Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Not being fooled by temporary pleasures

There is a particularly pure spiritual practitioner I know named Taro who, in the past at least, was in a psychiatric hospital for more than a decade.  He would sometimes have really awful days where the delusions were really strong and just torturing him and it was all he could do to not get swept away by them.

He once told me the following story:  “This morning was a total thrashing for me, really, really difficult – as hard as it has been.  I thought, ‘I can’t take it any more.’  Then it suddenly stopped, I relaxed a bit and then I heard a voice say, ‘But I love you’ and he felt this huge wave of love from Dorje Shugden.  He understood that Dorje Shugden was having him go through all of this out of love so that he can once and for all break free from all suffering.  It was all a real act of love.  I then thought, ‘I am in the martial arts temple of Dorje Shugden where he is forging me into a spiritual warrior, so what do I possibly have to fear?  This is all part of my training.”

For me, this is an absolutely fantastic example for us.  It helps us understand what is going on when we have difficulties and it shows us how we should take them.  Instead of clamoring after pleasant experiences, we learn instead to embrace the horrible.  If we can do that, then we can be happy all of the time.

(2.60) What remains with me now from the pleasant experiences
Of my previous lives that have now ceased?
And yet, because of my strong attachment to worldly pleasures,
I have gone against the advice of my Spiritual Guide.

In our countless previous lives, we have enjoyed numerous times every enjoyment samsara has to offer.  But what do we have to show for it?  We can’t even nostalgically remember them.  In this life, we are constantly chasing after the next high, only for it to be shorter and less intense than the last one.  Eventually, we reach the point where nothing does it for us anymore.

Instead of changing strategy, we simply change the external objects we chase.  But each time we do, the result is always the same.  There is no reason to assume it will ever be any different.  Despite this, we keep thinking, “next time will be different” and we chase the rainbow once again.

Our Spiritual Guide has been pretty clear:  chasing after our attachments just makes us more miserable.  We all know the reasons why, and have received many teachings on the subject.  Yet we still continue running after our objects of attachment, engage in all sorts of non-virtue for their sake, and generally waste our precious human life.  After death, it will be too late.  We have our chance now to change course.  If we don’t, we will regret it.

(2.61) If, when I depart from this life
And from my friends and relatives,
I must wander all alone,
Why commit non-virtue for the sake of friends and enemies?

Sometimes when we feel inspired after a teaching we go in the right direction, but then we stop.  Why do we allow ourselves to remain attached to the pleasures of samsara? That attachment is the source, directly or indirectly, of all our suffering.  We need to ask ourselves why we don’t follow the advice of the Spiritual Guide.

Through his immense kindness he is strongly wishing us to swallow the medicine of Dharma?  Do we trust his intention?  We know if we’re following that advice perfectly or not.  We all have areas of our life where there is some instruction we have been given and we are not following it.  We need to ask why and come to a definite decision.  We sometimes pretend in front of others that we are putting the instructions into practice so that they think good about us.  But who are we kidding? Ourselves, our Spiritual guide, everybody, or in fact nobody.  We need to ask ourselves why we do this?

 

4 thoughts on “Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Not being fooled by temporary pleasures

  1. I struggle with this, Royal ‘We’ it’s very irritating.
    I feel as a reader or listener that I’m not given the room to reflect honestly about whether I do engage in the action being spoken/written about under this rather presumptuous umbrella of ‘We’ or not.
    I really don’t think I do go around ‘pretending’ to put the teachings into practice, I Just do my best with my capacity in any given moment. I don’t have time to pretend to myself or others that I’m making progress and would never think I could use ‘we’ about all humans.

    • I apologize for the limitations of my ability to express my ideas. If I use “you” people feel attacked. If I use “I” people think it has nothing to do with them. If I use “we” it can be perceived as presumptuous. Usually, people (Geshe-la included) default to we as the compromise pronoun. If it doesn’t apply to you, then perhaps you can develop compassion for those who do fall under the “we” for whom it does apply.

    • I apologize for the limitations of my ability to express my ideas. If I use “you” people feel attacked. If I use “I” people think it has nothing to do with them. If I use “we” it can be perceived as presumptuous. Usually, people (Geshe-la included) default to we as the compromise pronoun. If it doesn’t apply to you, then perhaps you can develop compassion for those who do fall under the “we” for whom it does apply.

  2. I think Extroverted Introvert is making a good point that could help you (and me) express excellent ideas better. A suggestion: We can always throw in some “perhaps” and “maybes” so that it doesn’t sound presumptious. And we can say “I” sometimes, people will still be able to apply it to themselves I think.

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