(4.26) Having found, by some very slight chance,
This beneficial state, so rare to find,
If, while I am endowed with such good fortune,
I am once again led to the hells,
(4.27) It is as if I am confused by a spell
And my mind has been reduced to nothing!
Even I do not know what causes this confusion –
What is it that dwells within me?
What dwells within me? A spiritually lazy bum. I understand, yet I remain indolent. If we die this way, our mind will be full of regret. At the time of our death, we will see our whole life flash before us and all the times we could have practiced but didn’t. We will realize that we did not use the chance we had to practice and now it is too late and we will fall. We will realize that our doubts have deceived us. Our doubts told us to not fully engage in the practice in case they are not true, but at the time of death we will realize they are true and it will be too late. We will realize where we are headed and we will panic. This will activate negative seeds on our mind, and we will fall. We need to realize that this is our future. This will happen if we don’t practice right now. It is better to be freaked out about this now while there is something we can do about it than at the time of death when it is too late.
What dwells within me? An inner coward that causes me to look the other way when hard questions are asked. What’s going on in my mind? Why can’t I see what lies ahead? Am I afraid to look? Am I stupid? What is it? Is it merely that we distract ourselves with samsaric life and its endless possibilities of enjoyment because we cannot face the truth?
What dwells within me? The “devil” of delusion. It has almost total power over us. One of the most interesting experiences one can have is to listen to the sermon of a good Baptist preacher when they talk about the temptations of the devil. Every time you hear devil, think delusion, and you’re there. The devil’s principal means of ensnaring us is through his deceptions. Geshe-la says, “all delusions are deceptive.” They trick us into following their mistaken advice, and lead us onto the road of hell. It is only by choosing to not listen to our delusions, but instead to rely upon the wisdom of the holy beings that we can find our way. Before we found the Dharma, we were complete slaves to our delusion’s every word. Even with the Dharma, again and again we are deceived into giving into our attachment, lashing out at our loved ones with anger, becoming jealous of those who enjoy a few crumbs of happiness. The Baptist preacher is completely correct that the devil of delusion’s only purpose is to cast us into hell where we can never escape. He is correct that only faith and the word of holy beings can guide us to light. He is correct that we at war with this devil, and only one of us can emerge victorious. He is simply wrong about who the enemy is. The enemy is not gays, government, Facebook, the liberal educational establishment, there is only one enemy: delusions themselves. Geshe-la says there are no external enemies, but Shantideva is clear there are internal ones. So take the passion of a Baptist preacher and direct it against the inner enemy of delusions and you have found Shantideva.
What dwells within me? An inner demon that we must exorcise from our mind. It is not an actual being tormenting us, but delusions are so clever at adapting and manipulating us into following their wrong advice that it is as if our delusions were actual demons dwelling within. What has the power to cast out delusion? The sword of wisdom. Wisdom cuts through the lies of delusions and lays them bear so that they have no power over us and we are no longer fooled. Only wisdom can do this. On our own, we are weak and unskilled at wielding the sword of wisdom. But the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri in the aspect of Dorje Shugden is a master swordsman, who, activated with our faith, can cut down all of our inner foes. He is not just our Protector, he is also our Spiritual Champion we can send into battle against our delusions. To enlist his support, all we need is faith and a good motivation and he will do the rest.
What dwells within me? An inner cancer of delusion that if left unchecked will gradually devour us. Cancer left untreated grows, mutates, and metastasizes. But cancer can only kill us in this life, the inner cancer of delusions will follow us in life after life, eating away at our good heart. If even one cell of cancer goes untreated, it will reassert itself until eventually it has taken over our body. It takes just one seed of delusion to gradually take over the rest of our mind. Only the truth of Dharma can destroy this cancer.
The question is not, therefore, what dwells within me. The question is what am I going to do to get it out?