"Emotions reflect intentions.
Therefore, awareness of emotions leads to awareness of intentions.
Every discrepancy between a conscious intention and the emotions
that accompany it,
points directly to a splintered aspect of the self that requires
For specific meditationson these subjects, see the
List of Sample Meditations.
Pride is defined as an exaggerated positive evaluation of oneself,
often based on a devaluation of others. It results in a kind of
attachment to oneself and aversion to others.
TRANSFORM: inferiority feelings, fears for attack
create a shield, leading to isolation
WITH: observation, analysis, equanimity, courage and tong-len.
ASK: Who caused my: education, intelligence, beautiful body, money?
Does someone with self-confidence
need to be proud?
INTO: self-confidence, honesty with yourself & others, fearlessness,
gratitude, friendship, equanimity.
"...to have greater self-awareness or understanding
means to have a better grasp of reality. Now, the opposite of
reality is to project onto yourself qualities that are not there,
ascribe to yourself characteristics in contrast to what is actually
the case. For example, when you have a distorted view of yourself,
such as through excessive pride or arrogance, because of these
states of mind, you have an exaggerated sense of your qualities
and personal abilities. Your view of your own abilities goes far
beyond your actual abilities. On the other hand, when you have
low self-esteem, then you underestimate your actual qualities
and abilities. You belittle yourself, you put yourself down. This
leads to a complete loss of faith in yourself. So excess--both
in terms of exaggeration and devaluation--are equally destructive.
lt is by addressing these obstacles and by constantly examining
your personal character, qualities, and abilities, that you can
learn to have greater self-understanding. This is the way to become
Art of Happiness at Work" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
"One of the main obstacles is our pride.
This pride is an inflated state of mind and relies on our false
view of the transitory collection, which focuses on the existent
self, attributed to our body and mind, and distorts it. When we
are on top of a very high mountain, we look down on all the lower
peaks. Similarly, when we are full of pride, everyone else appears
lower. We are the best and everyone else is inferior. This pride
is associated with our self-preocupation and makes us act inappropriately
and disrespectfully towards others, thereby bringing us face to
face with all kinds of unpleasant and unwanted experiences. As
long as we feel and act as through we are the center of the universe,
we will never develop real concern for others. To counteract this
attitude we train ourselves always to think of them as supremely
important by considering their good qualities and by reviewing
our own faults and weaknesses."
from 'Eight Verses for Training the Mind' by Geshe Sonam Rinchen
"Tibetans look at a person who holds himself
above others, believing he is better than others and knows more,
and they say that person is like someone sitting on a mountain
top: it is cold there, it is hard, and nothing will grow. But
if the person puts himself in a lower position, then that person
is like a fertile field."
"An authentically empowered person is humble.
This does not mean the false humility of one who stoops to be
with those who are below him or her. It is the inclusiveness of
one who responds to the beauty of each soul. ... It is the harmlessness
of one who treasures, honours and reveres life in all its forms."
Gary Zukav in 'The
Seat of the Soul'
"What is like a smelly fart,
that, although invisible is obvious?
One's own faults, that are precisely
As obvious as the effort made to hide them."
His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama in 'Songs
of spiritual change' (translated by Glenn Mullin)
"If we see pride among people who have no
idea about Dharma, it is understandable. However, if afflictive
emotions and haughtiness are present among Dharma practitioners,
it is great disgrace to practice"
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
How can you be proud if you are not enlightened?
How can you be proud if even the enlightened are not?
Ignorance is not only not knowing, but also includes
not wanting to know. In Buddhism, the deeper level of ignorance
refers to a lack of wisdom or
insight into the nature of reality.
Ignorance, or not having real wisdom, lies at the
basis of all our problems, upto the fact that we are not fully enlightened
Buddhas, who only experience bliss and no suffering or frustration.
Due to our ignorance, we do negative actions and thus create misery
in our future (see karma). According to
Buddhism, all our negative (unhelpful) emotions have their origin
in misunderstanding in general and not realising the wisdom of emptiness.
The road to a full realisation of this wisdom is usually very long,
and can easily take many life-times, but a jouney needs to begin
with a first step....
TRANSFORM: avoiding responsibility for one's own life, lack of
self-confidence, negative mind-patterns and behavior
WITH: study, attending teachings, critical analysis, reflection,
INTO: wisdom, taking responsibility, feeling confident, thinking
and acting positively for ourselves and others
Defined as: deluded indecisive wavering - being
in two minds about reality; usually leading to negative actions.
Examples are, once one has decided to be a Buddhist, doubting karma,
rebirth etc. In fact, one should be clear about these fundamental
aspects prior to becoming a Buddhist.
TRANSFORM: lack of self-confidence or ignorance
WITH: study, critical analysis, reflection, enthusiasm, meditation.
INTO: clarity, self-confidence and conviction.
"There is nothing more dreadful than the
habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates
friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that
irritates and hurts, it is a sword that kills."
"Although individuals may be highly intelligent,
they are sometimes dogged by skepticism and doubts. They are clever,
but they tend to be hesitant and skeptical and are never really
able to settle down. These people are the least receptive"
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
^Top of Page
Jealousy is wanting an object for oneself which belongs to others,
so obviously it is strongly related to attachment.
A commentary by Lama Zopa Rinpoche (Kopan Courses No. 3 (Fall 1972)
and No. 4 (Spring 1973), from www.LamaYeshe.com:
"Rejoicing is the best remedy for jealousy
and envy. Rejoicing does not depend on material or physical actions—it
can be done while you are working, eating, or sleeping—it
can be done at any time and it is such a simple way to create
good karma. If a person has many friends and you feel joyous in
your heart, that person is lucky. This result is due to the good
karma he created in past lives. Having many possessions and children
is the same. Seeing this, you should feel joyous in your heart.
You may feel jealous of some couples, of their harmony and enjoyments—but
you should think that this result is due to the fact that they
created the cause for such experiences in past lives. So why shouldn’t
they experience the result of enjoyment now?
Avoiding jealousy and envy and trying to feel
joyful for others’ happiness creates much good karma. Feeling
joy also keeps the mind at peace. If the mind is jealous and envious,
you will feel very uncomfortable—like you have a big stone
in your mind. But feeling joyful keeps the mind peaceful, without
problems. Also, feeling joyful, you don’t create any bad
vibrations or show any bad aspect to others—there is no
confusion going on between you and the object.
You should also try not to feel jealousy or envy
for anyone who meditates and studies the Dharma a great deal.
Instead, you should try to feel joyful. When bodhisattvas see
other beings receiving bodhicitta, their holy minds are extremely
pleased, as if they have found a jewel. They feel very joyful
that the other beings understand Dharma and are working for sentient
beings due to karma. This kind of thinking keeps the mind relaxed,
not bubbly like boiling water, and keeps peace between you and
the other person. Judging other people exaggerates so much, and
jealousy, envy, and putting people down creates so much bad karma.
Whenever we see other people creating good karma we can always
create good karma ourselves by feeling joyful. This keeps the
mind happy, and creates infinite good karma as there are infinite
numbers of ordinary beings. This is a very simple way to purify
and create good karma. The mind that rejoices for others’
merits is always pure—it is something inside you that cannot
be shown, creating good karma. There is no danger of having too
many expectations from thinking like this, such as hoping that
others will like you or having other desires for temporal rewards
for the comfort of this life. The mind that is pleased that others
create merit is always happy."
Lama Zopa Rinpoche from Practicing
the good heart:
"If we have a good heart, we experience
much happiness and relaxation. We have no reason to feel angry
or jealous and we have a very happy mind. When we speak, sweet
words come out. Even our face is happy and smiling. At night we
go to bed with a happy mind and have a very comfortable sleep,
without any worries.
Otherwise, if we live our life with a very selfish,
ungenerous mind, we think about nothing else except me, me, me:
"When will I be happy? When will I be free from these problems?"
If our attitude is like this, jealousy and anger arise easily,
strongly and repeatedly, so we experience much unhappiness in
our life, many ups-and-downs. During the day we have a cold heart
and at night we even go to bed with a cold heart and unhappy mind."
In a nutshell:
TRANSFORM: attachment, greed, selfishness, blocked communication
WITH: rejoicing/sympathetic joy (in someone else's fortune), equanimity,
compassion and love
INTO: sharing in happiness, open heartedness
A very concise explanation of jealousy can be found in the Berzin
Defined as: being attached to temporary pleasure, not wanting
to do virtue or only little; opposite to diligence.
Sogyal Rinpoche in 'Tibetan
book of living and dying':
"Naturally there are different species of laziness:
Eastern and Western. The Eastern style is like the one practised
in India. It consists of hanging out all day in the sun, doing
nothing, avoiding any kind of work or useful activity, drinking
cups of tea, listening to Hindi film music blaring on the radio,
and gossiping with friends. Western laziness is quite different.
It consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so
there is no time at all to confront the real issues. This form
of laziness lies in our failure to choose worthwhile applications
for our energy."
His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama from 'Songs
of spiritual change':
"Do not deceive yourself with laziness,
which thinks to practice tomorrow or the next day,
Or you will die praying for help.
Quickly, quickly help yourself
and take the essence of truth."
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama:
"One can be deceived by three types of laziness:
of indolence, which is the wish to procrastinate;
the laziness of inferiority, which is doubting your capabilities;
and the laziness that is attachment to negative actions, or putting
great effort into non-virtue."
The same in different words by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche from 'Daring
Steps Toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Buddhism':
"The Buddhist notion of diligence is to
delight in positive deeds. Its opposite, called le lo
in Tibetan, has three aspects. Le lo is usually translated as
"laziness," though only its first aspect refers to laziness
as we usually understand it.
The first aspect is not doing something because of indolence,
even though we know that it is good and ought to be done.
The second aspect is faintheartedness. This comes about when we
underestimate our qualities and abilities, thinking, "I'm
so incompetent and weak. It would be good to do that, but I could
never accomplish it." Not having the confidence of thinking,
"I can do it," we end up doing nothing.
The third aspect refers to being very busy and seeming diligent,
but wasting time and energy on meaningless activities that will
not accomplish anything in the long run. When we do many things
for no real purpose, we fail to focus on what is truly worthwhile
and our path has no clear direction.
When we refrain from these three aspects of laziness, we are diligent."
Once more in the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from How to See Yourself As You Really Are:
Laziness comes in many forms, all of which result in procrastination, putting off practice to another time. Sometimes laziness is a matter of being distracted from meditation by morally neutral activities, like sewing or considering how to drive from one place to another; this type of laziness can be especially pernicious because these thoughts and activities are not usually recognized as problems.
At other times, laziness manifests as distraction to thinking about nonvirtuous activities, such as an object of lust or how to pay an enemy back. Another type of laziness is the sense that you are inadequate to the task of meditation, feeling inferior and discouraged: "How could someone like me ever achieve this!" In this case you are failing to recognize the great potential of the human mind and the power of gradual training.
All of these forms of laziness involve being unenthusiastic about meditation. How can they be overcome? Contemplation of the advantages of attaining mental and physical flexibility will generate enthusiasm for meditation and counteract laziness. Once you have developed the meditative joy and bliss of mental and physical flexibility, you will be able to stay in meditation for as long as you want. At that time your mind will be completely trained so you can direct it to any virtuous activity; all dysfunctions of body and mind will have been cleared away.
See also Pema Chodron's interesting text on laziness.
EMOTIONS AROUND SEXUAL ABUSE
Some personal notes on this emotionally devastating
act. I have been lucky enough to never being a victim of sexual
abuse, but was confronted with it in a very unusual situation; I'll
tell the story a little bit later.
Strictly spoken, when a victim of sexual abuse feels guilty, it
is the result of incorrect reasoning, as the attacker is responsible.
So on that ordinary level, guilt is a mistaken view.
A very hard to swallow approach is realising the laws of karma.
These actually say, that everything which I experience is ultimately
caused by my own past actions. Why does this seem so logical for
a simple act like stealing causes being robbed, and so difficult
to accept with sexual abuse? I personally believe that the negative
emotions that come up by being in such a hopeless situation are
so strong that they leave too little space for looking at it rationally
and somewhat more objectively. Believe it or not, it seems proven
beyond doubt that many sexual abusers have themselves been victims
of sexual abuse in their early life.
The following story happened while your webmaster
worked in a meditation centre.
"During an intensive 11-day in-house meditation
course, a young woman was raped at knife-point during the breakfast
break, in a small piece of forest just outside the centre; everyone
was stunned, it was bizarre. As a nurse, she had been involved
with quite a number of cases of sexual abuse, but never before
experienced it herself. She was not a Buddhist (yet), but was
quite fascinated by the teachings on karma and compassion. In
a remarkable show of courage, she decided to go to the Indian
police (they are not exactly considerate), and tell the course
students in detail what had happened. For herself, she decided
to regard the entire event as a test case to see if these teachings
on karma, compassion and meditation could be of benefit to her
in this situation.
A couple of days later, several women left the course. I discovered
later that these women had been sexually abused earlier in life,
and simply could not cope with the positive approach of this one
woman who decided to try and feel compassion for the abuser.
At that moment, it was painfully obvious to me that some of the
people who mostly needed these methods, could not even face a
different type of approach to their frustrations. By walking out,
they simply shut another door to transforming their problems.
Out of frustration, they felt upset and even angry about the woman
who tried a different approach.
What happened to the attacked woman? I saw her again one year
later, seriously involved in Buddhism, eager to do another course,
and without any frustrations about the abuse she had undergone..."
^Top of Page
A description found in a webforum:
"This may sound a bit naive to some people,
but I've just come to realize that we are all alone in this world.
Sounds so sad, I know. Even when you are coupled up with someone
who loves you, ultimately, realistically, we are still alone.
I remember being in love with my b/f and thinking to myself how
I don't feel lonely anymore. But when we broke up, I was faced
with overwhelming lonliness...not just because he left me, but
because I was reminded that the comfort feeling I had with my
now ex, was just a cover-up, a blanket of my loneliness. Does
anyone else feel like this???"
My first reaction to this is; "Probably not
many." This posting actually proves an unusually good analysis.
Just like most things we do for 'fun and excitement', also the excitement
of relationships is a very temporary blanket to cover up the painful
and frustrating aspects of life. Ultimately, every relationship
breaks up, at the latest when one of them dies.
Does this mean we should all be celibate and forget about finding
a partner? That is not necessary at all, but we should not overrate
the value of relationships into 'being happy'. Happiness is a state
of mind, not a state of your relationship.
A tough comment from Lama Yeshe in 'Becoming
Vajrasattva, the Tantric Path of Purification':
"Why are we bored, lonely and lazy? Because
we don't have the will to totally open our hearts to others. If
you have the strength of will to totally open your heart to others,
you will eliminate laziness, selfishness and loneliness. Actually,
the reason you get lonely is that you are not doing anything.
If you were busy, you wouldn't have time to get lonely. Loneliness
can only enter an inactive mind. If your mind is dull and your
body inactive, then you get lonely. Basically, this comes from
a selfish attitude, concern for yourself alone. That is the cause
of loneliness, laziness and a closed heart."
An exerpt from a lecture
by Shih-fu Sheng-yen:
"When I was in solitary retreat, I knew
that I was together with all sentient beings in innumerable worlds.
Even though I seemed to be alone in a small, enclosed room, actually
I was in company with many ants who found their way inside, and
there were many insects around the hut who created all kinds of
sounds in the evening. When I opened the Sutras, people thousands
of years in the past were talking to me. How could I feel lonely?
Some people think I must feel lonely being a monk without any
wife or children. Not at all. I have the 5 precepts and the 10
Virtuous Deeds as my wife, and my children are all the people
who I have developed a karmic affinity with and who call me Shih-fu.
It is only those pitiable people who enclose themselves and cannot
establish a relationship with the outside world who feel lonely.
If you keep yourself enclosed, even if you live among thousands
of people you will still feel very lonely. However, if you keep
yourself open, then even if you are living alone, you will still
have a very full life. So open your mind and treat everyone as
your intimate, virtuous friend."
A nice text by Pema Chodron on Six
types of loneliness
BRUISED EGO / DEALING WITH CRITICISM
Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche - from Lama
Yeshe Wisdom Archives.
Rinpoche gave the following advice for situations where
one’s ego gets bruised.
"When one’s ego is harmed, one should
rejoice. How great it is! How wonderful it is! In the same way
as ordinary people react when their enemy is harmed or when some
trouble happens to them, one should rejoice and feel so happy
when one’s ego is hurt. Exactly like that, one should think:
How fantastic it is for this ego to be harmed!
If a person is practising lam rim, thought transformation,
and bodhicitta, then when something hurts their ego, they should
think, “How fortunate! This is exactly what I need. Let
the ego have this, and even greater harm!”
The stronger the harm to the ego, the more quickly
one destroys the ego. Without ego, there is bodhicitta, and when
there is bodhicitta, one creates so much merit and that leads
one to generate wisdom quickly. Then one can accumulate the two
causes, and achieve enlightenment. That is the purpose of being
alive. It is what makes life meaningful.
Without bodhicitta, it is not possible to get
enlightened. The highest level you can reach is that of arhat.
The reason why the arhat cannot achieve enlightenment is lack
of bodhicitta. So think, “How wonderful it is that my ego
is being harmed.”
Treat the ego the way many Americans treat Osama
bin Laden: How pleased they are when his cause is harmed. Think,
my ego is trillions of times more harmful than bin Laden."
A woman in Delhi, whose name was often in
the press, had received criticism that she felt was unfair. She
was extremely upset about this adverse press coverage, and came
to ask Lama Zopa Rinpoche for advice.
"When something like this happens, think
in this way: “I am not going to be here in this world forever,
in Delhi with these society people.” This is also useful
when experiencing very hurtful relationship problems, if the situation
is really heavy and you feel you can’t bear it.
Think like this: “Actually, death can happen
any time. Even today, at any moment, death can happen to me. So
what is the point in being worried about bad reputation and all
those words? There is no point at all.
“Even if I am criticized by every human
being in this world, even by animals, insects, hell beings, hungry
ghosts, devas, and asuras, it is nothing. It is not the first
time I have experienced being criticized. Numberless times in
the past I have experienced this. Not only have I been criticized,
I have also had good reputations numberless times in the past,
not only in this life, in past lives. Numberless times, I have
had a great reputation. I have been the most famous person in
So, good and bad reputations are nothing new
in samsara, and life is so short. It is like a dream, a one-time
dream. It happens, and then it is gone. Like the duration of lightning,
there’s a vivid appearance and the next minute, it’s
gone. Thinking about impermanence and death is extremely important.
Regarding good reputation, it is said in the
teachings by Milarepa, the great Tibetan yogi who became enlightened
in one brief lifetime, that even though the sound of a thundering
dragon is loud, it is empty sound. Even though the rainbow has
such beautiful colors, it still disappears. The thundering sound
refers to good and bad reputation, and the rainbow’s beautiful
colors refer to a beautiful body.
The conclusion to what Milarepa is saying is
not to cling. Of course, it doesn’t mean one shouldn’t
have a good reputation. One can have a good reputation with a
good heart. If having a good reputation is useful and it benefits
others, then it is good, only in order to benefit and cause happiness
to other living beings.
I often say in my lectures, having power and
influence brings great danger for oneself and the world if one
does not have a good heart in life. Therefore, these things, power
and influence, are meaningless. But when one has a good heart
and a mind to benefit others, having influence and power can be
used to cause happiness for others. In these ways, these things
become very meaningful.
In just this way, His Holiness the Dalai Lama
or Shakyamuni Buddha have the best reputation, because there is
no delusion, no defilements. The mind is completely pure and the
actions are completely pure and performed only for others, not
only with compassion and perfect power but with all wisdom and
all the skills, so there is nothing to blame or to complain about.
There is no cause for a bad reputation.
I did an observation and it came out that it
is very good for you to talk to the press. It indicated this would
be very beneficial for the problem.
According to Western terminology, here is the
best psychology. Or, in Buddhism, according to meditation, this
is how one can transform problems into happiness: by enjoying
Not only can one enjoy having a good reputation,
one can enjoy having a bad reputation. How? The secret key is
to think of the benefits of having a bad reputation and to think
of the advantage you gain from it. The most important benefit,
the most extensive, precious, and greatest advantage, and the
basic technique to gain it, is to use the problem. Use the reputation
to destroy your ego, which is your biggest main enemy. The ego
makes you encounter all the problems and causes others to abuse
you, criticize you, and give you your bad reputation. If you destroy
the ego, there is only ultimate good heart—in Sanskrit,
bodhicitta: the thought of benefiting others, cherishing others;
that very pure holy mind.
Having that makes you holy, called a bodhisattva,
and ultimately makes you become a buddha. How? By making your
mind cease all mistakes, defilements, and complete all the good
qualities of the realizations. The advantage for you in becoming
a perfect buddha is that the purpose of your life is not only
to achieve happiness for yourself, but to cause happiness for
all living beings, and free them from all the sufferings. By greatly
benefiting others and bringing them to full enlightenment, peerless
happiness, you also become a buddha and you have omniscience,
perfect, complete, peerless power to cause all happiness for every
living being, including enlightenment.
Experiencing problems for other living beings
means developing compassion and loving kindness. By experiencing
problems for others this way, you collect merit, good karma as
vast as the sky, and the cause of happiness, and you purify inconceivable
negative defilements. Whenever you encounter problems, you experience
them for numberless others who are experiencing similar problems
now and in the future.
This is how one can enjoy problems, gaining benefits
as great as the sky. Each time you experience problems for others,
you come closer to enlightenment, peerless happiness. With a good
heart, when you are working for others, you are purifying so much
of your own negative karma. It definitely gets purified, especially
when you bear hardships working for others.
It is also mentioned in the teachings by the
Kadampa Geshes, the great saints, that it is good that one gets
criticized. Why? Because it is said by them that if one is praised
by others, it develops pride. It lifts up the mind and makes one
stuck up. But if one is criticized, it destroys one’s mistakes
immediately. These mistaken actions bring problems now and in
the future for oneself and for others. But if one is criticized,
one comes to realize the mistakes that one was not aware of and
this inspires one to change one’s attitude and life.
If one has comfort and happiness from having
a good reputation or other things called good (one has to adapt
this to one’s own circumstances), it sets ablaze the five
poisonous delusions. If one is unhappy and suffering, that is,
if one has problems, it finishes the negative karmas collected
in the past. This is due to the guru’s kindness. Not everyone
believes in the term ‘God’ so one can change the term
from ‘God’ into ‘guru’. When the term
guru doesn’t fit, then one can use the term God.
Problems are manifestations of emptiness, the
ultimate nature. When one encounters unfortunate and undesirable
situations, the teachings show how to look at them as positive.
It is also useful to think about His Holiness
the Dalai Lama, whose qualities are beyond our conception, and
who benefits numberless living beings in the world, and yet even
many Tibetan people criticize His Holiness, although they themselves
When Shakyamuni Buddha was in India, there were
often sentient beings who criticized the Buddha, even though the
Buddha has no delusions, no self-cherishing, no ignorance, no
attachment, and no defilements. And, of course, we are ordinary
beings filled with delusions and continually making mistakes,
so therefore it is natural that we get a bad reputation and criticism
By thinking this way, relax and be happy when
problems come. Just enjoy them, by using the problems for meditation.
Think of the benefit, the unbelievable opportunity to quickly
develop the mind on the path.
This way of thinking is not only for now. It
can be used in all of your daily life. It is the best meditation."
More talks by Lama Zopa on this topic:
of Critizing and Blaming Others (a letter from Lama Zopa Rinpoche)
Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical
humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be
I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem.
Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
Never put off till tomorrow what you can avoid all together.
People who think they're superior are exceedingly annoying to those
of us who really are.
December 11, 2016