Determination is a Virtue...Or is It?
Blog Post 11: Determination Is a Virtue… Or Is It?
"When people shower you with praise, you must always see that the reality of it is that it is Mara sprinkling flowers on you."
There are still those who are not convinced about the preciousness of life and are determined to believe that there is no pandemic. Some also have strong and emotional reactions to the politics of it. We don't have to agree or disagree with them. It is each person's choice.
As Buddhists, we should think about what is best for all beings and not be biased. In the Four Immeasurables prayer, we recite about how all beings may be free from aversion, attachment, clinging, and feeling close to some and distant from others. Let us choose to practice love rather than engage in praise of some and the putdowns of others.
There was a dog who often escaped from the house of her owners. They tied her tightly with ropes to a metal leash. But this intelligent dog bit the cord and snuck out in the night while everyone was asleep. She'd gone to her freedom once again. There are two ways to see this situation. One is that she is very determined, and the other that she is very stubborn.
Likewise, we, too, are very determined to believe what we want to. But a sincere dharma practice (under a skillful Guru who knows us) forces us to do the things that benefit all, though we may not like to do them.
For example, our daily commitment to the prayers – through the vows that we made and through the initiations we took. Some take vows and then immediately break them the next day. This is very unfortunate. If somebody were to give us a gold bar, we would think of it as having something very precious. We would look after it well. Dharma practice sheds light for us to be able to see ourselves. How precious is that? It's not going to give us a care-free life. It's going to show us our weaknesses and the ignorance that lies within.
In the situation with the dog, who runs out thinking she's smart and determined to be free, she doesn't know how to come back sooner or later. Similarly, samsaric beings run out into their thoughts, beliefs, and self-confidence but then can end up lost.
When we cultivate dharma, we face up to it and follow the Guru's instruction. The purpose of the Guru is to train us in the ways of being useful. The method is Guru yoga, which is not to serve your Guru but to awaken your Buddha nature so that you can become an awakened being of service to others.