I haven’t been able to return to my former job as a baker. It isn’t all bad though, because the lack of being assigned to the jobs I requested provided me with more than ample time for the retreat, without many distractions. The retreat went very well. I benefited from both the retreat and the transcriptions of the question-and-answer sessions.
I spent much of my time during retreat meditating on compassion, specifically reviewing the bodhisattva vows. Among the 26 auxiliary transgressions, I was concerned with “following thoughts of desire,” “being interested in distractions,” and “not overcoming obstacles to meditative concentration.”
I meditated on the root delusions of pride and attachment, attempting to understand their origin in my life and how they have acted to corrupt and poison me. I have likewise meditated on how to subdue these two horrific delusions, using the teachings I have obtained from the Lamrim and from you. I won’t be so bold as to say I have completely understood how these delusions have afflicted me throughout my life or that I have conquered them. I do, however, have a much firmer grasp of them and am applying relevant antidotes. Let’s just say it is a work in progress.
Of course all of this stems from the need to purify negative karma during the Vajrasattva retreat, and it became apparent: the deeper I search for things to need to purify, I have a tremendous amount of negative actions to my credit, in just this lifetime, that I can recall. How I will ever be able to accomplish purifying all the negativities in my life, I’m not quite sure yet. And that doesn’t take into account the negative karma I have accumulated in past lives.
I am not discouraged by this. In fact, it is an incentive for me to work that much harder during my studies and practice. It’s probably a very good thing that we have many future rebirths to look forward to in order to continue our practice of the Dharma and to purify the negativity of so many past lives. I certainly do not relish the prospect of a birth in any of the lower realms, especially the hell realms!
So the retreat was very good for me, very effective. It served to help me focus on some of the main problem areas in my life and I am making progress on eliminating these things from my life. This I must credit to your skillful teachings and the determination you have shown to help me.
The more that I learn and practice the Dharma, the more I realize its validity and the more I am amazed by the things that apply to so many areas of my life—in fact to every aspect of life.