me into the Buddha I need to become to be able to benefit the beings with whom I have the karma to lead to enlightenment. The situations he is giving me now are designed to cultivate within me the realizations I need to be able to help these beings. Knowing that the happiness of countless others in the future depends upon me gaining these realizations now, for their sake I need to learn what needs to be learned and gain experience with what needs to be experienced.
Sometimes it will take a long time before we have reached the point where we are equally happy with every situation, but it seems clear to me if we work in this direction we will get there. And once we are equally happy with the situation we are currently in, it will be time to move on to the next situation and the next spiritual assignment.
Your turn: Explain how some “obstacle” in your life is actually “equally good, just in a different way.”