Friday, December 16, 2011

Dharma Tames the Coarse and Subtle Clinging to an Ego

The Life, Art and Teachings of the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
by Michele Martin

Dharma Quote of the Week

The practice of Dharma is to pacify the afflictions and concepts that fill our minds. When we blend the teachings with our minds, the power of the Dharma can act upon and pacify afflictions and concepts. If on the outside we look like Dharma practitioners while on the inside our Dharma practice has not diminished our afflictions or concepts, we merely call ourselves practitioners without actually being one. This is not to say that outer behavior, our reflection in the world, is not important, but what is crucial is to train in taming our minds.

What we tame are the three main afflictions: ignorance, attachment, and aversion. Ignorance, the root of the two others, is defined as the continual fixation on our self that we assume to be permanent and independent. This ego-clinging is the main cause for our cycling in samsara. We wish to be in paradise for our own advantage; we wish to erase all suffering for our own advantage. We cling to this "I" of ours, thinking that it is so special that we should not be bothered with problems but enjoy wealth, power, and charisma. If we honestly look into our minds, it is quite easy to see this kind of coarse and obvious grasping to a self.

There are also subtle forms of fixating on the self ("I") and what belongs to it ("mine"), like the quick thought of ourselves before another one comes. When practicing Dharma, we are taming this coarse and subtle clinging to an ego. If this does not happen, we will merely be able to suppress the afflictions temporarily, distancing ourselves for the time being. To cut through them completely, we must steadily apply ourselves to practice. (p.187)

--from Music in the Sky: The Life, Art and Teachings of the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje by Michele Martin, published by Snow Lion Publications

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