Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: Seeing our pride and heartlessness

(8.141) “He is honoured, but I am not.
I do not have the wealth he has.
He is praised, but I am despised.
He is happy, but I suffer.

(8.142) “I have much heavy work to do,
While he remains comfortably at rest.
His reputation has spread throughout the world,
But all I am known for is my lack of good qualities.

(8.143) “But what do you mean, “I have no good qualities?”
I have many such qualities.
In comparison with many, he is inferior,
While there are many to whom I am superior.

(8.144) “My morals, views, and so on degenerate
Through the force of my delusions, not because I want them to.
You, Bodhisattva, should help us regenerate them in any way that you can,
And willingly forbear any hardships you might encounter in doing so.

(8.145) “But he does nothing to help us,
So why does he make us feel so insignificant?
What use are his so-called good qualities to us?
He never uses them for our benefit!

(8.146) “Not only does he have no compassion
For beings such as us dwelling within the jaws of the lower realms;
Externally he displays pride in his own good qualities
And prefers to contend with the wise.

We come to understand a lot more about the person or people we feel superior to through this meditation.  But as well, we come to understand a lot more about ourselves, don’t we?   We discover things that generally we do not look at, we don’t bother to look at.  This meditation uncovers faults that we need to remove.  In this meditation they become so clear to us.  This meditation makes us want to help someone who we normally consider to be inferior.  In particular, we want to help them improve their good qualities, through praising them encouraging them and so on.  I think we develop a wish to help them without, without pride.  We help others humbly.

We can see clearly the pride that we have by putting ourself in the place of others and looking back to our former self.  We can observe the pride that we have, and it is embarrassing, isn’t it?  Embarrassing.  Awful.  We have it, and this meditation makes it so obvious to us.  We have a lot of pride.  Who really do we think we are?  We have an air of superiority.  “if you really are a Mahayanist, behave like one.  You think you’re a Mahayanist, you think you’re a spiritual practitioner, behave like one.”  Pride is one of our biggest obstacles, preventing any real spiritual growth, preventing us from helping others effectively.  The trouble is we are too proud to look at the pride that we have, aren’t we?  We all have pride, but we do not want to look at it. It is like we are too proud to look at it and to admit to it.  In this meditation we have to admit to it. “I have pride. It’s true.”

This meditation helps us to reduce and eliminate our pride, and it encourages us to work humbly to improve others’ good fortune, to improve others’ good qualities and so forth.  We can acknowledge our strengths.  Perhaps in this meditation we recognize that we do have some strengths, we do have some good qualities.  We can acknowledge those and develop a strong wish to use our strengths for the benefit of others.  We wish to use whatever good qualities we have in the service of others.

When we have pride, we feel easily slighted.  When others do not share our view of ourself, we feel like they are putting us down.  Actually, it is we have artificially inflated view of ourselves. 

Generally speaking, the world is a reflection of our own mind, so if we find ourselves surrounded by prideful and jealous people, what does that say about the quality of our own mind?  Where are all these prideful and jealous people coming from?  When we have pride, we make ourselves completely unteachable.  In fact, we see no reason to be helped because we are already faultless.  This stops all progress.  Geshe-la said we can help anybody except those with pride.  When somebody is humble and admits that it is their own mind which is impure, then everything can change.  Without this, nothing can change.  A bodhisattva understands that there are no faulty beings because in fact there is nobody there.  Venerable Tharchin said we need to take personal responsibility to remove the faults we perceive in others because they are coming from none other than our own mind.

Another way we can look at this meditation is what does the jealousy of the other person want?  If our ‘self’ is at others, if it is selfish, what does it want?  It wants all good things to be transferred to it.  If we assume the delusion of the other person, we want all good things to transfer to others.  The delusions of others are virtues within our own mind.  This is because we have everything backwards.

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