Recognizing The Delusions

The first question in improving is: how and what? For that we come to what I call delusions. With this word I am basically referring to anger, attachment, hatred, fear, laziness, a wandering mind (i.e. inability to concentrate or think), and ignorance. These are the sorts of categories that I refer to as delusions.

What makes an individual behave badly? Those delusions, right? You don’t want to be an angry person; anger doesn’t do any good at all. Laziness doesn’t make you good either, and so forth with each one of them. So there is room for us to improve those delusions.
How are we going to improve them? We have to recognize them. Individually each one of us really has to recognize them. I am talking totally about each individual. Don’t think about it in general, think about you, the individual. It is so important to recognize our own delusions, our anger, our hatred, our jealousy, our ignorance etc. It is difficult, too, but this is the very important first step: recognize.
Actually, we all know that, but we like to show off a little bit. We have to remind ourselves that we have these problems. We do recognize anger, we do recognize jealousy, we do recognize all of them, but we do not recognize – each one of you, point the finger on yourself – my anger, we do not recognize my jealousy, we do not recognize my ignorance. Why? Because we like to deny it. I like to deny that I am angry. I like to deny that I am jealous. If I keep on denying, then how can I recognize them?
It is important to bring yourself to such a state of mind that you can really see your own faults. I don’t think we have to see our good qualities, we will always see them; not only do we see them, we will exaggerate them a little bit. We are good at blowing our own trumpet. But it is difficult to see our own faults, so we have to bring our mental state to a level where we at least are able to acknowledge our own problems, and then try to handle them from there.

As a matter of fact, our problems are quite big. Our anger is quite strong, our delusions are quite powerful, we are almost experts. If you like to accept it, we are expert on anger, jealousy, attachment. We are! Actually we are at the peak stage of that development. To improve means to decrease this anger and try to go the other way round. That is what it is.

Our anger, hatred, jealousy, and all of them are continuously reinforced by our habitual way of functioning. We don’t have to learn to act according to anger. We know exactly what to do, without putting any effort in. If we are told ‘Boo,’ we are quick to use the f-word, right? We don’t have to think about it, we straightway say it. That is our habit. If somebody is saying something bad to us, we don’t have to go to the therapist and ask, ‘How do I get angry?’ We do it automatically. That means our habits automatically reinforce the negative things that we have. That is why I said, ‘We are expert on those.’

But if we have to not get angry, then we have to meditate, we have to go to the counselor to learn how not to get angry, how not to react in that way. We need to learn that.

Buddha’s way is going against all our usual habits. If somebody tells you, ‘Boo,’ you have to learn how to sit there and not just artificially smile, but really truly laugh, not get bothered. A lot of people can easily pretend not to be bothered by anger. You may get very angry, but you sort of just sit there and show no reaction at all. That is artificial. But what Buddha really encourages is really not to let those things attack you. That is something which you have to learn and can learn. I mean, you can learn practically how to do it.

~ Gelek Rimpoche, Transforming Negativities, 2004, p.10

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