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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Passion's Problematic Tyranny - 5oct22

When we turn to the 14th verse of the Dhammapada and read: “Just as the rain does NOT break through a well thatched house, even so passion never penetrates a well-developed mind.” We cannot help but wonder of the author’s intent.

Before the evolution of the mammalian mind with its drives of empathy and cooperation their was the, so called, reptilian brain whose only drives were for reproduction, and all that supports its pursuit, such as water, food, and shelter. As mammals this caprice of evolution causes us to live in conflict between these two sets of drives, and their own unique definitions of fulfillment.

There are those who are controlling, rigid, and elitist; who delight in using the mere presence of a contemplative’s primal drives as if it was an indictment disproving their spiritual mastery. However the first, of seven, enlightenment factors is mindfulness; thus dispelling the myth that a Buddha perceives no passion.

What is the seventh enlightenment factor? Is it not the balance between perceiving an impulse and being its slave? Similarly just as rain touches the well-thatched roof without penetrating it so too our mind perceives its primal impulses without obeying their commands. Feeling angry, yet uttering no cruel words, feeling desire, yet neither taking nor betraying.

Such mastery comes not from the neurosis inducing strategies of rigidity and fear, but rather from mastering the seven enlightenment factors that we, too, could meditate like a Jedi.

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