Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Three Poisons of the Mind

Have you ever wondered why it is you are constantly in emotional or spiritual pain? Why is it you seem to suffer more than others?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks of the three poisons of the mind, which are the cause of all suffering and pain. This theory goes on to say that suffering is caused by an unenlightened mind, and that the attitude you carry has a lot to do with how you handle it. Read on to learn what they are and how they can be avoided.

1. Ignorance. Ignorance is born out of the misperception of truths, meaning that the way one perceives something is not the way it actually is. For example, the assumption that all people of a certain ethnic group behave a certain way would fit in this category. When you find yourself making assupmtions that cause you to suffer, check with others to make sure your perception is not skewed.

2. Craving. Individualism has spawned a whole generation of people who believe that satisfaction of one's desires is the true road to happiness. We crave more money, prestige, or possessions than we actually need. The antidote to this is simple living. Once your basic needs are met for food and shelter, take a look at how you are living. Do you really need that sports car or designer suit? Are you trying to fill a hole with material items? Simple living encourages us to want what we have. When cravings get out of control, greed takes over and you will never be satisfied, no matter how much you have.

3. Hatred. Born from ignorance, hatred is one of the most deadly poisons. Your perceptions are so skewed that you cannot see past your rage. By spending so much energy hating someone or something, you actually giving them power over you. Hatred doesn't do anything to the person or thing you hate, instead it eats away at your serenity and prevents you from being happy. This is one of the hardest to overcome. The best thing I have found is to pray for that person's happiness everyday, whether you mean it or not.

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