Counterforces to the afflictions

32 Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

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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.

  • Factors preventing us from noticing our thoughts and emotions
  • Tips for identifying our thoughts and afflictions
  • Differentiating constructive or neutral thoughts from afflictions
  • Near enemies of virtuous mental states
  • Contemplating the disadvantages of afflictions
  • Identifying and subduing the most problematic affliction
  • Wisdom realizing emptiness as the ultimate antidote for afflictions
  • Learning and applying specific antidotes for each affliction

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 32: Counterforces to the Afflictions (download)

32 Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature: Counterforces to the Afflictions 08-13-21

Contemplation points

  1. What influences your ability to practice mindfulness and introspective awareness? Do you tend to get distracted by sense objects? Did your upbringing teach you to notice and label your thoughts and feelings?
  2. Investigate your introspective awareness. After you drive to work or walk your dog, recall… what thoughts did you have?
  3. Why is ignorance grasping at inherent existence a problem? Take some time contemplating this from your own experience.
  4. Is there a counterforce to this grasping? What is that counterforce?
  5. Being able to identify and label afflictions is key to working with and overcoming them. Make some examples from your own experience of how afflictions operate in your mind. What part does fear play in attachment and anger? What is the difference between having anger at a person and disagreeing with an action? Really spend some time breaking down the different facets of mental states you hold at any given time and identify the affliction present.
  6. What are the disadvantages of anger, attachment, jealousy, discouragement, etc? Go through the list of antidotes of the afflictions page 114-115 to get familiar with them. Why is considering the disadvantages of each affliction integral to applying its counterforce?
  7. Why is it best to choose the affliction that causes you the most problem when working to subdue your afflictions? Identify your strongest afflictions and identify the antidote. Contemplate why the antidote helps you subdue and eliminate your affliction.

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