TEXT: The purpose of my practice is to be a pure container wherein the common passions mature as higher wisdom
  1. Wisdom is not the elimination of the passions, but their development to a higher level
  2. Wisdom, in Buddhism, is prajna, which means to see through ordinary appearance, not to be taken in by rupa. It is a manner of seeing below and beyond surface appearance.
  3. The way to be a pure container is to have faith, to take refuge
  4. When one truly takes refuge in Buddha and his Dharma one becomes a pure container and the passions are then able to develop in the right way
  5. This means to stop taking refuge in self, self-centredness, conceit and so on.  Practically speaking self is largely made up of the story we are telling about ourselves and the tricks we have developed for gathering the comments we like and diverting the ones we don’t. It is a form of manipulation.
  6. However, it is extremely difficult to stop doing something merely by restraint. In order to stop doing something one needs a positive attraction to something incompatible.
  7. This is why we talk about an easy path and a difficult path. The difficult path is the path of analysis and restraint. The easy path is that of receiving grace and giving devotion.
  8. However, it is not that we can learn nothing from the difficult path, just we have to be realistic about human nature and our own limitations.
  9. The difficult path is, as Honen says, all true and fine, it is just that nobody can actually do it to the degree needed except perhaps a very few highly gifted people who dedicate their lives to a totally renunciant lifestyle. Even in such a lifestyle, most fail to reach such a goal. 
  10. People like Honen and Shan Tao did live exemplary lives in many ways, but they put their main emphasis upon faith and devotion.
  11. We see from this the interesting paradox that it appears to be the case that faith and devotion not only constitute a direct sudden path, but also make it more easy to follow the kind of life prescribed by the difficult path as well. It makes the difficult path easier.
  12. Modern people tend to have little faith and not have a feel for devotion and so self-power methods have become popular, but it is unlikely that they will yield much beyond a kind of mental keep fit.
  13. So, the practice of devotion is the best path for ordinary people. It creates the conditions in which we mature inwardly and find peace and ease.

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