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Urgency in Dharma Practice

Urgency in Dharma Practice



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Published by Michael Erlewine
Urgency in Dharma Practice

by Michael Erlewine

13 pages, 7 photos, PDF

This short article addresses urgency in learning to experience your mind through meditation and other dharma practices, including the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind Toward the Dharma.
Urgency in Dharma Practice

by Michael Erlewine

13 pages, 7 photos, PDF

This short article addresses urgency in learning to experience your mind through meditation and other dharma practices, including the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind Toward the Dharma.

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Published by: Michael Erlewine on Sep 12, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Urgency in Dharma Practice
Michael Erlewine
Urgency in Dharma Practice
Copyright © Michael Erlewine 2010 All-rights Reserved ISBN 0-925182-70-2Permission to share, but not to sell or bundle.Michael@Erlewine.net http://MacroStop.com
Urgency in Dharma Practice
 A Dharma “Catch 22”
Te idea is simple. I am not yet enlightened yet, but amolder now, with probably not that many years let, am easily distracted, and not much into orced routines. You tell me: What are my chances o becoming enlightened beore I dieand why should I even worry about it?Te very great majority o dharma practitioners (not tomention everyone else) are pretty much in this same boat or WILL BE beore they realize it. One thing we do know (i  we are honest with ourselves) is that we are not enlightenedyet no matter how we may rationalize it. I we have to evenask ourselves the question, the answer is a “no, we are not yetenlightened.” And we are told by the ibetan Buddhist teachings that inthe bardo passage soon ater death we either will or will notget another human birth depending on how we have usedour current lie, this one. Sounds biblical. And while anoth-er human rebirth or lie is not guaranteed, we can howevereasily get a lower birth, one in which the dharma practice we have put o doing in this lie is impossible, such as beingreborn as a bewildered animal, and so on. What a thought!On top o whatever our current will or practice is (and ourhopes or enlightenment), we also have the growing pres-sure o this eventual showdown in the bardo, where (bodi-less, and without all the things rom this lie) we will haveto somehow pilot our mind through (so we are told) whatis said to be (or the majority) a most terriying experience. And just how stable are we when terried? And we won’t even have the steering wheel o the body toguide us. In the bardo, we are anything but grounded. We will have lost our body and literally be senseless! We will haveno way to even come to our senses, because we will havecompletely lost our senses. Tat is worth thinking about. At the time o death we will be alone (as we are today when we dream) with our mind, and even a ew moments o re-ection should tell us how disciplined that is. Just consideryour dharma or spritucal practice and ask yoursel: have youachieved the results you expected, were looking or, or thatyou eel you need? I you are on shaky ground here and now,then just imagine what you will be like in the midst o thebardo passage.It will be like trying to control the outcome o a dream, or we will be one big mind with no body and no common sense.Or it could be like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel. You probably wont be able to point yoursel anywhereand just have it go there or the reverse: whatever comes toyour mind, you WILL go there, including into your worstears. Tis is not me making this up; this is what the dharmatexts and teachings actually say.Keep in mind that the outcome o the bardo experience willdetermine whether you or I have another human body, an-other chance to learn and practice the dharma, or whether we will instead all into lower realms where it will be very difcult to do much o anything at all, certainly nothing likethe opportunity we have now in this lie.Forget about the pain o intrauterine lie, the trauma o birth, and all the “slings and arrows o outrageous ortune”that Shakespeare points out. It gets a little Old-estamentlike. Tose o us who have not managed to enlighten our-selves in this lie will have no choice but to try and qualiy or yet another chance at a human lie in the bardo, hop-ing to somehow keep what we now have, and to at leastcome out even, but with no guarantee. I am imagining that99.99% o us are in roughly the same boat. We will be angling or and hoping or another human re-birth, another chance on a human lie, rather than all into what are called the “lower realms.” I it has been hard orus to get serious in this lie, it may be almost impossible topractice dharma in the next. Ninety-nine percent is a goodpercentage, basically like: all o us.I you have ever wondered why many o the Asian Bud-dhists are into the Buddha Amitabha and his “Pure Land”Buddha realm called Sukhavati (ibetan: Dewa-Chen), itis because, o all the buddhas, the Buddha Amitabha haspromised each o us an easier access to his pure-land realm,an access that or most would take place in the bardo insteado rebirth – at what otherwise is the changing o the bodiesand perhaps also changing realms.Sukhavati is said to not only allow us to avoid alling intolower rebirths, but also to avoid our even taking anotherhuman rebirth whatsoever. According to the teachings, i  we merit it, we go directly to Sukhavati at death and we be-come enlightened, period, end o births. Tis is due (as theteaching say) to the compassion o the Buddha Amitabhaor sentient beings, in this case we humans.Obviously, as an unenlightened human I know nothingabout this Sukhavati realm personally, but am only sharing with you what the teachings tell us. Tis option is very ap-pealing compared to the alternatives. Aside rom trying to qualiy or Sukhavati, the majority o us are practicing not only to become enlightened using themethods Buddha taught, but also to get our minds in good-enough shape beore we die so as not to lose our balance inthe bardo and ail to obtain at least another human birth,complete with all its joys and sorrows. So there is some extrapressure on many o us, and that pressure increases with age,as we actually get closer to that deciding moment. Imagine!My only point or even writing this is to take a look at how this urgency to qualiy or yet another chance at human liemight aect our ongoing ability to become enlightened, our will and ability to practice. Getting another human rebirthater this lie amounts to getting our oot in the door to doour lie all over again. In itsel, a rebirth provides us withnothing more than another chance at lie, another opportu-nity to practice the dharma and to work toward our enlight-enment, that is ‘i’ we can be born in a time and place wheredharma is available to us, which is itsel not certain. Whatever skills or imprint we start out with in our next

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