學習次第 : 進階
15th June, 2005
Gyuto Ramoche Monastery, Sidhbari, Dharamsala, India.
In all the various spiritual traditions of the world there exists some belief in some form of divinity to whom we express our adoration. This divinity may be in a tangible physical form or a more abstract energy form. It also seems that in most spiritual traditions there is a particular set of texts or scriptures which are honoured and offered prayer. In Tibetan Buddhism there are a large number of scriptural texts that have come down through various spiritual beings who have left them for us to study and supplicate.
Given that we are all equal in our spiritual inclination, we should bear in mind that our spiritual practices should have impacted on us in a positive and good way. Often though, it seems that we are just spiritual in our outer appearance and the amount of energy that we actually put into our spiritual practices. Further, over the years it still seems to be in outer appearance rather than having really made some impact on our minds. We shouldn’t be deceived by these outer expressions that are in fact devoid of true intellectual development.
Sometimes its true that our external practices are real. Often due to exceptional outer circumstances or external conditions that we are more spiritually inclines than at other times. However, if we are always waiting for favourable circumstances to trigger our spiritual behaviour then how can we ever expect to become truly spiritual? If its just a couple of hours a day and due to external conditions, how can the spiritual values become deeply embedded?
When we talk about engaging in spiritual practices, it should mean that is serves spiritual and beneficial practices in all areas of our lives. Our whole being becomes spiritual everyday and our mind’s outlook becomes naturally wholesome continuously on a daily basis.
It is important to bear in mind that simply waiting for spiritual circumstances to arise and then, under it’s spell, doing certain spiritual activities, is likened to indulging in substances such as alcohol etc. When things get rough one drinks, then, under the sway of alcohol the cares and troubles cease but when the effect wares off then once again the daily reality reveals itself. This is like waiting for special circumstances to arise. It would be better to maintain your spiritual practices continuously so that there will be constant progress in the mind of awakening and in taming the mind. Spiritual practice shouldn’t just be once in a while. Your spiritual practice should be accountable and reliable so that the mind becomes stable in the qualities of love, compassion and tranquility.
In order for one’s life to become completely spiritual you need to make a constant habit of spiritual practice, maintaining it daily and especially in the face of the numerous obstacles and hinderances that arise.
The main hinderance on our path is the reliance we place in the illusion of the importance of the activities of this life. We are so locked into this way of thinking that we find it almost impossible to see any other alternatives. Any other view cannot even make a strike!
In the past all the great masters in one voice used to say that until we’ve given up the illusion of the reality of the futility of this life totally then we can’t really turn our minds to the reality of the Dharma. The Dharma until then is completely oblivious to such people.
Initially though, we need to become very realistic and enter the path as best we can. We start by slowly and systematically compromising the activities of this life with more and more spiritual practicies.
In the same line, given our habitual pattern of clinging to the illusion of this life, if we try to renounce everything all together and at once then it probably won’t work out well for our future. We need therefore, to strike a compromise and give up a little at a time thereby integrating truly spiritual elements slowly, gradually and consistently into our day-to-day lives.
In paving the way for true spiritual practice to take place in our lives, we need to be very clear right now that no matter what or in the name of any worldly activity, it can never bring any long lasting or substantial happiness. This is the striking reality and meaning behind embarking on spiritual practice. This, so called genuine practice, is not just going along with the flock but generates utter joy because one knows whats impelling one into undertaking genuine spiritual practice. The basis then, is breaking through the fixation on the illusion of this life……so break through!
Here’s another story. It’s not made up by me but rather just slightly edited and re-told. Once upon a time there was a great master who went wandering through ancient India and along the way he met a person who was doing korwa (circumambulations) around a stupa.. He asked him what he was doing and the man answered that he was practicing the Dharma by doing korwa around the stupa. The great master responded by saying that it would be better if he was practicing the Dharma. This caused the man to stop and think, ‘If this is not spiritual practice then what is? Maybe if I study the texts, this’ll be spiritual practice?’ So he undertook the study of texts.
Again the great master came upon him ad asked him what he was doing. He answered by saying that he was studying the scriptures. The master again replied that this was good but it would be better if he was practicing the Dharma. This caused the man to become very confused, and he asked himself, ‘What is the Dharma?’ He thought it might mean to meditate. This must be the practice of Dharma and so he undertook meditation and reflected on the wisdom of the teachings.
Once again the great master saw him and asked him what he was doing? He told him that he was meditating but again the master said, ‘Hmm. That is good but it would be better if he could practise the Dharma.’
The man was so confounded and confused that he asked the master to please tell him what then is the practice of Dharma? The master replied, ‘It is letting go of the clinging to the illusion of the reality of this life and developing total revulsion to the illusion of the reality of this life. Once you experience true renunciation then every activity you undertake is the practice of Dharma. Until then everything is just outer practice.’
So we should begin to oppose the reality of this life. Usually, due to momentary inspiration and initially, we seem to be doing very well with our practice but in fact, we haven’t really given up our illusion to reality. Thus, our practice falls back into attachment to the illusion of the reality of this life. Our practice becomes ordinary and contaminated by the wish to become famous or other worldly interests. We have to become rid of these attitudes. This is the very root of practice. We have to let go of any desire or attachment and develop total renunciation to the illusion of samsara.
If one has this notion in their approach to spiritual practice then one can call upon the blessings and siddhis of accomplished Enlightened Ones. Through their blessing and miraculous intervention we can become free of worldly trappings. If some of the truth of the blessing transfers one into freedom and liberation then the siddhis can take effect but not if one hasn’t given up strong attachment to the illusion of reality. If you still trust the illusion more than the blessing then it won’t work. You need to have complete faith in the blessing and not what you are stuck in. You must therefore, rely completely on the blessing of the masters and not on the illusion.