Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Strategy for how to overcome delusions, part 1

(4.45) An ordinary enemy who is expelled from a country
Will go to another and remain there,
Only to return when he has regained his strength;
But the enemy of the delusions is not like that.

(4.46) O delusions, delusions, where will you go
When banished by the eye of wisdom and expelled from my mind?
And from where will you return to harm me again?
But, being weak-minded, I am reduced to making no effort!

(4.47) The delusions are not in the objects, in the sense powers, between them, or elsewhere;
So from where can they cause harm to all living beings?
Because they are just like illusions, I should banish fear from my heart and strive to attain wisdom.
Why bring the sufferings of hell and so forth upon myself for no reason?

We need to have a comprehensive strategy for overcoming our delusions.  It is not enough to just know delusions are our mortal enemy.  Our wish to overcome them will never be strong enough if we do not think it is possible to do.  When we know such a method exists and we understand how to employ it our wish to overcome our delusions will be conjoined with a confidence knowing how to do it.

How the strategy works will be explained over the next two posts.  It all starts with having a problem of some kind.  We can take as an example an urge to smoke, but we can apply the same strategy to any other object of attachment, or indeed any delusion.

Step 1:  Analyze the nature and the cause of the problem.  We normally think our problem is something external, such as not having our object of attachment.  But the nature of the problem is not something external, rather our problem is the unpleasant feelings arising within our mind.  We identify clearly that the cause of our problem is not something external, rather it is the delusion of attachment within our own mind.  Just as identifying the object of negation is the most important step in meditating on emptiness, so too identifying the exact nature of our problem is the most important step in overcoming our delusions.  If we do not see clearly the difference between the outer problem and the inner problem of our mind, we will continue to grasp at the outer problem as being our problem.  When we think this, we will conclude it is the external circumstance that needs to change.  If instead, we realize clearly that our problem is our own deluded reaction to the external situation, then we will conclude it is our mind that needs to change.  This does not mean we don’t also try change the external situation, but we do so understanding external methods solve external problems; internal methods solve internal problems.

Step 2:  Ask ourself the question:  what kind of being am I?  If we are a worldly being, interested only in external happiness, then this strategy won’t work for us.  If we instead are a spiritual being, interested in gaining spiritual realizations, then everything works.  We can change what kind of being we are through the practice of Lamrim, whose main function is to change our desire.  The meditations on the initial scope change our desires from being worldly ones to spiritual ones concerned with the welfare of future lives, in particular avoiding lower rebirth.  The meditations on the intermediate scope change our desires to not being satisfied with avoiding a lower rebirth, but wishing to escape from any form of samsaric rebirth.  The meditations on the great scope change our desires to not be satisfied with merely saving ourselves, but we must also save all our kind mothers.  In general, the quickest way to change our desire is to recall death by asking ourself the question:  “Do I want to arrive at my death and realize that I could now be getting out of samsara but am not because I wasn’t motivated enough to overcome this attachment before?”

Step 3:  Make requests to Dorje Shugden.  Gen Togden explained this practice to me.  He said every time a delusion arises in our mind, we should request Dorje Shugden, “with respect to this delusion arising in my mind, please arrange whatever is best.”  After we make this request, there are two possibilities.  The first is Dorje Shugden blesses our mind with the wisdom to see through the lies of the delusion and it ceases to have a hold over us.  In this case, it is the end of the story.  If, however, the delusion persists in our mind, then it means that Dorje Shugden wants us to train in overcoming this delusion.  A wise and skilled teacher does not just make everything easy, rather they push their students to make progress.  Dorje Shugden knows our mind and knows exactly what we need to work on.  If the delusion remains, it is because we need to work on this particular aspect of our mind.  Either way, we accept with infinite faith that this is perfect for our practice, so you are happy.  We are happy because we are a spiritual being, and what we want is to practice.

 

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