Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: Enjoying ourselves without guilt

(6.91) Transient pleasures, such as drinking and playing meaningless games,
Are deceptive.
If I understand the real meaning of a human life,
Such things will have no value for me.

We need to personally look at our worldly concerns for happiness, wealth, reputation, praise and so forth and think about how we can reduce, finally destroy such concerns.  Our attachment to worldly pleasure prevents us from striving for the happiness of future lives, happiness of liberation, happiness of enlightenment. We’re more concerned for temporary, immediate happiness. And so we waste our human life. We waste our precious human life. We are no different from animals.  It matters to us, doesn’t it, that we are able to experience pleasure daily. It’s important to us.  A pure Dharma practitioner is only concerned about what causes they are creating.  What effects they are experiencing is just the context in which they can create causes. 

We distract ourselves with worldly enjoyments. Sometimes Dharma practitioners feel they can’t enjoy themselves as much as they used to or we feel guilty when we do worldly things. We must be skillful – we cannot drop immediately all worldly concerns so that tomorrow we find ourselves with none.  That is unrealistic. We must be skillful with how we approach worldly concerns.  The correct model should be a child outgrowing their toys.  Because we have found better things within our mind, we gradually lose interest in our old things.  They don’t work for us because we have seen through their illusion.  The trick to abandoning any attachment is to realize how it is in fact harmful to us.  How it pretends to be beneficial, but with Dharma wisdom we understand it is harmful.  Then we will naturally not be as interested in it anymore until eventually we abandon it. 

But at the same time, if we’re ever going to stop we have to make effort and try find our happiness from a different source, our enjoyment from a different source – from our pure mind.  If we can do this, then we can enjoy everything.  The more we build up the alternative, the more it becomes effortless to become a spiritual being and to abandon our attachments.  But to get to this point, we need to make an effort.  If we don’t, we will never get there and we will always be struggling with ourselves.  The main point of renunciation is we realize that there is nothing for us in the non-existent dream, and we don’t look for it because we know it is not there.  Rather we look in a different source, the development of pure minds.  This doesn’t mean we don’t still go out to dinner or movies, or play games with our friends or on the computer, it means we try do so emphasizing our pure reasons for doing so and minimizing our worldly reasons for doing so.  Eventually, some activities will fall by the wayside, others will continue.  No problem, very natural.  Again, as Geshe Checkhawa ways, “remain natural while changing your aspiration.

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