March 12 : The Better Motivation
Are we meditating with the thought of gaining happiness in this life, for status, prestige, or having a good story to tell all our friends? That is basically the motivation that most people operate on.
The first level of actual Dharma motivation is when we are seeking a good rebirth. There may be a little bit of seeking happiness in this life, but our motivation is primarily a good rebirth. That is the differentiating line between a worldly activity occupied with the eight worldly concerns and a Dharma activity that looks beyond the happiness of this life. Even if we get a good rebirth, we are still stuck within cyclic existence, getting born again and again according to our karma. If we want to get out of the entire mess, we need the motivation to seek liberation or nirvana. To stop the rebirth that is caused by ignorance and polluted karma is the next level of good motivation.
The best motivation is to go beyond liberation, to get rid of the whole selfish way of thinking about just my liberation: “I want to get out of cyclic existence because I am fed up. We are all on our own here, so good luck everybody. Ciao.” The best motivation is not having an attitude where we are dismissing the situation and the plights of other living beings. They have been kind to us, and they are exactly like us. So, try to do your best every day to generate the motivation of seeking full awakening so we can be of the greatest benefit to sentient beings. I really encourage people first thing in the morning to think, “Today I’m not going to harm anybody. I’m going to benefit others as much as I can, and I want to attain full awakening as my long-term goal so that I can be of greatest benefit to living beings.” We may have a stronger feeling for one of the lower motivations, but we can always remind ourselves, “That’s okay, but it’s insufficient.”
Whatever motivation we keep in our minds will determine whether the actions we do are going to help or hinder us as we travel the path to awakening. The better we can keep this in mind, the better the outcome.
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