17th Gyalwa Karmapa"Buddhism is a way of life through which we develop the qualities of our mind.
This way of life is very unusual, as it is a means to attain happiness without harming others.



Right attitude for practice

Lama Gendun Rinpoche

Practice, in a sense, is the same as any kind of work. If we really want to succeed at something, then we have to put effort into it day after day. And if we want to reach the goal of the Dharma, then we must also apply ourselves to it day after day.

Our practice should not weaken but on the contrary develop further and further as time goes by. If our practice is careless, then there is no blessing really transmitted, because when we are practising, our mind is already distracted and thinking about other things. Even when drinking tea, we are not really enjoying the tea but thinking of what we plan to do, rather than being really mindful and concentrated on the fact that we are drinking. This kind of attitude gives rise to many desires and feelings related to the future, as well as a lot of frustration, because we are constantly projecting ourselves into a future which is as yet unclear, only creating a lot of desires about something that often doesn't even happen. Concerned about the future, our mind is continually occupied by our plans and projects and there is no room to think of our present practice. We get carried away more and more by carelessness.

A lot of defects start to develop without our noticing it. We forget about the practice we are doing, our mind is not concentrated, it just jumps from one thought to the next. We then lose our enthusiasm and aspiration for Dharma practice. As our meditation is not developing well, we feel more frustrated than before and we have more negative feelings of anger, pride and jealousy. We forget to be aware, to remind ourselves constantly of the need to practise with diligence without expecting any result. We should see how this kind of careless attitude only serves to bring even more hope and fear in its wake.

We must reflect very carefully on this because this is the biggest defect that a practitioner can experience. Basically it comes from pride. Because we have practised for some years and done this and that practice, we think that we have become someone very special, a person with invaluable experience and knowledge about the Dharma. We are sure that we are much better than before. In fact, the less we practise and develop spiritually, the more we think we are someone very good and important. We feel really pure, and see that others are not so pure, that they are unskilful, that they are wrong while we are right. We develop the feeling that we have a really good understanding of the Dharma and genuine realisation. In the end, we think we know better than the lama himself. He is very kind, but does not really see what we see, he is not really aware like we are. We think that we are now enlightened, a buddha, and that the lama doesn't understand us. This is how our pride gets bigger and bigger, until we get totally carried away by it. We are convinced that we are right and others wrong, but we don't notice that we are becoming more and more unstable, getting more and more into trouble, our mind more and more disturbed by the angry feelings we have towards others and even towards the teacher and Dharma practice itself.

This is not really rare, it is a very common situation among practitioners, because pride is always there so the danger is always there as well. It is a great risk for the practitioner.

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