Lust and Hatred: Emotions Not part of Normal State of Mind

Afflictive Emotions like Lust and Emotions are not part of the normal state of mind. All the faulty states of mind are mistaken at their root. But the non afflictive emotions are not mistakes and operate even when there is no mistaken belief in the independent existence.

Positive emotions like Love and Compassion need no assistance to survive in our mind despite the ignorance which misconceives objects as existing in and of themselves whereas non virtuous attitudes such as hatred, pride and so forth are generated only with the assistance and support of ignorance. Without the misunderstanding of the nature of things, there is no way that lust and hatred can operate.

Good emotions draw favorable things to us, but bad emotions brings disaster as it operates under the misconception of things. It also makes us prejudiced towards the thing/ object or person we desire. Even slightest interference towards this can bring emotions like anger.

Similarly hatred is mistaken to be integral to the mind, it is not, it is an attitude without valid support. Compassion on the other hand is founded in truth. When over a long period of time an attitude that has a valid foundation competes with the one that does not, the one with valid foundation will overwhelm the other. This is why when you become accustomed to correct attitudes through practice faulty attitudes will finally diminish until finally they are extinguished.

Negative and Positive emotions cannot co exist in our Mind

DharmakÄ«rti (ca. 7th century), was an Indian scholar and one of the Buddhist founders of Indian philosophical logic. He was one of the primary theorists of Buddhist atomism, according to which the only items considered to exist are momentary Buddhist atoms and states of consciousness . When it comes to the mind Dharmakriti said ” The nature of this mind is clear light. Defilements are Superficial”

What it means is that the mind is pure in its form. All other afflictive emotions like Lust, Greed, Anger, Hatred are just emotions which are formed based on our ignorance that our presence in this world is permanent. The mind in its pure form is referred by Dharmakriti as mind of clear light.. When we are born, we are enlightened by nature and equipped with the tools to reach the state of complete harmony of mind. We also have some level of compassion and the intelligence that distinguishes between favorable and unfavorable. If these elements of the mind can be developed then this can become the basis of transformation.

The problem with negative emotions is there is no external means of removing it, unlike a thorn which pierces you. To remove the negative motions , we must clearly see the mistaken beliefs on which is it based. Once we learn these negative emotions do not agree with our basic mental well being, then we can develop antidotes to remove them.

All the negative emotions like Lust, Greed, Hatred need conditions to exist. For e.g. When you sneeze right now, you cannot be angry. Once the condition does not exist, then there will be no negative emotions. The fact remains that negative attitudes or emotions can be separated from the main mind.

At times we might hold on to negative emotions like anger and attachment and other times our mind manifests into detachment and contentment. We cannot feel positive and negative emotions to an object or person at the same time. We have these feelings at different times and even in rapid succession but never at the same time. This clearly shows that positive and negative emotions cannot coexist. They oppose each other and when one increases in strength other decreases.

Appearance Vs Reality The Conflict Within

Ignorance leads to exaggeration of the truth. It is the same exaggeration which leads us to overvalue beauty, ugliness materialistic gains which leads to lust, hatred and jealousy. It is important to understand that this ignorant conception that the phenomena exists within its own right is also mistaken. There is no valid foundation to this belief. It is important to understand that everything and any circumstances are interdependent.

When you cultivate this insight you will no longer be susceptible to counterproductive emotions. When you get to these deeper understanding , you start developing concern for others and will not be rushed into responses of exaggerated responses. You will take time to probe into what lies beneath the surface.

All of the above ensures that we will treat circumstances, objects or people not by their appearances, but see them like a illusion rather than being under harmful emotions like lust or anger.

The fact remains that things are not as they appear to m. The fact remains that sources of pain might first appear as sources of pleasure, but in the end they are not. In the end this brings us pain. Although in reality we want happiness, in our ignorance we dont know how to achieve it and although we dont want pain, we misunderstand its workings and end up contributing to its causes.

This is similar to watching a magician performing tricks, we are lead to believe that the objects are not as it seems to be. The magician makes us believe that the objects are cars , dogs or horses or as he wants us to see it. In a similar way by judging things, objects or people by its appearances, we exaggerate things than what they seem to be. The situation leads us into demonstrating negative emotions like lust, greed or hatred. The situation developed because of our inability to see things or situation deeply and not look at only the surface of it.

Because our destructive emotions of Lust, Anger or Hatred starts from us accepting the appearance of inflated qualities of good or bad, the practice of seeing people or objects as a Magicians illusion will ensure that we look at things more deeply and help reduce unfavorable emotions.

When you do this, we will leave room to positive qualities like compassion, which is built on seeing things as they really are and not on ignorant exaggeration.

A simple Cure for Anger

You generally get angry when someone has harmed you or is harming you, your family or friend. During those times, you feel both ” you or I” and ” them” are tangible independent entities. Because you commit the mistake of considering them as entities based on their appearance, anger is generated. However there is an alternative way of looking at it even before the first rays of rage appear in your mind.

Reason yourself and your thinking by asking:

  • Who am ?
  • Who is being hurt?
  • What is the enemy ?
  • Is the enemy the body of the other person?
  • Is the enemy his or her mind?

The above is the principle of reflection as told by His Holiness Dala Lama.

If you examine things as prescribed then the enemy previously created to get angry and you the ” I” created to be hurt seem to disappear. And the anger subsides.

It is important to understand that immediate results cannot be expected by practicing this way. It does not matter how spiritual in your life, but being a good person is important But through this act of contemplation , your anger will recede and the irritants in your life will change colour. All gopd qualities need to be sown like a good seed, to be watered regularly and have the right soil for cultivation. That needs patience. So dp not expect to be cured of this affliction in one day.

A Introspection on Anger

One of the great ways of improvement is reflection. Reflection on your actions helps you to distinguish between right or wrong. When it comes to anger you can reflect upon the following:

  1. Anger makes us a train wreck: When you look at the after effects of Anger, you will realise that it only motivates us to use rude words, harsh physical actions and creating an unpleasant atmosphere. Anger diminishes our power to know between right or wrong. This is the ability which makes us different from animals because they do not have to power to decide if their action is right or wrong. Some situations does require us to respond strongly but that does not have to be done with Anger.
  2. Anger makes a mountain of a molehill: Just as a small seed can grow into a big tree, every action of ours can create a large effect. For e.g. hitting your child in anger can have bad effects in future.
  3. Anger undermines the good in you: Your ability to do good deeds can be undermined by the anger inside you. You will stand to loose the potential benefit of the good deeds you do if stay angry. It takes out all the positive effects of your virtuous deeds. Alternatively if you are able to control your your anger then this overpowers the negative effects arising from situations when you arr unable to control your anger.

So when you start reflecting more and more , you will start to realise the uselessness of Anger. Repeated reflections on the disadvantages of anger will make you realise that ut is senseless, even pathetic. When you realise the futility of this emption you will be less willing to be acquainted with it.

Does Anger As an Emotion Help

When it comes to emotions there are tow types. One which needs to be expressed for e.g. Depression. If you dont express it or speak to some one about it then it leads to sadness and increases our tendency to do horrible things to our self. The other type of emotion is Anger, Attachment, Lust, Greed which has the tendency to increase when expressed.

If you are angry today on something, then the anger is more likely to increease over a period of time. But when you try to redce anger , it can only weakem. Giving anger the weopon of words and actions is like giving a naughty child some waste paper and matches. If the waste paper is lit then the resultant fire can spread and cause lot of damage. It is the similar case with anger, the fire it causes when armed with words can quickly be out of control. The only way to control your anger is to ask yourself ” What is the value of anger as compared to tolerance and compassion?”

If we dont consider the destruction emotions like anger can cause, then it is most likely to feed on our mind and cause damages for which we can only regret later. If this emotion is not reflected upon then your mind will thin that it is normal to get angry and will not make an effort to control it.

On the other hand those who consider Anger as a negative emotion takes action to reduce it or control it. Sometime Anger might win, but deep down people will try to resist its negative effects. Their inner tolerance will help them reduce the effects, because of their constant awareness that anger is negative emotion.

If you dwell on it, then you will understand Anger has no use. If we get angry with someone what is the result/. Is it good for you or the other person?.The fact remains the Anger harms you more than it does good for you. Another fact is that it is the people who are close to you who have to bear the brunt of your angry behavior.

On the other hand when an unfortunate event occurs which can be handled by you without getting angry then your own being and world becomes better. So anger is many ways is useless. You may speak a harsh word or so to prevent people from doing something, but Anger should not be the primary motive for it. Actions stemming from only Anger has no use in this world.

What is important to note is that anger is a state of mind based on exaggeration of the the object , person or situation in from of you. When you get angry , you make it uncomfortable to those in front of you and those around you. And if that anger gets converted into action, then it can cause additional damage.

Hence anger should not have any place in your life as it can only lead to destruction. And the destruction is that of relationships and friendships. All the disturbances in this world come from the three destructive emotions of Lust, Hatred and Greed. It is better to avoid them.

Value of Our Life

It is important to appreciate our life. We have the power to do something good and hence carry a great responsibility. As when we are alive can we do good things. SO being distracted or trying to pursue trivial materialistic things in our life is going to be a waste of our Precious Life. It is important to use our life for the benefit of others.

Below are few things which you can reflect upon when you are thinking about your life:

  1. It is certain that I will die one day and this cannot be avoided at any cost.
  2. The time and cause of my death is no known to me
  3. The balance of Life and Death is same for everyone. Hence I don have to waste time quarreling and fighting or wasting it by accumulating money and property
  4. It is important for me to appreciate life when alive
  5. In the long run it is this realization of m being alive which will help me the most.

Being aware of the fact that life is not permanent requires lot of discipline. Discipline does not mean prohibition or running away from our pleasures of life. It means that when you are looking at long term interests, you must sacrifice short term interests of accumulation and attachments. This helps you to tame your mind and not get swayed by short term pleasures. In turn this helps us in being more peaceful, relaxed and happy. Self realization of our causes of happiness helps us lead a happy and peaceful life.

We have the potential of doing good things, but we need the freedom to do this. So being individualistic means that you do not expect anything from anyone, you dont wait for orders, but you to do things on your own initiative. So it is the responsibility individual to create their own positive future. Both freedom and individualism requires self discipline and should not get affected by afflictive emotions. If it becomes affected by such emotions then it can lead to negative consequences.

Acceptance of Death is a Simple Cure for Attachments in Life

Life Attachment

If we understand and accept the fact that we are not a permanent fixture on mother earth then we will surely lean of temporary superficial goals in our life.Our goals goes from superficial to spiritual from early on. So its better to decide from the very begining that we will die and then think what will be worthwhile to do when we are alive. This helps us in valuing our time on earth. We will look more to develop our mind through spiritual practice rather then wasting our time on distractions like Endless talking, gossiping, sports , war etc.

If we think that we will not die then we are more prone to putting of spiritual practice and wasting our time on trivial pursuits rather than making good use of our time. Pursuit of physical happiness only might not be the best use of our time. Physical comfort is just temporary absence of problems like diseases or any body discomfort ( For e.g feeling cold)

Again going overboard might not do us any good when it comes to pursuit of physical comfort and happiness. So food is needed to sustain our body. But when we eat too much food we tend to bring in a hoard of other complications like Heart disease and Obesity. So its important to have a balance so that we can achieve Happiness of mind and heart and not just of our physical well being.

Contentment in the Materialistic World

Whatever materialistic things we have accumulated in our life or are in the process of accumulating, it is important to be content. Unfortunately we are the the opposite of being contented when it comes to our materialistic accumulation in this world. The moment we achieve slight amount of progress, we are looking for more and more. That should not be case and is a mistake which lot of people fail to understand. Just because we have money, it does not mean that we have to spend more on food, clothing etc. it is important to focus on spending money on helping people with their health and education. Being compassionate when you have money is important.

You are truly rich if you be contented with regards to materialistic things. Without that even though you might be the richest person in this world, you will still be unhappy. You might crave for more and more and become rich whereas you are becoming poor spiritually. The desire for contentment will never be fulfilled and you will always be unhappy.

There is story in Buddhist texts about a king who gained control over the world and he wanted to control the lands of the gods. In the end his good qualities of being a king was eventually lost as he was never happy despite having everything in this world.

Contentment is the key to happy life, so try to be happy with what you have. In marriage sex is important, but if your marriage is only based on sex then it can lead to disaster. There has to be a balance in everything and finding the balance is important for your happiness.

If you can accept the fact everything our life is impermanent . Being aware of that then it will bring in more energy in doing better things in our life rather than looking at accumulating more materialistic things. Being aware of impermanence in our life is similar to us being aware that one day we will get old. Acceptance of the eventuality in our life will only lead us not to fall prey to destructive emotions and eventually lead us to a happy life.

When we are high under the influence of accumulation then we get happy when we get more and more, but in reality that’s not the case. So try this when our desire to get something which we already have sets in–Try to look out for all the negative things about the object we desire so much. The reason we have to do this is because once attachment sets in, its difficult to suppress our desire to have that object.

When you have an outlook of permanence in our life, our tendency to attachment and accumulation becomes more and more and reduces our tendency to be compassionate and do good for the sake of others. When we accept that all things in our life are just pages in our chapter of life, you will be amazed at the changes you will see in the way you look at things in our life. It will reduce our tendency to hold on to anything in our life. We are like tourists visiting a place with a tendency to only look at the goodness in others and the place we visit. So when we consider ourselves as tourists then we stay away from creating problems for the people or places we visit. Instead we focus on creating good memories of us and the people we meet.

So accepting death and old age as part of our life will help us immensely. By not doing so we will develop destructive emotions like greediness. Not accepting the eventuality of death and old age will make insecure like the kings and emperors of the past. Always fearing for their life, their children’s life, their kingdom and their throne.This deception leads to pain for lot of people.

The reality of impermanence helps us to understand the nature of change. Things change, situations whether good or bad also changes. This helps us in going through difficult periods in our life, for we know that the difficult times will not last for long and will change. This brings us peace in our lives.