May 14 : The Elephant of Ignorance

Not tamed by the sharp hooks of mindfulness and vigilance, dulled by the maddening liquor of sensual pleasures, it enters the wrong paths and shows its harmful tusks: the elephant of ignorance — please protect us from this danger!

Ignorance is what keeps us attached to cyclic existence. It wants, it gets angry, and it is not satisfied. Think of a very large elephant that is mad and has no control over itself. Put that elephant into a crowd and watch it rage around. This is what our mind is like when it is out of control. Can you see how others can be hurt?

When our mind is out of control, it gets us into all kinds of trouble. We do not focus on what can give us pleasure in the long-run, but focus only on the intoxicants of this life and the here and now. This can lead us to undertake unethical actions to get this fleeting pleasure, which includes harming others. It leads us away from the path to awakening.

If we use mindfulness and vigilance we can protect ourselves and others from this unruly, obnoxious, huge beast. We can tame and harness this energy to help us proceed along the path. We must keep reminding ourselves of what is important by using mindfulness. We use vigilance to constantly check to see where our mind is and if it is going in the right direction.

“365 Gems of Wisdom” e-book is out now!