The Brahmin Student – from Jataka Tale #12

Among the mental faculties as part of your mind, there are two roots for virtuous minds. These are in Tibetan ngo tsa she pa and trel yö pa. [The first] means your ability to feel embarrassed to do non-virtuous deeds by yourself. You are feeling hesitant to do it, not by the reason of others observing your deeds, but by knowing that it is wrong, thinking, “I should not do it, whether someone else is watching or not.” That is called ngo tsa she pa. Then trel yö pa is very similar. Both are your mind that feels a little uncomfortable to do bad things. But this second one has different reasons. This is thinking, “It is not the right thing to do and I feel ashamed in front of my teachers, my parents” – and if you have any practice of buddhas and bodhisattva, right – because of that. If you are not that much into Buddhism or you have other kinds of deities or gods in your life you feel ashamed to do bad things [in front of them]. Sometimes it is hard work saying that, but you feel hesitant to do negative actions, by thinking, “God is watching me” or “If I do it, it’s not the right thing.” It’s hard to explain, but you think, “If I do it, it creates a bad reputation for my family”, all these kinds of things.

These two things are our mind’s features. We already have them. They may be in strong shape or sometimes we may have very tiny ones, but we have them. These two things, especially the first one, when you attempt any kind of non-virtuous action you are feeling sort of uncomfortable, even though nobody is with you or is watching you. You feel sort of embarrassed. That is a good feeling, it is something that we need.

Demo Rinpoche – Jataka Tales – February 21, 2021

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