Welcome to Mangala Shri Bhuti’s Dharma Blog

Welcome to Mangala Shri Bhuti’s Dharma Blog, where we explore the dharma, which we have been fortunate to come into contact with. In a word, what is “dharma”? We can say it is the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni. We can also say dharma represents certain truths or “the facts of life”. But most essentially, we’ve found that dharma comes to mean an awakening of our own active intelligence about the causes of suffering and happiness. This process is ignited by the teachings we hear and catalyzed further by our contemplation and practice. Join us in appreciating and deepening our understanding of dharma through these excerpts by Mangala Shri Bhuti’s teachers and senior students.

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It seems that, week after week, we pretty much feel the same, even though so many things happen in a week. And this feeling of sameness is closely connected to the feeling of being stuck.

So let’s discuss this tendency of how we often feel stuck, and examine what are the causes and conditions of feeling stuck in one's mind.

We don't get stuck anywhere else other than in our mind—I think that is very important to know. So the first, and most important thing to know is that we are only stuck in our mind.

It often seems that we are stuck in our life and the circumstances or the causes and conditions, and unless the outer circumstances change, we feel we are not going to be liberated from feeling stuck. But that's a very old story, the old excuses we use much of the time in our life. Just saying “I just need this thing put in place, or that thing put in place, and then I'll be able to move forward.

I'm not saying that they are not true feelings, but it's all subjective. Interestingly when we are in this state of mind , we are perhaps not yet ready to move forward. Somehow in our subconscious mind, we want to somehow not let go of old attachments. And what is it we are attached to?

We are often attached to familiar situations, familiar sense of feelings, familiar sense of environment. Even though our environment or feelings, or the situation is not necessarily that great—but just by the fact that it is familiar, just by the fact that we have adapted to the situation, the feelings, the environment, we feel attached to it. It is at least familiar.

We get attached to it because we don't have to work with our mind. There is already a mechanism in the mind put in place for us, we automatically know how to respond to the familiar environment, or the feelings, or the situation that we are in.

Now, when we look closely, then we see very clearly how much we rely on just the automatic functions of our mind to really take care of our lives. Rather than being determined to work with one's mind from the sense of having some strong will to work with one's life and the situations, and the different feelings, and the emotions that comes up.

Now, when we look in that way very closely again, then we realize how much we would like to be rather more like computer than a human being. How much we would actually rather be like an animal or a robot, rather than a human being. In the case of a robot—just automatically by how it's programmed—it will function in that way. Similarly, with animals, as their natural instinct guides them, the animal will naturally go in that direction without any other discernment.

But as human beings endowed with intelligence, we should definitely make our destiny more in accordance with that intelligence, and the inherent wisdom that  comes with our human mental faculty, instead of relying on our automatic programs or animal instinct.

Because of the previous karmic seeds of the animal realm, or having been previously born in the animal realms,  the karmic seeds that are in the alaya to be born again in the animal realm—we often seem to not use our brain, or exercise our mental faculty, to really reflect clearly on what is our potential. And if we don't reflect on what our potential is, we will never become clear. As a result of that, we will just be stuck in our karmic situations. Whatever the karma unfolds for us, we will be stuck in that and there will be no sense of movement or going forward in one's life with a sense of will or sense of determination as a result of using our mental faculties. There will be no sense of cultivating intelligence or wisdom which is always available to be cultivated.

So this feeling of being stuck is actually caused by nothing more than just not wanting to let go of our attachment to the familiar. This is the biggest obstacle of all, so we must really look at our attachments and examine how we have created a cocoon for ourselves in various ways.

 

Continued with Part 2: Examining the Cocoon

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