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Lojong 17) All dharma has a single goal. (All lessons are designed to subdue ego clinging)

5. Yardsticks (17 - 20)

 

There are several related slogans, which have a lesson similar to Lojong 17.  These are:  12) Drive all blames into one (Suffering has no other cause than ego clinging), and to a lesser extent: 37) Do everything with one intention (Transform everything, even obligations into spiritual practice with “bodhichitta” intention), and 38) One method will correct all wrong (Awareness / mindfulness).

 

The following is based on the Practical Dharma, which is similar to Stephen Bachelor’s, Buddhism Without Beliefs.  If you already know you find this philosophy unappealing, please do not stress yourself by reading further.  If you are open to consider Philosophical Buddhism, your discussion is invited.

 

The key component of this slogan is to subdue “ego clinging”; there is no real profit in attempting to subdue ego.  [One might reasonably attempt to gain awareness of ego.]  The benefit is to subdue clinging in all forms.  Clinging is manifested through and by the ego.  It is only the ego that clings to things.  If “I” become aware of the nature of what we call the ego or self, it will become clear there is no permanent object that is “I”.  The thing perceived as the ego is merely this momentary sensation, which often deceptively feels like an enduring and substantial thing.  Then to add to our misunderstanding of what will bring peace, we often see things we want, thinking these will bring happiness.  These things can take many forms; such as the typical possessions that we can usually see are not really sources of happiness.  But the things we cling to can also take the form of ideas or beliefs, such as an enduring and everlasting soul or only a little more sophisticated, the belief that part of “me” can exist again through reincarnation. 

 

It is often assumed that after many cycles of lives, if “I” have reached sufficient enlightenment, then “I” will be in perfect peace and able to leave the cycle of rebirth to enter a nirvana of emptiness at the end of this life.  If ego clinging can be subdued in this life, it will bring peace to the practitioner.   However, whether “you” understand “all is empty” or not; you will receive the great gift of nirvana at the end of this life.  In addition, your life here will be much more peaceful and enlightened, if you are able to subdue ego clinging in each moment.  

 

This is why the single goal of the dharma is to subdue ego clinging.

 

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