Think out of the box

28 October 2010 - 12:14am Comments Off

If you want to think out of the box, experience real growth – what do you do?

Open up, overcome the fear of being wrong; stop thinking for yourself, think for others.

Never say no as a habit, never give up.

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche

What box is Rinpoche referring to? Our mind. When our minds are closed, we cannot learn from anyone and our learning curve plateaus and takes a dive. We continue to rely on old knowledge which cannot offer us lasting solutions to our problems. At best, the old knowledge helps us temporarily. At worst, it adds more problems and increases our suffering.

All our worldly attainments, possessions, friends, loved ones, methods and knowledge cannot help us at the time of death. They cannot help assure us of a good rebirth or protect us from the dangers of woeful states of rebirth. Therefore while we may grow in terms of material possessions, spiritually we are trapped in a box with no way out.

We must acquire new and special knowledge which can help us to get out. The key to happiness of this life and future lives is to move away from our self-centred or egocentric world where everything revolves around I, Me, Mine.

How does moving away help us?

The root of all our afflictive emotions, which are causes of our suffering, come from our selfish mind. Our suffering comes from engaging in actions which are preoccupied with the eight worldly concerns.

We are concerned with:

  • Wanting pleasure and disliking displeasure
  • Wanting gain and disliking loss
  • Wanting fame and disliking shame
  • Wanting name and disliking blame

As long as we harbour such self-cherishing thoughts, we will experience suffering. Why? Since nothing in this phenomenal world is permanent, if we develop attachment for worldly objects, we will have aversion when these objects disappear.

The path to transformation will involve some pain. The process of awakening from our sleep of ignorance, habituated from countless lifetimes of self-cherishing actions, will not be an easy fix. Understanding our spiritual goals and its benefits to us and others will motivate us not to give up on learning, contemplating and engaging in Dharma practice.

As Rinpoche always says, undergoing small suffering to protect us from bigger suffering is worth it. It is meaningful because we are doing it for others – our countless mother sentient beings.

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