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Ignorance, doubt, and afflictive views

Ignorance, doubt, and afflictive views

The text turns to training the mind on the stages of the path shared with intermediate level practitioners. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

  • The cause for unsatisfactory experiences are the afflictions, not the external world
  • The root afflictions continued
  • Ignorance: the mind that misapprehends how persons and things exist
  • Afflictive doubt: indecisive wavering inclined toward the wrong conclusion
  • Outline of the five afflictive views

Gomchen Lamrim 47: Ignorance, doubt, and afflictive views (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Ignorance: What are some of the different types of ignorance that Venerable Chodron described? Consider the ignorance of conventional phenomena. Consider the ignorance of ultimate phenomena. Think of how ignorance operates in your life (via these 2 forms). Give specific examples. How does ignorance harm yourself and others?
  2. Afflictive doubt: Consider that afflictive doubt (doubt that leads to the wrong conclusion regarding spiritual matters) is like a two-pointed needle. Consider how it immobilizes us, preventing us from making decisions. Think of how it operates in your life. What doubts do you find arising in your mind regarding spiritual matters (give specific examples)? How do these afflictive doubts harm yourself and others?
  3. Afflictive views: There are five forms of afflicted views. This week, we talked about the first, the view of a personal identity or “jigta.” Because of it, we grasp to an inherently existent “I” and “mine.” Venerable Chodron said that the reason this view is so pernicious is that once we have this view of a real me, we see the entire world in terms of me (what benefits me? what harms me?) and thus begins our conflict with other beings and the world. We feel there is a real “I” that has to be protected, must have happiness. This becomes the purpose of our life and through that we create a ton of negative actions. Think of how this form of afflictive views operates in your life. How do it harm yourself and others?
  4. Seeing how these afflictions operate in your life, leading you to create negativities and the conditions under which you experience dukkha, resolve to watch for them in your life and apply the antidotes throughout the week.
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.