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Getting back on track

Getting back on track

Shaggy dog looking into the distance with fall trees in background
When we're in a hell realm, it's often because of self-centeredness.

I’ve been in my personal hell realm for the last week. As always it is because of self-centeredness. During this time I stopped my practice and it really brought my mind to turmoil and turned it into a big mud puddle.

I had been feeling monotony in my meditation, and I now understand that that is a sign that I am focusing on my selfishness and not on my compassion for others. I need to remember at those times of monotony that my practice is for the well-being of others more so than for my non-existent self that always wants to be center stage.

Thankfully I was able to break through all of that madness and get back on track with my practice. I have noticed, though, that after stopping my meditation, now when I have started it back up again, there is resistance in my mind—some sort of negativity that I’m having to deal with because my mind’s focusing ability became dulled.

I’m not starting from square one, but I feel like I took a couple steps back for sure. I don’t like that fact at all, and I’m going to remember this and use it as positive reinforcement the next time I come up against this problem.

I do include purification in my practice, but have not done it daily. I had only been doing purification if I directly transgressed a precept. Until you mentioned doing it daily, I really had not thought it necessary. But after thinking about it, there are thoughts and deeds that, although minor, still need to be purified.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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