Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: The mind of patience is a pure land

With the mind of patience, it is as if we are in a pure land right now, while remaining in samsara.  I would say the mind if patience is a pure land.  In a pure land, there is no manifest suffering and everything functions to lead us to enlightenment.  With the mind of patience, there is no manifest suffering because we wholeheartedly welcome everything as useful.  Things may still be painful and difficult, but we do not experience these feelings as “suffering.”  These experiences are helping us attain enlightenment.  With the mind of patience, we create the pure land right here right now.

(7.2) Effort is a mind that delights in virtue.
Its opponents are the laziness of indolence,
The laziness of being attracted to non-virtuous actions,
And the laziness of discouragement.

We need to learn to distinguish clearly these three types of laziness.  We need to distinguish them clearly in our own mind. We need to know our own laziness of indolence, our own laziness of being attracted to non-virtuous actions, and our own laziness of discouragement.  We also need to identify how these forms of laziness prevent us from enjoying virtuous activity. 

(7.3) The laziness of indolence develops
When, through being attracted to worldly pleasures,
And particularly to the pleasures of sleep,
We fail to become disillusioned with the sufferings of samsara.

If we check we are all attracted to a greater or lesser extent to a life of ease.  If it requires any hardship and effort, then we’d rather not do it.  In fact, we’d rather not even think about it.  For example, setting our alarm – do we enjoy setting our alarm so we can rise early in the morning?  When we do wake up, whether it be naturally or unnaturally, are we eager to get out of bed and start our day?  It seems this is a metaphor for our samsaric life.  Just as we’d rather stay in bed, so too it seems we’d rather not bother doing what it takes to get out of samsara.

We have to be careful that we don’t simply enjoy our present conditions and use up our merit.  There was a teacher once who was simply enjoying his conditions, Ven Geshe-la said he used up his merit and lost everything.  It seems as if the goal of worldly life is to burn up as much merit as we can – to get as much worldly enjoyment out of this life as we can.  In personal finance, there is a rule ‘never consume your capital’.  If you do, then you have nothing at the end.  Instead, you invest it and then can consume the interest that is kicked off.  As Bodhisattva’s, we never consume, we always invest.  When our merit ripens, we reinvest it in the accomplishment of our spiritual goals.  In this way, we always increase our merit.

We live our life constantly with the thought, ‘I really must do …, but …’  This thought is all pervasive in our mind.  We say we really must do or Heart Jewel and Lamrim, we really must do our Dakini Yoga, we really must study for FP, we really must do some task for the center, we really must deal with the things that have been dragging on in our life.  But we always give in to the ‘but.’  We do other things, and never do what we have to do.  These things drag on, pile up, and overwhelm us.  The problem with this strategy is we have limited time.  In our ordinary activities, there are generally deadlines by which we have to get things done.  But for our spiritual practice, there is a real ‘dead’line that we can’t be late for – our death.  If we allow this habit of ‘I really must, but’ to remain in our mind, it is guaranteed that we will waste our precious human life and when we arrive at our death, we will be filled with regret. 

Why do we do this?  There is a very simple reason – we don’t want to do what is spiritually required of us.  There is resistance in our mind.  There is no real enjoyment at the prospect of engaging in our spiritual practice, there is no enthusiasm.  When we do engage in that virtuous action, we are often not delighting in it.  There is often no joyful effort in our mind.  Sometimes we feel we simply cannot be bothered, don’t we?  We can’t be bothered to pick up a book and study or do our practice.  Because we are too attached to doing nothing or to indulging in our worldly enjoyments.  At other times, we can even feel more strongly that we actually don’t want to engage in virtue.  We think and arrive at a conclusion, “In fact, I’m not going to. I’m not going to.” Such is the strength of our resistance, the strength of our laziness, actually.  We need to know the various types of resistance or reluctance that comes up in our mind and how to overcome it.  If we do not do this, it is guaranteed we will never make progress on the spiritual path, and we will never get out of our samsara. 

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