By Ani Tenzin Palmo
Selection of Dharma teachings addressing problems with universal obstacle to Buddhist practitioners from all traditions.
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Extra resources for Reflections On A Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism
I dreamt that I was in this enormous prison with many, many different levels and many different apartments. Some of them were like penthouse suites: very luxurious quarters full of people enjoying themselves. There were other levels like dungeons where people were being tortured. But whether one was up high and living in luxury or down below and being tortured, it was still prison, and one never knew where one was going to be put next, because there was no real freedom. Now we’re up, now we’re down.
In a Pali sutra the Buddha said that the karmic effects of hatred are eight times heavier than those of greed, but hatred is relatively easy to get rid of. Greed is less heavy karmically in that it may not directly cause harm to others, but it is extremely difficult to uproot because nobody sees greed as a problem. Within reasonable boundaries, we like being a little greedy. It’s nice. We want nice clothes, nice food, a nice place to live. Our senses are stimulated. motivation and practice 37 We have the idea that if we were not attached to all these things, we would somehow become cold, dried out and uninteresting people.
They may live the most difficult and self-abnegating lives, but it’s all because they think that this lifetime is relatively short. They live in anticipation of eternity in heaven, in glory. Now we’re turning that concept right around and saying, “Forget the glory, forget heaven, forget paradise, forget nirvana, we don’t have time for that. There are too many beings out there suffering endlessly in samsara. ” We can see just by looking around us that there is no end to the sufferings of samsara.