Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Stop being pulled in and pushed away

(5.45) Whenever I listen to any sort of talk,
Whether pleasant or unpleasant,
Or observe attractive or unattractive people,
I should prevent attachment or hatred towards them.

We need to learn to be more restrained.  When we generate attachment towards some things, we feel as if our mind is being “pulled in” by the object, and normally we go willingly thinking happiness is to be found there.  When we generate aversion towards other things, we feel the need to “push” the object away, and if we can’t push it away, we flee willingly thinking suffering is to be found there.  Just walking through a room full of people leaves us feeling pulled in or the need to push other things away in a wide variety of directions.  It’s exhausting.  We must try to weaken this habit so that we can achieve a much more balanced or stable mind.

Geshe Chekhawa says we need “Train without bias towards the objects.” This is important advice for us because we spend a lot of time with others.  First, we must become aware how our mind is being pulled in or pushed away.  If we don’t see it, we can’t do anything about it.  Second, we need to realize that this constant pulling and pushing causes our mind to be unbalanced, anxious and never at peace.  True freedom is the ability to go anywhere with anybody doing anything and our mind remains equally at peace.  We need nothing, we fear nothing.  That’s true freedom.  We need to take the time to fantasize how wonderful it would be if we had such freedom.  Just imagine how free we would feel to go through life not needing nor fearing anything.

With a desire to enjoy such freedom, we then need to change our habitual reactions to objects.  When we detect our mind being “pulled in” by our attachment to some objects, we should realize we are like a puppet on the strings of our attachment and then generate the wish to be truly free.  We remind ourselves that no happiness can be found in these objects, just further insatiable desire.  Our life experience has taught us that even if we obtain what we want, it never quite gives us the satisfaction we seek.  We are always left wanting more or we feel disappointed because it didn’t turn out the way we wanted.  Instead, we should recall that happiness comes from within our mind, and no external object has any power to do anything for us.  In this way we cut the strings that pull us and internally we remain balanced.

When we feel our mind wishing to push something away out of aversion, we should realize nothing has the power to disturb our mind if we don’t let it.  Things are only a “problem” for our worldly concerns, but adversity is our most powerful fuel on the path.  The mind of patient acceptance is a wisdom mind that knows how to use anything and everything for our spiritual training, so it feels no need to “push” anything away, rather it can welcome everything as an opportunity to train.  This does not mean we unnecessarily allow ourselves to be harmed nor does it mean we cooperate with others’ delusions and dysfunction, but it does mean when these thing happen it is not a “problem” for us, but rather an opportunity to train.

We need to be able to listen to what others say without bias.  Certainly, we should try to not react out of attachment if they praise us or hatred if they criticize us.  At present our mind is primarily driven by attachment and hatred.  We mustn’t look at others, especially those closest to us, with attachment or hatred.  We know if somebody appears attractive or unattractive our mind moves and we become unbalanced, like a “weeble wobble” (google it).  We need an evenness of mind, an equanimity.  We are equally welcoming and open with everybody.

It is important to be seen to possess that evenness, equanimity.  Because people know when we have it.  Especially within the Sangha we need to be more and more careful that we don’t become a bunch of cliques, the “in crowd” dedicated to the center and everyone else who just comes to “consume” without giving anything back.  Or between those who see everything the NKT does as faultless and those who don’t.  Or between Those who worship the teachers as a Buddha and those who see them as full of faults.  Or between those who mix traditions and those who don’t.  Or between those who have been around a long time and those who are new.  The list goes on and on, the “uptight Germans” vs. the “free-spirited Brazilians,” etc., etc., etc.  So many divisions we introduce into the Sangha, each with its own shade of judgmental attitude.  Shantideva says, no matter who we see, we need to simply be happy to see them, to listen.  This is a loving mind.

 

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Multi-tasking is for fools

(5.43) I should undertake what I intend and have decided to do,
Without being distracted by other things;
And, with my thoughts focused on that practice,
For now, I should do just that.

(5.44) In this way, I shall do everything well;
Otherwise, I shall accomplish neither one thing nor the other.
With this skilful practice, there can be no increase
In secondary delusions, such as non-alertness.

In the modern world, people look up to those who can “multi-task.”  The people who can do many different things simultaneously.  Modern people wrongly think this makes us more productive.  The reality is quite different.  The ability to multi-task is not a quality, rather it is a modern disease.

First, it is actually impossible for the mind to do two things at once.  A single mind can only have a single object.  At best, multi-taskers are switching their focus from one object to another and back again as they do their work.  Second, switching our focus back and forth results in “transition costs” as our mind has to re-figure out where we left off last time we were working on a particular project, whereas staying focused on a project through to completion avoids that cost.  Third, most things of worth required sustained focus over an extended period of time to bring about the substantial change we are after.  As Geshe-la says, water can never boil if we keep turning the heat on and off.  Fourth, and most importantly, if we never learn to focus like a laser on our daily activities, what hope do we have of doing so during our meditation practices.  If in life we train our mind to flit from one object to another, it is certain we will do the same while in meditation.

Meditation is, by definition, the familiarizing of our mind with virtue.  The fundamental function of concentration is we become whatever we focus on.  If we focus on sex and violence, we will become a lustful and violent person.  If we focus on wisdom and compassion, we will become a wise and compassionate person.  The more fully we absorb our mind in our object, the more complete will be this inner transformation.  If we never are able to focus our mind because it is constantly jumping from one thing to another, we will never absorb our mind into its object and no spiritual transformation can take place.

According to Tantra, all of our contaminated karma is stored on our very subtle mind.  If we succeed in making manifest our very subtle mind and then we meditate on its emptiness, we will directly and simultaneously uproot all of our contaminated karma accumulated since beginningless time.  Realizing the emptiness of our very subtle mind is the very purpose of our tantric practice, and through this realization we can remove all delusions and their imprints and thereby become a Buddha in a matter of years, or even months.  The method for making manifest our very subtle mind is to cause all of our inner winds to gather, dissolve and absorb into our indestructible drop at our heart.  Once all of our winds are gathered in this way, our very subtle mind of clear light will naturally become manifest.  The most important thing to know about inner winds is the mind is located at the object of cognition and it is carried to its object on our inner winds.  If our mind conceives the moon, our mind quite literally is at the moon, and our inner winds went there with it.  If our mind wanders to any object other than our indestructible drop at our heart, our winds will go there, and our very subtle mind will never be made manifest.  It is impossible to realize the emptiness of an object we do not first cognize conventionally.  Therefore, without learning to focus our mind, enlightenment quite literally is impossible.

With this skilful practice of doing everything with single-pointed focus, there can be no increase in secondary delusions, such as non-alertness.  When we are doing our jobs and fulfilling our responsibilities, we should try to just concentrate on one thing.  It is especially important that we do this when it comes to our formal practices.  How many of us can get through a whole sadhana without thinking of other things?  Sometimes we use our puja time to think about other things because it is the only time we have to do it.

But the reality is the more we focus on our puja, the more we will be tapping into the Spiritual Guide’s mind and he will bless us with the best ideas when we need them.  If we rely wholeheartedly upon our Spiritual Guide, he’ll bless us to take into consideration what is neccessary at any time, and then we don’t have to worry.  There is a scene in the first Star Wars where the Jedi is in a fierce light-saber battle with Darth Maul, and then a barrier separates the two.  The Jedi then kneels down, closes his eyes and waits and springs into action when ‘the force’ tells him to.  We need to be just like that.  But we still worry a lot, thinking there are things we need to think about.  But why?   The deeper one’s reliance, the less one worries because we feel ourselves guided in all our activities by the Spiritual Guide.

In everything we do we should focus on what we are doing.  And what are we doing?  We are focusing on allowing the Spiritual Guide to work through us without getting in the way.  If we do this, the Spiritual Guide will literally enter into us and we will become an extension of him.  It will be as if he is in us and he is really here.  He can accomplish all that he can accomplish through us.  We become an instrument and he does everything.

Ironically, if we can learn to do one thing, namely focus on faithful reliance in everything we do, we can effortlessly accomplish all other activities.  If we become whatever we focus our mind on, and what we focus our mind on is the Spiritual Guide as the synthesis of all the Buddhas, we will quite literally become one with (or an extension of) all the Buddhas.  Such is the power of a focused mind.

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Watch your behavior, but don’t be rigid about it

(5.41) Striving for concentration by whatever means,
I should not let my mind wander for even a moment
But closely examine it by asking,
“How is my mind behaving?”

We have two extremes of mind – the busy mind and spacey mind.  Most of the time, our mind can be very busy, active, racing even.  And perhaps it seems with that mind we are able to accomplish a lot externally.  Some of the time, we can have a mind that is relatively peaceful, some space, but we then slide into a laziness, accomplishing very little or perhaps nothing at all.  We need to find the middle way.  We need a sharpness of mind, keenly aware of what’s happening, what needs to be done. Yet at the same time there must be peace, stillness, space, clarity.  We can accomplish a great deal, yet maintain perfect calm and a peaceful mind.  To a great extent we can achieve this state of mind with a focused, disciplined, concentrated mind.

It is especially important to closely examine our mind, asking how is it behaving.   This is an essential part of training the mind.  We’re not used to taking time out for such a proper examination.  But if we do, we will find it very, very easy to practice the moral discipline of restraint.  So much of our behavior is committed through the force of unconscious habit.  Thoughts and feeling arise, then we act on them without much involvement on our part.  This is what needs to change.

Gen-la Losang says what is natural is simply what is familiar.  Our habitual reactions to events in our life arise from karmic tendencies similar to the cause of having reacted in this way in the past (both in this life and in our previous lives).  The problem is this:  our habitual way of reacting is a deluded one, and delusions always make things worse.  No matter how many times we think, “this time will be different,” it never is.  Our life will turn around only when we change our habitual deluded reactions into virtuous and wisdom reactions.  In the beginning, this will feel forced and require great effort.  But if we stick with it, eventually wisdom and virtue will become our habitual reactions and it will become much easier.

(42) It is said there are times, when practising giving, that one can be judicious
In applying some of the finer points of moral discipline.
When there is danger or a special celebration,
One can perform actions suitable for that occasion.

This advice given so that we don’t become too rigid and go to the other extreme with our behavior.  In Meaningful to Behold Geshe-la says our basic consideration should be what is more beneficial for others.  We should do whatever is most important at the particular moment, using our intelligence as much as we can.  Gen-la Losang tells the story of when he was in Spain, one of the benefactors for the center threw a party to celebrate some good development.  As was culturally customary, he brought out Champagne.  As a monk with pratimoksha vows to avoid taking intoxicants, Gen-la Losang at first refused.  The benefactor then felt embarrassed, like he had done something wrong and then told everybody to put it away.  Realizing he had created an awkward moment for everyone, Gen-la then said it was no problem, took the glass and sipped politely to the toast.  The point is we need to act naturally and appropriately in every situation and not sacrifice a great virtue (such as appreciating the kindness of the benefactor and the good intention behind the toast) on the altar of a smaller virtue of not taking a sip of alcohol.  The same sort of reasoning can be applied to a wide variety of circumstances we find ourselves in.

While it is true we should try not to be too rigid, we should also not use this as an excuse to go to the other extreme and abandon our moral discipline entirely.  For example, just because we’re invited to a special celebration with our old friends does not mean we shouldn’t still try to regard ourself as a spiritual person.  We can ask ourselves how somebody we respect would behave in this situation.

Sometimes we lie to ourselves with a Dharma justification “I am doing this to establish or improve my relationships with others” when in reality this is not our motivation.  It is not enough to have a Dharma rationalization, it has to actually be our reason informing our behavior.  We have to lift people out of the ordinary to the spiritual, but we can’t be so otherworldly that we’re unapproachable.  If we are, it’s difficult for people to feel comfortable.  We should not make a scene about how our behavior is different, especially if it will make other people uncomfortable or feel judged for their own behavior.  Likewise, if we come across like some uptight, doesn’t know how to have a good time person, we might feel self-righteous, but we will hardly encourage anybody to enter the spiritual path.  The reality is life is more enjoyable when we experience it without delusion and negativity.  When people see it is possible to have a great (even better) time without delusion and negativity, then people will naturally want what we’re smoking!

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  How to never be distracted

(5.39) I should prepare for any activity by thinking,
“My body and mind must remain correctly composed”;
And from time to time check carefully to see
What I am actually doing and thinking.

This is helpful advice for us and others.  We all have quite a lot of extra bodily movement that is and looks uncontrolled.  We are normally completely unaware of movement of our arms, hands, head, mouth, eyes.  They just do their thing as we go about our day.  All of these are a reflection of quite extreme movements of mind.  Our mind is running around.

We notice the difference when we are with someone who is gathered and has a mental and physical stillness about them.  It helps us slow down and calm down.  Gen Samten is the master of this.  When you are around him, you can just feel his stillness, both mental and physical.  But it doesn’t feel rigid and unmoving, rather it feels gathered, stable and composed with a dash of suppleness and flexibility.  When he is listening to somebody, for example, you can just tell all of him is listening.  Because he has the power to give his undivided attention, he is able to bring real benefit to others.

Internally, we always need to remain still and calm.  Externally, we need to be gathered without uncontrolled movements, but natural and approachable.  But we need to not go to the other extreme of being unnatural.  This will make people feel uncomfortable and make it difficult for them to relate to us.

Our own actions of body, speech, and mind must be deliberate, controlled, and arising from a clear intention in our mind.  Our actions must have meaning and purpose.  We must try not to lose that.  If we succeed, then we will discover over time that the difference between our meditation session and our meditation break gets smaller and smaller.  We become quite composed.  If we can develop that stillness, we can reduce that gap.  We need to check and look to see what we are doing and how we are acting.  we have to be aware of every moment of our behavior.

(5.40) With all my effort, I should regularly check
That the unsubdued elephant of my mind
Has not broken free but remains bound
To the great pillar of thinking about Dharma.

We think about an awful lot. We have this crazy, untamed mind going everywhere.  Most of our conscious thoughts are quite unnecessary, leaving us with no space at all. Our mind is cluttered, full of conceptual thoughts.  As a result, our mind is particularly unpeaceful.   When our mind is full of conceptuality, it is a breeding ground for delusion and non-virtue.  We plan a lot, and we worry every day, thinking about all sorts of different things.  We wonder – we think about this happening and that happening.  We waste a tremendous amount of mental energy worrying about “what if”.  It seems to never end.  We go through infinite possibilities and we cannot rest.

Why don’t we simply maintain refuge, rely upon our spiritual guide, simply, merely trust?  “But, but, but, …” our mind objects.  No buts.  We over-analyse.  Nothing wrong with analysis, but there is a lot wrong with over analysis.  When we want to get to know someone, we think about their behavior, habits, their history, etc.  Why can’t we just think, “my kind mother,” “deity,” “hero,” “heroine.”  By keeping it simple and letting go of all these distractions, we allow space in our mind, keeping it mind bound to that great pillar of thinking about Dharma.

When Geshe-la opened the temple at Manjushri and he gave three days of teachings on overcoming distractions, he said something quite extraordinary.  He said, “if our mind is always thinking about Dharma, we are never distracted.”  Our mind may wander from one Dharma subject to another, something we should eventually gain control over, but in the meantime as long as our mind is engaged with some truth of Dharma, we are not falling victim to distraction.  When we think deeply about this, nothing could be more important than making this our new habit.

 

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  You lookin’ at me?

(5.35) I should never look around
Out of distraction or for no purpose,
But always, with a resolute mind,
Be mindful of my gaze.

(5.36) From time to time, to relax my gaze,
I should look around without distraction;
And if someone appears in my field of vision,
I should acknowledge them and greet them.

(5.37) To avoid dangers or accidents on the path,
I should occasionally look in all directions,
And prevent my mind from becoming distracted
By relying upon conscientiousness.

(5.38) I should practise in the same way
Whenever I go or return.
Understanding the need to behave like this,
I should apply this practice in all situations.

We are the opposite of this, we look around everywhere.  Why?  Why do we look around? What is there going to be of interest or meaning for us?  We need to ask.  The main reason is because our mind is going out to objects of attachment or distraction.  We think there are interesting things out there that we need to engage our mind with.

This advice seems so superficial, but it is not.  If we behave like this it will help us to become more gathered, more restrained, more contained.  We really will be binding our mind.  If we remain mindful of our gaze, no doubt we will become a lot more centered, focused.  If we are mindful of our gaze it is less likely we will develop delusions.  Walking in such a way can be very meditative, if we want it to be.  It can help with our concentration.  The goal here is to have every moment of our day be part of our bodhisattva training.

Thich Nhat Hanh, the much revered Vietnamese monk, has written and taught extensively on the practice of being mindful while walking.  When you think about it, we spend much of our day walking about.  Most of that time, our mind is just wandering from one object of delusion to another without any benefit, and indeed much harm.  If instead, we quite simply become mindful of our gaze, preventing it from wandering around to one thing after another, we will transform much of our day into an opportunity to train our mind.

This does not mean we need to start walking around like a robot afraid to look at anything.  Outwardly, we should remain completely natural, but internally we are practicing mindfulness keeping control of our gaze.  We should of course look out for cars as we cross the street and smile and greet as normal the people we pass while walking, but internally we are always in control.  We simply remain intent on where we are going and single-pointedly head to our next destination.  What matters most is not out outward appearance and behavior, but rather what we are doing with our mind, namely preventing it from “going out” to various objects of attachment and aversion.  Generally speaking, we keep our eyes on the ground where we are walking and head to our destination without being weird or socially awkward about it.

Once we gain some control over our mind and gaze as we walk about, we can then begin extending this practice to while we are driving, while we are in our home walking around, when we are getting ready in the morning, even when we are attending meetings.  We choose what we want to fix our gaze and attention on, and then we remain mindful to not become distracted by other things.  If we train throughout the day in this form of mindfulness, there is no doubt that the strength and power of our mindfulness and concentration will greatly improve during our meditation sessions.

 

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  The Dharma of Charlie Brown

Over the next several verses, Shantideva goes on to describe the different types of moral discipline observed by a Bodhisattva:  the moral disciplines of restraint, the moral discipline of gathering virtuous Dharmas, and the moral discipline of benefitting living beings.

One question we can ask ourselves is what is the difference between restraint, practicing virtue, and benefitting others, and the moral discipline of restraint, the moral discipline of practicing virtue, the moral discipline of benefitting others?  There is a difference.  If we’re going to be practicing moral discipline perfectly, we need to know.   We can practice restraint, virtuous Dharmas, benefitting others, but it doesn’t follow that we’re practicing moral discipline.  Moral discipline is defined as a virtuous mental determination to abandon any fault, a bodily or verbal action motivated by such a determination.  In other words, what makes these practices practices of moral discipline is the virtuous wish to abandon a fault.  If our motivation for doing these three things is selfish or deluded, then even if we are practicing restraint, virtue or benefiting others, we are not practicing the moral discipline of these three.  Why does this matter?  Because if we want the karmic result of the practice of moral discipline, namely future higher spiritual rebirths, we need to engage in these three as practices of moral discipline.

Shantideva begins with the moral discipline of restraint, which in Joyful Path Geshe-la said includes any spiritual discipline which avoids or overcomes any fault.

(5.34) First, I should check to see how my mind is;
And, if I see it is polluted with negativity,
I should remain unmoving,
With a mind as impassive as wood.

Before we undertake any action, we must check our motivation.  We need to actively ask ourselves the question “why am I doing this?”  What mind is underlying my activity and behavior?  If we find any negativity there, best simply to stop.  We make our mind remain unmoving, like a block of wood.  In short, we become like Charlie Brown, who Lucy would always refer to as a “Blockhead.”

Why do we do this?  Because when our mind is under the influence of delusion, everything we do will make our situation worse.  In such a situation, it is better to not think at all then act on our delusions.  Delusions are like storm clouds passing through the sky – eventually they fade and pass.  When our mind is suddenly seized by delusions and we are likely to act on them, it is far better to make our mind like a block of wood, free from all conceptual activity, than to act on our delusions.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion about this practice.  One such confusion, sometimes known as the Hashag fallacy, so named after an ancient monk who taught his disciples the path to enlightenment was to make our mind completely blank, free from all conceptual activity.  Geshe-la refutes this view in many of his books.  Virtually all Dharma minds begin as conceptual minds, then through increasingly familiarity with them they eventually transform into direct perceptions of the Dharma truth.  If we don’t first realize the Dharma truth through a conceptual mind, we can never gain a direct perception of its truth.  So just making our mind blank actually blocks our spiritual progress.

Another common confusion about this practice is we think it means we are supposed to repress our delusions, forcibly pretending they are not there.  But we know from our own experience that when we do this, we just shove them under the surface where they grow in strength until eventually they blow in some dramatic fashion.  To avoid suppression, we need to have a good reason why we remain unmoving.  So we recall that if we follow this negative motivation we will just make our situation worse and create the cause of suffering.  Motivated by this, we then make our mind like a block of wood, free from any conceptual activity.

It is important to know how exactly we make our mind like a block of wood.  It is not a forcible holding back of our delusions, like somebody wrestling opponents to the ground so they can’t get up.  Rather, it is more like simply unplugging a computer.  If our computer is under attack from a hacker or a computer virus, sometimes the best defense to limit the damage is to simply unplug the electricity of the computer.  Without electricity, the computer simply has no activity going on whatsoever.  In the same way, when we make our mind like a block of wood, free from all conceptual activity, it is like we pull the electricity (of conceptual thought) and there is simply no activity at all taking place in our mind.  Each time a new thought flares up, we again let it go completely, literally paying it no mind.

Once the storm has passed and our mind once again as a semblance of control, we can then use other methods to root out our delusions, such as applying the various opponents found in the Lamrim.

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  I am always in the presence of the Buddhas

(5.31) “I am always in the presence
Of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
Who, with their omniscient gaze,
See everything without obstruction.”

(5.32) By thinking in this way, we can maintain
Sense of shame, respect, and fear,
And repeatedly bring to mind
The good qualities of the Buddhas.

(5.33) When mindfulness is maintained
With the purpose of guarding the mind,
Alertness will naturally arise
And even that which was lost will return.

In the previous verses, Shantideva explained how we are to develop mindfulness.  Here, he explains how we can develop alertness.  The method is simple:  we develop a specific mindfulness recalling we are always in the presence of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.  In dependence upon this, alertness will naturally arise.

We must post the guard of mindfulness at the doorway of our mind, and then not allow delusions to enter.  If anything that even looks like a delusion comes near, alertness will warn us.  If our mindfulness becomes slack we can restore it by remembering the lower realms—this is conscientiousness.  We remind ourselves of the real danger we’re in, for example the danger of lower rebirth.  We generate fear.  On the basis of this, we recall we are in the presence of our Spiritual Guide.

As soon as we recall our Spiritual Guide, we naturally know what is the right thing to do.  We automatically are able to stop doing certain things that we know we shouldn’t do. As soon as we turn to our spiritual guide in whatever aspect we like, naturally a mind of faith will arise which will help us to maintain alertness.  We can think “I don’t want to be like this; I want to be like you.”  It is especially important that we make an effort to turn to the Spiritual Guide when we find ourselves starting to go down the wrong road.  I like to request Dorje Shugden to alert me when delusions are starting to come up.  He is like a security guard that alerts me to danger.  You can also post him, like a guard, around things that give you trouble – like chocolate Bunnies.

The strength of this practice will be a function of three things:  First, faith that he is there.  Wherever you imagine a Buddha, a Buddha actually goes.  We need to train in this conviction all the time, not just when we are in trouble.  Second, the respect we have for him.  We need to realize how much of a difference his teachings have made to our life.  If we do, we will naturally develop respect for him.  Third, faith in his power to help us.  We request him to bestow his blessings to help us overcome our particular difficulties.  The more faith we have the more open we are to receiving his blessings.  The blessings of a Buddha are as powerful as our faith in them.  Infinite faith = infinite power.  Overtime, as our faith and respect grow, so too will the power of this practice.

But we often forget our Spiritual Guide.  One very special way of remembering is to think: [V: 31] “I am always in the presence Of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas Who, with their omniscient gaze, See everything without obstruction.”  I said before it’s very helpful even at the beginning of the day to bring to mind a field of merit which we regard as one with our Spiritual Guide, and to turn to it throughout the whole of the day.

Why don’t we remember or try to remember?  Two main reasons.  First, because when we don’t recall him we feel free then to misbehave—to indulge our attachment in particular.  If there’s no one around we think we can think, speak, and act as we like, and in particular we can indulge in our attachment.  We need to remember that this practice of recalling we are in the presence of the Buddha is for our own good.  We only stop doing the things that harm us.  Second, sometimes we don’t want to invite them in because we feel guilty.  Because we can’t stop ourselves and we feel like we need to be perfect in his presence.  But actually the more screwed up we are the more compassion he feels.  This is when we need to bring him in the most.

We need to avoid the trap of thinking when we misbehave that it’s OK because our Spiritual Guide accepts us completely. But what we’re doing doesn’t make them happy!  It is important that we stop ignoring our Spiritual Guide and holy beings.  We need to bring them to mind again and again and again.  We need to invite the Buddha’s into our lives and allow ourselves to come under their influence.