THE PURPOSE OF SPIRITUAL TRAINING
- To Lead One To The Ultimate
- To Understand The Importance of Spiritual Practices With The Proper Motivation
- To Transcend The Cravings Of The Mind
OM MANI PADME HUM
The whole purpose of spiritual training is not to wish for worldly blessings in the form of health, wealth, name and fame, but the development of Wisdom of the mind. Those who seek gains which are not everlasting will soon have to experience sufferings and this is because their practice is not motivated with the Enlightenment Thought. Any practice that is motivated with self-centered interests cannot lead one to wisdom. Without wisdom, the goal is not ultimate and what is the use of practising that which does not lead to the Ultimate?
Daily one seeks for fulfillment in the forms of sensual pleasures, whether physical or mental. When it comes to the point that sensual influences are so strong, it will be impossible for anyone to be spiritual. Then all so called ‘spiritual practices’ are of the lowly levels and even if one were to do good and live harmlessly towards others, the merits accumulated will be very limited. What is the reason for this?
To begin with, the motivation is ignoble and lowly; filled with wishes for selfish cravings to be rewarded. The attachment to one’s body will be too great for one to learn how to reject it. Wishing for such fulfillments is actually the cause of one’s own downfall, for cravings generate defilements that will further delude the mind.
There are countless ways to develop defilement and one needs no practice whatever to remain in the cyclic existences. With some effort one may enter into the heavenly states or to take rebirth again as a human. With the least of effort one may become a being of the animal realm, and with no effort whatsoever, one easily and naturally enters the lowest realm. There are countless methods of accumulating merits that will bring samsaric rewards.
With some effort, all that one wishes for - health, wealth, name and fame, may be gained. Hoping to gain ‘immediate’ advantages, one ignorantly falls for methods of practice which promise quick rewards, many will go for ‘spiritual’ practices that are evil in nature. Without care or worry for others, they learn of ways that will bring them fulfillments that promise a ‘happy’ earthly life. Even knowing that payment for such fulfillments is dear in the after-life, they willingly accept such practices. This category of beings have only one purpose in life, to ‘enjoy’ it to the full while they are alive, they are blinded with cravings and they cannot look very far ahead. They become those who practise the evil-arts and other so-called spiritual practices. And they will draw much followings. They are, in fact, the earthly agents of Mara, the tempter.
There are others who seek happiness through spiritual practices that harm no others but because of the lack of proper motivation and wisdom, such practices only generate limited merits that will not develop them into clearly evolved ones. Without the Enlightenment Thought, at least rebirth will be within the higher realms where one enjoys much happiness and delights. When the purpose of spiritual practice is solely for such rewards, it cannot be considered as pure or wise. One should understand that when such desires are present, one is still under the clutches of Mara. As long as one does not yearn for the cessation of desires, for full liberation from the influences of craving, one cannot be freed from samsara.
Even the highest of the heavenly realms is under the control of Mara. This one should clearly understand. In reality ‘Mara’ is that force that generates all the fascinating things that draw the mind and subjugate it. As long as one’s mind is drawn towards sensual delight, Mara is able to weaken it. So even being reborn in the heavens, one is still under the influence and control of Mara and his hordes who provide all the sensual delights whether in the heavens or on earth.
The wise one will recognise this point and strive hard to see the futility of such short term happiness so that the yearning for enlightenment is developed. By realising that samsaric fulfillments and delights do not last permanently, but lead one to great suffering, that such happiness that one craves is actually a false illusion, one is able to transcend the cravings of the mind. For this very reason, it is important to check one’s mental cravings and realise the danger that they can do to oneself. More important, one should strive to learn the higher teachings that explains the emptiness of all phenomena, including the ‘self’
Thursday, 15th May 1986
4th Moon, 7th Day