Home » Features » How To Transform Lazy Excuses With Diligent Motivations

Being spiritually lazy
is the easiest way
to accumulate regrets.

- Stonepeace | Get Books

In the Kusita-Arambhavatthu Sutta, the Buddha listed eight possible grounds for [a] laziness, followed by corresponding ones for the [b] arousal of energy. Although they were spoken for monastics, they equally apply to laity, who might find similar excuses to procrastinate regular spiritual practices such as learning, chanting, meditation and doing of charitable deeds. ‘Work’ below can refer to all kinds of minor and major tasks, such as our day jobs, errands or even housework, while ‘journey’ can refer to our almost daily commute to and from work. On ‘food’, even if not consuming alms mentioned, we might ‘undereat’ or overeat too. As paraphrased, here are the various grounds…

 

[1] One thinks [a] ‘As my body will be tired after work,
why don’t I lie down now?’
One thus doesn’t make effort for practice.
Another thinks instead,
[b] ‘As when working, it will not be easy to practise the Dharma,
why don’t I make effort to practise now?’
One thus makes effort for practice.

[2] One thinks, [a] ‘As I have worked, and my body is tired,
why don’t I lie down now?’
One thus doesn’t make effort for practice.
Another thinks instead,
[b] ‘As when working, I couldn’t practise the Dharma,
why don’t I make effort to practise now?’
One thus makes effort for practice.

[3] One thinks, [a] ‘As I have to journey, and my body will be tired later,
why don’t I lie down now?’
One thus doesn’t make effort for practice.
Another thinks instead,
[b] ‘As I have to journey, it will not be easy to practise the Dharma,
why don’t I make effort to practise now?’
One thus makes effort to do so.

[4] One thinks, [a] ‘As I have journeyed, and my body is tired,
why don’t I lie down now?’
One thus doesn’t make effort for practice.
Another thinks instead,
[b] ‘As I have journeyed, I couldn’t attend to practise the Dharma,
why don’t I make effort to practise now?’
One thus makes effort to do so.

[5] One thinks, [a] ‘As I did not get enough food, my body is tired and unfit for work,
why don’t I lie down now?’
One thus doesn’t make effort for practice.
Another thinks instead,
[b] ‘As I did not get enough food, my body is light and fit for work,
why don’t I make effort to practise now?’
One thus makes effort to do so.

[6] One who has enough food thinks,
[a] ‘As my body is heavy and unfit for work, as if heavily pregnant,
why don’t I lie down now?’
One thus doesn’t make effort for practice.
Another thinks instead,
[b] ‘As I had enough [and not too much] food, my body is light and fit for work,
why don’t I make effort to practise now?’
One thus makes effort to do so.

[7] One thinks, [a] ‘As my body is slightly sick,
I need to lie down now.’
One thus doesn’t make effort for practice.
Another thinks instead,
[b] ‘As I am slightly sick, and it could worsen,
why don’t I make effort to practise now?’
One thus makes effort to do so.

[8] One thinks, [a] ‘As I have just recovered from sickness,
my body is weak and unfit for work,
why don’t I lie down now?’
One thus doesn’t make effort for practice.
Another thinks instead,
[b] ‘As I have just recovered from sickness, and it could recur,
why don’t I make effort to practise now?’
One thus makes effort to do so.

Thus did the Buddha advise on the immediate need to practise the Dharma, so as to attain the unattained. From the eight scenarios above, we can probably see reflections of our usual ‘physical’ excuses to delay spiritual practice – due to after [1] anticipation of exhaustion after work, [2] having worked, [3] anticipation of travel, [4] having travelled, [5] not eating enough, [6] having eaten too much, [7] being a little unwell, and [8] having just recovered. It is worthy nothing that these are four pairs of mirror excuses, which illustrate our high tendency to rationalise not practising despite whatever contrasting conditions present! With impending ageing, sickness and death, we should be all the more diligent from now on!

Being spiritually diligent
is the easiest way
to vanquish regrets.

- Stonepeace | Get Books

Related Article:
Remedies To Rid Drowsiness For Practice
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Amituofo/conversations/messages/75

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