The laziness in our mind is no doubt one of our biggest obstacles. It is also extremely dangerous. Right now our Dharma karma is ripening, but if we don’t learn how to enjoy creating new good causes for ourselves, then we will eventually burn it all up and lose everything. Usually what happens is we enter into a slow-motion drift. We start doing less and less because we do not enjoy it anymore. If we notice this pattern in our mind, we need to be careful. It will not be long before we lose everything. We will start to do the Dharma because we think ‘we should’ as opposed to ‘we want to’, and then this will lead to resentment towards the Dharma, our teaches, the center, our practices, etc., and eventually we will have the worst of both worlds – no enjoyment in samsara because we know none can be found there and no enjoyment of Dharma because we don’t pour ourself into it – we simply don’t want to do it.
(7.4) Why do we not realize that while we are caught
In the snare of delusions such as laziness,
We are trapped in the net of samsara
And held within the jaws of the Lord of Death?
(7.5) If I check carefully, I can see that the Lord of Death
Is systematically slaughtering everyone;
Yet still I am not concerned about my death,
Just like an animal unconcerned about being butchered.
(7.6) The Lord of Death is looking for his next victim
So that he can prevent him from travelling the path to liberation,
And that victim might well be me;
So how can I just indulge in worldly pleasures?
We do not realize our predicament. We are, frankly, not that different from animals. Cats and dogs are attracted to the life of ease, aren’t they? Look at cats and dogs, they sleep so much of the time. Occasionally they get up to drink or to eat, or to go for a walk. Once they have done so, they stretch themselves once again and go back to sleep. Such is a cat’s life – sub-consciously, there is part of us that thinks this is our ideal life. Dogs are just the same. There is an attraction to it – an easy life. It is what we want. We want a comfortable life. At no time does a cat or dog turn its mind to virtue. If they had their choice, they would just relax throughout their life, oblivious to the fact that death is coming. When they die, they then take another samsaric rebirth, probably a worse one. How are we any different? Of course, there is part of us that is different, but there is still part of our mind that wishes to live like our pets. We are attached to a life of ease, unconcerned about our future.
(7.7) The time of death will come quickly,
So accumulate wisdom and merit while you can.
Do not wait until the time of death to abandon laziness,
For then it will be too late!
If we suffer from this laziness and make no effort to abandon it, then we will waste one opportunity after another. How many opportunities do we have in one day to create virtue, to create the cause for liberation and enlightenment? We can fill the whole of our day and make every moment of our day meaningful. But due to laziness, we don’t. There are so many things we can do in one day, turn to the field of merit, apply our understanding of lamrim in the circumstances we find ourselves in, recite mantras, send out emanations, accept things joyfully as purification. All of these things we can do comfortably, joyfully. But we do not, due primarily to our laziness. We know the methods, we just choose not to do them.
We can spend an hour, two hours, the whole morning, doing many different things, but none of them particularly meaningful. None of them leading to our attainment of liberation and enlightenment. We can even be ‘doing’ Dharma things all day – working for the center, listening to teachings, etc. – but we are not actually practicing because we are not trying to change our mind and overcome our delusions and cultivate virtuous thoughts. We just go through the motions out of some past momentum, but there is no new joyful effort in our mind.