tuning the motivation

It is important to really check our motivation. Hopefully the motivation is triggered with wish to receive this teachings that one will reach enlightenment. I say this hopefully because most of the time when we practice, when we hear the teachings, or when we are practicing the Dharma, most of the time we don’t do it for enlightenment. Enlightenment is almost like a – if it happens, that’s good. But if it doesn’t happen it is also okay. Most of time we go to temples, we go to teachings, because we like to live happily. We want to make the life easier, happier. Isn’t it? Specially, this is the Asian weakness I think. We chant mantras for long life. Long life is not enlightenment. Long life is long life. We don’t know by having long life we are going to have a better life. We receive teachings so that one will be successful in whatever we are doing. Being successful is not necessary enlightenment. This is why I am stressing, what kind of motivation do you have. Do I have. Do we all have. Ideally, so called long life, success, good health, good marriage, good relationship, all this should be what we call side bonus. What the bodhisattvas, for the practitioners like us, this should be the bonus. Enlightenment should be the real goal, the ultimate goal. That should be our goal. And I am stressing this, because if our aim is wrong, right, if our ultimate aim – I am talking about two kinds of aims – ultimate goal or the aim, and relative bonus, temporary bonus, relative goal. If we have the right aim, specially the ultimate aim, then even something falls apart in our day to day life, the trust to the triple gem, the trust to the guru, trust to the path will always be there. Otherwise, in the course of my being Buddhist all this time I have seen so many people coming to the Buddhadharma, hoping so that their samsaric activity will be successful. That is their ultimate aim. Coming with that kind of motivation. And then of course our life so many things go wrong. That is the nature of life. Okay, today we are happy but who knows what happens tomorrow. A tomato stucks in your throat while you are enjoying a nice food of some of this wonderful hawker centers. And then that will be it. Your life has reached to the end. All because of a stupid tomato. And this could happen. Life is totally fragile. This is something that we have, that we so dearly clutch and grasp to. And that is our life and certainly life is the most fragile. And everything is, specially now, so fast, so fragile. And I have seen people with this kind of motivation, they come to the Dharma, practice the Dharma, and then of course something goes wrong and then they loose trust to the triple gem. “Oh, you know, Buddha is not helping us.” See the approach to the Buddha is very theistic, like any religion. Like Christian, or Hindu – maybe not Hindu – but Muslims. If you have that kind of attitude or motivation then your action what you are applying and your view is contradicting. So this is why I ask to really analyze why we are here. It is good to analyze like that. Even if it is intellectually.

The Three Levels of Perception, Singapore 2003