May 17 : The Thieves of Wrong Views

Roaming the fearful wilds of inferior practice and the barren wastes of absolutism and nihilism, they sack the towns and hermitages of benefit and bliss: the thieves of wrong views — please protect us from this danger!

The danger of wrong views of the mind is that they prevent you from seeing the proper path to awakening. They steal your attention just like a thief does. If this happens we are left in a very poor position to find the happiness and peace of nirvana. In fact, wrong views will take us in the opposite direction that we want to go. Spiritual poverty is more dangerous than material poverty, for it affects not just the happiness of this life but the happiness of many future lives as well.

Our biggest obstacle is ignorance. In order to overcome it, we need to follow the middle way. If we have wrong views, the path we follow could lead to absolutism, seeing things as inherently existent, or nihilism, believing that nothing exists at all. These views destroy our respect for ethical living and make us reckless in practising constructive actions and abandoning harmful ones. It destroys the wisdom and merit that we have already collected and prevents us from collecting more.

This is where study comes in. Finding the appropriate teacher and the correct path is the only way to keep these thieves from leading us in the wrong direction. We need to study the teachings carefully with an open mind to understand them and apply them to situations around us in an unbiased way.

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