Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The need for correct discernment

The need for correct discernment

A series of talks on the many aspects of of our lives that we may have fear towards—death, identity, the future, health, the economy, loss, separation, and more; touching also on the wisdom of fear and the different antidotes to ease our fears.

  • We need to have a clear understanding of what is dangerous and what is not
  • When we’re in a fearful situation we should be able to drop the fear so that we can act in a beneficial way

Fear 12: The need for correct discernment (download)

Okay so, I was thinking about fear again, in a couple of instances, today and how much we need correct discernment, you know, kind of a clear understanding of a situation, so that we can decide what is dangerous and what is not dangerous and then prepare and act accordingly. So, I was thinking of it when I was walking over here and I was seeing the turkeys, because yesterday I had some extra rice and I wanted to give the rice to the turkeys and they were afraid of me and ran the other way. So, I was thinking that’s an example of somebody’s trying to help you but you become afraid of them. Why? Because you haven’t correctly understood the situation and what was going on. So there’s all kinds of undue fear there and you miss out on some rice. And we may miss out on a lot more important things than rice because we don’t understand situations correctly.

Then I was also thinking of another case of fear. About going up on the roof and clearing the snow off, because I was watching some of our dear residents do that, and I think we should all really express our gratitude to them for shoveling the snow off the roofs and getting on those places. And I wasn’t volunteering to do that! Because I had some fear, and I think in my case maybe there is some justification to the fear. First of all because I don’t have a great sense of balance, second of all because I’m the klutz; and so I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to go on the roof. So I think that fear might have some wisdom in it, like merging on the highway, you know? Now of course, if somebody were to shove me up on the roof where I had no choice but to get the ice down, then at that point then to stay in the fear, even if the fear was a reasonable fear to not get up there to start with. Once you’re in that situation, then you have to drop the fear and do the best you can, okay? But don’t try and get me up there please! But, you know, but if that were the situation and you’re in a fearful situation then you have no choice, if you want to act in a way that’s to benefit yourself, but to drop the fear; because at that point to hold onto the fear is of absolutely no use. Okay?

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.