Transforming Bandits To Bodyguards

Dharma practice is to transform
the negative to the positive,
so as to realise the pure.

– Stonepeace | Books

Tibet.. is full of long and lonely roads… in the mountains… Travelling is always dangerous, because there are almost always bandits hiding in caves… waiting to jump out and attack even the most watchful travellers… They can travel in groups… and if the groups are big enough, maybe the bandits won’t attack. But that doesn’t always work, because the bandits will usually see an opportunity to steal more from a larger group. Sometimes people try to protect themselves by hiring bodyguards. But that doesn’t work very well, either… The bandits are always more fierce and they have better weapons…

The clever travellers, when attacked by bandits, make a deal with them. ‘Why don’t we hire you to be our bodyguards? We can pay you something now and more when we reach the end of our journey. That way, there won’t be any fighting, no one will get hurt… Less danger for you, because no one will come hunting for you… And if you keep us safe along the road, we can recommend you to other people… You won’t have to hide in caves…

Your mind is the long and lonely road, and all the problems… are the bandits. Knowing that they’re there, you’re afraid to travel. Or you use mindfulness like a hired bodyguard, mixing it with hope and fear, thinking, ‘If I watch my thoughts, they’ll disappear.’ Either way, your problems… always seem bigger and stronger… A third choice is to be the clever traveller and invite your problems to come with you. When you’re afraid, don’t try to fight the fear or run from it… ‘Hey, fear, stick around. Be my bodyguard. Show me how big and strong you are.’ If you do that often enough, eventually fear becomes just another part of your experience… that comes and goes… When you no longer resist a powerful emotion like fear… you’re free to channel that energy in a more constructive direction. When you hire your problems as your bodyguards, they show you how powerful your mind is.

Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change And Finding Freedom
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche With Eric Swanson

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