Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Becoming a spiritual MacGyver

(5.99) Whatever I do in any situation,
Whether for myself or for the benefit of others,
I should strive to practise
Whatever training has been taught for that occasion.

Any handyman will tell you the same thing:  “right tool for the right job.”  There are a wide variety of things that need to be fixed in the world, and so a wide variety of tools have been developed to fix them.  Perhaps a more modern analogy is “there’s an app for that.”  In the same way, when we encounter inner problems that need fixing, we need to use the right tool for the right job.

Every delusion has its opponent, which is essentially the opposite mind.  For example, the opposite of anger is patience, the opposite of jealousy is rejoicing and so forth.  Just as virtuous actions can neutralize negative karma, so too different virtuous minds can serve as opponents to different delusions.  A doctor has at their disposal countless different medications which can help treat the countless different diseases of the body.  In the same way, as Buddhists we have countless different internal medicines (Dharma practices) we can use to treat the different diseases of our mind.  Our job is to become skilled at using these different inner tools, apps or medicines to heal our own or other’s minds.

Some people, though, find this rather daunting.  There are so many different delusions and it is hard enough to even know what their opponents are, much less have sufficient experience of them to actually have the power to oppose any delusions with them.  From a practical point of view, these people are right.  Ultimately, our ability to oppose our delusions depends upon (1) our wish to be free from our delusions, and (2) our experience and skill of employing the opponents.  Our delusions have aeons of practice, it seems quite likely – in the beginning at least – that our delusions will be more skilled than our virtues.

I know this will date me, but there was a show in the 1980s called MacGyver, and with a Swiss Army knife and a little bit of duct tape, he was able to improvise solutions to all sorts of different life threatening situations.  In the same way, I generally find it helpful to pick a couple of key practices that really work to move my mind, and then I use them against any and all delusions that arise.

It is said the Lamrim directly or indirectly opposes all delusions.  So while the Lamrim itself has only 21 (or 14 depending on the presentation) different meditations, it nonetheless functions to oppose all delusions in their myriad different permutations.  It is also said that the mind of bodhichitta is the “quintessential butter” that comes from churning the milk of the Lamrim, so in effect the mind of bodhichitta has the power to oppose all delusions single-handedly.  All delusions have ignorance as their root, so the wisdom realizing emptiness is also a universal panacea.

But for me, I resolve almost all of my delusions with my faith in Dorje Shugden.  Dorje Shugden’s job is to arrange all of the outer and inner conditions necessary for our swiftest possible enlightenment.  When attachment for something arises in my mind, I request Dorje Shugden, “if I am supposed to get this, please arrange it; if I am not supposed to get this, please sabotage it.”  Then, whatever happens, I know Dorje Shugden will arrange what is “best.”  So I no longer need to worry if I get it or not, I know the best will happen.  If aversion arises in my mind, I request Dorje Shugden, “with respect to X, please arrange whatever is best.”  If the external problem goes away, then I know it was an obstacle.  If the external problem remains (or even intensifies), then I know this challenge is exactly what I need to take the next step on my spiritual journey.  So I can accept it patiently.  If ignorance arises in my mind about something, I request the Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden, “please bless my mind with the wisdom that understands this situation correctly and knows how to respond.”  If my request is made with faith and a good heart, it is certain blessings will eventually come (perhaps after a little purification and a sufficient amount of time for the situation to ripen enough that the lesson is ready to be learned).  I would say I resolve about 95% of my delusions with my reliance on Dorje Shugden.  But each practitioner is different, so they need to find what works for them.

Once we gain deep experience of a couple of all-purpose Dharma tools, we can then begin to deepen our experience of the more specialized tools.  Eventually, we will become a skilled spiritual doctor with the power to heal our own and others mental continuum with the medicine of Dharma.

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