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Architect of one's life - #1

We all agree that we would like to end suffering. Each person has weaknesses and faults unique to his/her own set of circumstances. However, there is something good inherent in all of us; we all possess the nature of Buddha mind. We need to remove the veils so that our true Buddha nature may reveal itself. The reality we experience inevitably generates suffering. We need to be aware and gain understanding of our situation. We will then be able to apply the appropriate remedy for our maladies. First, we need to be aware of how and who we really are. Only then can we be successful in finding a way to recognize our true nature that is neither superficial, nor emotional. We should therefore put into practice the following:

Recognize our own situation, Modify our ways to lessen the suffering, and Purify our minds thereby increasing our awareness of the true nature of mind.

Whether we are on a spiritual path or not we still have to live our lives. Though the situations on the outside may remain the same, we can start to change our reactions to them. Because our minds are now very much under the force of habit, any attempt to change the familiar tracks quickly will likely fail. Change can only come about slowly, little by little. We must work on modifying our habits now and gradually our perception of things will change. Big changes hardly ever take place. Only little changes may occur from day to day, which often go unnoticed. Patience and perseverance are therefore important if we are to succeed.

Our minds are unclear at the moment. We develop stress and frustration invariably as we carry on everyday. We should try to minimize the stress in every aspect of our life. We are all different individuals so the results of our practice will be different for each of us.

Our goal is Enlightenment, awakened mind, or Bodhicitta.1 If we look at the achievement of near perfect Bodhicitta on the level of the great Bodhisattvas, it might seem almost unattainable, too far removed from our present situation. Hopelessness might set in. Nevertheless, we have to start by taking the first step now.

Bodhicitta is the complete opening towards what is not oneself. We have to accept that things are not the way we want them to be. Acceptance will naturally reduce stress and enhance greater understanding. This will in turn give way to a clearer mind which will facilitate deeper insight into mind. And so the process continues.

In the Bodhicitta of application we should adopt equanimity. At the moment, we are constantly developing hope and fear whereby our actions are tainted. We are afraid of failure on the one hand, and on the other, we have desires:

"The success is mine."
"The goal is mine."
"I have failed."

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