The spear of mindfulness ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Alas for people in this age of residues!

The mind’s wholesome core of truth has withered, and people live deceitfully,
So their thoughts are warped, their speech is twisted,
They cunningly mislead others—who can trust them?

In the golden age, the age of perfection, there was no need for sunlight or moonlight, for beings radiated light from their own bodies. They could move miraculously through space, and they lived without needing any solid food.

All creatures naturally abided by the ten virtues. But, as time passed, they began to harm each other, to be ruled by their desires, to steal, and to lie. They lost their natural radiance and had to depend on sun and moon for light; they lost their ability to fly; they began to need solid nourishment, and when eventually the spontaneous harvest and the bountiful cow disappeared, they had to toil to produce their food.

Now in our present epoch, all that remains of the qualities of the golden age are residues, like the unappealing left-over scraps of a sumptuous feast. Anyone with eyes of wisdom seeing the miserable condition of people in this decadent age cannot help but feel great compassion.

In this age of conflict people are ill intentioned and full of deceit. They put themselves first and disregard the needs of others. Whoever flatters them they regard as a friend; whoever contradicts or opposes them they see as an enemy.

As these attitudes gradually distort all their actions, words, and thoughts, people become more and more warped and twisted, like crooked old trees, until finally their mentality degenerates so far that any notion of right and wrong is completely lost.

We are in an age when anger, craving, ambition, stupidity, pride, and jealousy are the rule of the day. It is an age when the sun of Dharma is already sinking behind the shoulders of the western mountains, when most of the great teachers have left for other realms, when practitioners go astray in their meditation, and when neither lay people nor the ordained act according to the Dharma.

People may obtain some transient advantage from the misguided values of these times, but ultimately they are cheating no one but themselves.

The poisonous emotions that saturate people’s minds in this dark era are the principal cause of their wandering in the endless cycle of saṃsāra. To deal with those emotions we need to keep a constant vigilance, following the example of the Kadampa masters, who used to say:

I will hold the spear of mindfulness at the gate of the mind,
And when the emotions threaten,
I, too, will threaten them;
When they relax their grip, only then will I relax mine.


Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

from the book The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones


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