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Lojong 8) 3 Objects, 3 Poisons, 3 Roots of Virtue

2. Formal Practice (2 - 10)

8) There are three opportunities presented by the objects of attachment, objects of hostility, and objects of ignorance.  Each of these three can set the occasion for virtuous action.

The Lojong sayings are often stated in a "catchy phrase" that facilitates remembering the meaning.  (My memory for words separate from meaning is very poor, so I generally do better just understanding the meaning behind a saying.)  We are often reminded in the sayings, that adversity presents an opportunity to wake up. 

This saying points out three things that can be significant barriers to enlightenment, can also be used as an opportunity to become aware.  Attachments are the major source of suffering.  The Four Noble truths recognize the primacy of attachments as a cause of suffering.  As soon as we become aware of attachment, we are given an opportunity to release from it so we turn to a path that leads to less suffering (in the shorthand of this saying, this is labeled as a virtue.)

Hostility is also a very significant barrier to peace of mind and enlightenment because it is the opposit of compassion.  Insight leads to compassion.  A frequent misunderstanding of the core teaching of detachment occurs when the listener does not see the connection to compassion.  Detachment without compassion is just another way to be selfish (overly attached to self).

Ignorance is the antithesis of awareness and insight.  Most of us reading this would object to the general label of being ignorant, because of the great effort we put into study and meditation.  Yet there are moments when each of us will be blind to our motivations, unaware of our unkindness, not see the effects of our actions, and miss the connections between our actions and the results of our actions (karma).  As soon as we wake up, there is an opportunity for increased awareness and insight in which ignorance can be transformed into actions on the path of relief of suffering for ourselves and others (bodhichitta).

Objects of attachment, hostility, and ignorance (which result in corresponding poisons to the path of enlightenment) can set the occassion for transformation into right actions.

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