Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Eighty-four thousand afflictions

28 Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature, the third volume in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • Review of fetters
  • Description of full entanglements
  • Overview of five hindrances
  • Sensual desire, malice, lethargy and sleepiness
  • Restlessness and remorse, doubt
  • Understanding nature of afflictions and recognizing they can be eliminated
  • Examining how fear, insecurity and anxiety arise and operate
  • Distorted conceptions influencing our thoughts and emotions
  • Recognizing our emotions influence our actions

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 28: Eighty-Four Thousand Afflictions (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Consider the five hindrances (sensual desire, malice, lethargy and sleepiness, restlessness and regret, and deluded doubt). How do each of these prevent the cultivation of concentration? Make personal examples of how these sabotage your own spiritual aspirations.
  2. In the introduction of the section on afflictions, the text presents two questions.“What motivates me to act in ways that harm myself and others? What keeps me and others bound in cycling existence?” Take some time with each of these questions, answering them from your personal experience.
  3. Consider the anxiety, depression and fear you have experienced in your life. How have these created problems in your life and impeded your ability to create the causes for happiness now and in the future? Think of a time one of these was very strong in your mind. Identify some of the thoughts that arose upon which you label that particular affliction. Imagine working with this situation now with a little wisdom and apply antidotes. What might you say to your afflicted mind?
  4. Worry and anxiety are very common in our society. How do you counteract these when they arise? How can you prevent them from arising?
  5. When afflictions arise in your mind, name them and observe how they function. See which of the root afflictions they are most closely related to. Which are fetters or hindrances? Identify the distorted conceptions that lie behind that emotion. Observe the other afflictions that arise either before or after it. Question whether these afflictive emotions serve to promote your own and others’ well-being. Think of which Dharma teachings you could contemplate that would help counteract these afflictive emotions.
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.