Gautama felt as though a prison which had confined him for thousands of lifetimes had broken open. Ignorance had been the jailkeeper. Because of ignorance, his mind had been obscured, just like the moon and stars hidden by the storm clouds. Clouded by endless waves of deluded thoughts, the mind had falsely divided reality into subject and object, self and others, existence and non-existence, birth and death, and from these discriminations arose wrong views—the prisons of feelings, craving, grasping, and becoming. The suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death only made the prison walls thicker. The only thing to do was to seize the jailkeeper and see his true face. The jailkeeper was ignorance. And the means to overcome ignorance were the Noble Eightfold Path. Once the jailkeeper was gone, the jail would disappear and never be rebuilt again.
The hermit Gautama smiled, and whispered to himself, “O jailer, I see you now. How many lifetimes have you confined me in the prisons of birth and death? But now I see your face clearly, and from now on you can build no more prisons around me, you shall build no house (for me) again. How can you? I have destroyed the very materials by which you build it. All your rafters are broken, your roof-tree is destroyed. My mind has reached the unconditioned (i.e., Nibbana); the end of craving (Arahatta Phala) has been attained. And I am eternally awake.
– Dharmacakrapravartana Sūtra
When struck by the desire arrow, all of our common sense, sobriety, and sanity go out the window while false dignity, decadence, and immorality trickle in. Poisoned, we stop at nothing to get what we want. Someone struck with passion might even find a streetwalking hippopotamus sexy, even as a beautiful girl loyally waits for him at home. Like moths to the flame and fish to baited hooks, many on this earth have been ensnared by their desire for food, fame, praise, money, beauty, and respect.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”
“When we stop feeding our cravings, says Thich Nhat Hanh, we discover that we already have everything we need to be happy. “
“The human mind is always searching for possessions and never feels fulfilled. This causes impure actions ever to increase. Bodhisattvas, however, always remember the principle of having few desires. They live a simple life in peace in order to practice the Way and consider the realization of perfect understanding as their only career.”
—The Sutra on the Eight Realizations of the Great Beings
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
– Hsin Hsin Ming, Seng Ts’an
In ordinary life, we are under the power of disturbing emotions such as self-importance, anger, and desire. We have no control over these emotions, so they torment us and we suffer. We are their slaves, which is unpleasant. The purpose of the Dharma is to reverse that situation and to help us master the disturbing emotions – self-cherishing, pride, desire, anger and hatred – that enslave us. Being a master is much better than being a slave. Do not lose sight of this essential point: The aim of the Dharma is to get rid of disturbing emotions, and this is the only way to attain true happiness.
~ Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche