A spiritual result means not only to reduce anger, hatred, etc, those negative emotions. Here, the purpose of spiritual practice is to eradicate that completely: To have no more anger, hatred, obsession, jealousy. The result of spiritual development is an ideal society. That is very hard to build, almost impossible. That is the purpose. The way to do this is one by one, not in a public mass. A public mass may be done, but that is very difficult. That means each and every one of us has the responsibility of total eradication of hatred, obsession, etc., at least the six root negative emotions and if possible, also the 20 secondary negative emotions. The purpose is not to eradicate them from all over the world, but to eradicate them within ourselves first.
Our target is ourselves. At least if we can’t make ourselves better, but at least we want to make sure we don’t suffer, because of our own deeds and negativities. We need not only a reduction, but total eradication. That’s the purpose of spiritual practice. You can do it. Yes, you can. Why? People have done it. Buddhas have done it, bodhisattvas have done it, arhats have done it and many earlier masters both in the West and East have done it. So why not you? Why not me? What’s wrong? Nothing. We have a sound mind. That is important. If you are crazy you can’t do it. But to have a little screw loose is okay. I think we all have that anyway. But if you are mentally challenged, it deprives you of the opportunity. But most of us are not. And even if we are, we would like to say, “No, I am not mentally challenged at all.” That is again, human nature. We human beings have that addiction. We don’t want to be associated with bad things, only with good things. So we like winners. We don’t like losers. That’s simple. That’s what it is.
But the spiritual developed people will have the opposite outlook. Honestly. They like losers. You know why? Because they think, “Poor thing, he or she is a human being, a kind, good human being, just like me and just like the next door neighbor or the neighbor’s wife. So why does everybody beat that person up?” That’s how you think. That’s the effect of compassion, caring.
It could be idiot compassion too, because you feel for that person being beaten up by everybody. The person may look like the neighbor’s wife, nothing more, nothing less, nothing special or unusual – a usual, good old American housewife. I am thinking of someone like Sarah Palin, not well educated, could be a little naïve, but just a good old American wife, like the next door neighbor’s wife. What’s wrong with that? When everybody beats her up you feel, “Why is everybody beating her up?” So you feel like supporting her, right? A lot of us will do that. Again, that is also human nature.
When everybody is wearing their baseball cap to the front, then some people like to wear it the other way round to register something. That’s human nature. Human beings have that capability. They can do it. They can register the other way, as well as becoming a better person and improve themselves, become kinder, gentler, more settled, less nervous and so on. That’s all human nature. The spiritual path should do more than that. The spiritual result should eradicate all the sources of that completely.
Buddhism officially tells you that there are two purposes, temporary and permanent. The temporary purpose will be that there is no more suffering in this life and the next life. That’s because you are eradicating the negative emotions. The permanent is divided into two: big and small. That’s why they Mahayana and Hinayana comes in. The big purpose is to liberate all living beings, because all living beings are connected and that’s why need love and compassion for all living beings and you are working for total freedom for all. If that is too much, then at least take care of yourself totally. These are the spiritual purposes.
Who can do that? Of course you, nobody else. I can do that, you can do that. I am eligible to do that and you are eligible to do it, because of your physical and mental condition. You may be challenged physically, with your legs or hands or something, that doesn’t matter, as long as your head is not completely smashed. If that happens your mind cannot function. As long as the mind can function it is okay. So we can do it. There are several reasons. One is that people have already done it. There are examples. The second reason is that the ways and means how to achieve that are available. The third reason is that you see that other people now are achieving it right and left and in front and at your back. So why not you? That’s the purpose of spiritual practice. That’s what I wanted to emphasize. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of real, true spirituality. Spiritual results are not physical, they are totally mental. Mentally, whether you have improved or not, there are signs.
~ Gelek Rimpoche, Jewel Heart Ann Arbor, March 18, 2012