Additional Translations: Do Not Follow Inverted Deeds. Do Not Make Mistakes.
Chogyam Trungpa wrote:There are six things that you may twist or misinterpret in your practice: patience, yearning, excitement, compassion, priorities, and joy.
It is a misinterpretation of patience to be patient about everything in your life but the practice of dharma.
Misinterpreted yearning is to foster yearning for pleasure and wealth but not to encourage the yearning to practice dharma thoroughly and properly.
Misinterpreted excitement is to get excited by wealth and entertainment, but not to be excited by the study of dharma.
It is twisted compassion to be compassionate to those who endure hardships in order to practice dharma, but to be unconcerned and uncompassionate to those who do evil.
Twisted priorities means to work diligently out of self-interest at that which benefits you in the world, but not to practice dharma.
Twisted joy is to be happy when sorrow afflicts your enemies, but not to rejoice in virtue and in the joy of transcending samsara.
You should absolutely and completely stop all six of these misinterpretations.
And said in another way:
Jamgon Kongtrul wrote:Avoid six mistakes.
To endure patiently the suffering of subduing enemies, protecting friends, and working to make money and not to endure patiently the difficulties of dharma practice is mistaken patience.
To want wealth, happiness, and comfort in this life and to have no inclination to practice dharma thoroughly is mistaken inclination.
To enjoy the taste of wealth and possessions and not to enjoy the taste of hearing, reflection, and meditation on the dharma is mistaken enjoyment.
To have compassion for a person who puts up with hardship in order to practice dharma and not to have compassion for those who do evil is mistaken compassion.
To engage people who look to you in bettering only their position in this life and not to engage them in dharma is mistaken care.
To take joy in other people's unhappiness and in the sufferings of your enemies and not to take joy in virtue and happiness in nirvana or samsara is mistaken joy.
Avoid these six mistakes completely.
The commentaries that I have access to are all fairly similar on what the mistakes or inverted deeds are.
Here is a summary of the slogan by Rabten & Dhargyey that I found helpful (bold is mine):
Rabten & Dhargyey wrote:The practitioner who applies these points to his or her own life does not have to be someone who wears the robes of a monk or nun or who lives in retreat in the mountains; the person whose actions are beneficial for himself or herself and others is one who is truly putting effort in the Dharma.
So the clearest yardstick is simply whether our practice, as shown by our words and actions, is actually bringing benefit to others and ourselves. There's a difference between dedicating ourselves to practice and simply spinning ourselves a lovely web of Buddhist teachings while the deepest afflictions go untouched. This difference is what the slogan can help us see.
The ways we most often go astray in mind-training are expressed by the six mistakes. Jeff makes the very same point about various pitfalls we can encounter while working through habituated confusion.
There are two other teachings I'd like to share that come at the spirit of this slogan from slightly different angles. The first is the "near" and "far" enemies of the Four Immeasurables.
Here is a quick refresher:
The definition of love in Buddhism is: wanting others to be happy.
This love is unconditional and it requires a lot of courage and acceptance (including self-acceptance).
The "near enemy" of love, or a quality which appears similar, but is more an opposite is: conditional love (selfish love, see also the page on attachment).
The opposite is wanting others to be unhappy: anger, hatred.
A result which one needs to avoid is: attachment.
The definition is: wanting others to be free from suffering.
This compassion happens when one feels sorry with someone, and one feels an urge to help.
The near enemy is pity, which keeps other at a distance, and does not urge one to help.
The opposite is wanting others to suffer, or cruelty.
A result which one needs to avoid is sentimentality.
The definition is: being happy with someone's fortune/happiness. Sympathetic joy here refers to the potential of bliss and happiness of all sentient beings, as they can all become Buddhas.
The near enemy is hypocrisy or affectation.
The opposite is jealousy, when one cannot accept the happiness of others.
A result which one needs to avoid is: spaced-out bliss, which can easily turn into laziness.
Equanimity in Buddhism means to have a clear-minded tranquil state of mind - not being overpowered by delusions, mental dullness or agitation. For example, with equanimity we do not distinguish between friend, enemy or stranger, but regard every sentient being as equal.
The near enemy is indifference. It is tempting to think that just 'not caring' is equanimity, but that is just a form of egotism, where we only care about ourselves.
The opposite of equanimity is anxiety, worry, stress and paranoia caused by dividing people into 'good' and 'bad'; one can worry forever if a good friend may not be a bad person after all, and thus spoiling trust and friendship.
A result which one needs to avoid is apathy as a result of 'not caring'.
source: http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/immeasura ... icing.html
The "near enemies" are really "mistakes," ones even well-intentioned people can make. They are pieces of advice to help us, not indictments of people doing their best.
For example, if we don't have a solid idea of what compassion is at the outset, we may reach for what is most familiar. And since our lives have long been ruled by varying kinds of delusion, the closest thing is often imperfect: pity, helplessness, falling into grief. "The more I weep when I see others suffer," we may think, "the greater my compassion is!" All that's accomplished is where previously one was in pain, now two are. If we don't discover this sort of thing is an error, we may only create trouble for ourselves and others, as well as a future roadblock in practice.
So some idea of what to watch out for is helpful.
Still another angle on this is the Eight Worldly Concerns. These are mindsets or aims which, if we follow them, invariably lead to further dissatisfaction and entanglement. They are:
commentary by Judy Lief wrote:1 & 2: Happiness vs. Suffering
Once we have happiness, fear arises, for we are afraid to lose it. When suffering arises, no amount of wishful thinking makes it go away. The more we hope for it to be otherwise, the more pain we feel.
3 & 4: Fame vs. Insignificance
We are obsessed with fame and afraid of our own insignificance. When it dawns on us how hard we need to work to be seen as someone special, our fear of insignificance is only magnified.
5 & 6: Praise vs. Blame
We need to be pumped up constantly or we begin to have doubts about our worth. When we are not searching for praise, we are busy trying to cover up our mistakes so we don’t get caught.
7 & 8: Gain vs. Loss
Just as we are about to congratulate ourselves on our success, the bottom falls out. Over and over, things are hopeful one moment and the next they are not, and in either case we are anxious.
Hopefully the theme of all these different teachings is coming together: if we don't have ultimate welfare of others driving our practice life, including accomplishing buddhahood for their sake, then we will ultimately not become free from cyclical suffering ourselves, nor will we help others as they need. We will merely attain whatever is on our altars instead: more of the eight worldly concerns, endless theoretical knowledge, internet points, a little emotional nest, a fleeting peaceful feeling, or the bitter fruits of the Four Immeasurables' near enemies.
So why cultivate at all if there are such pitfalls? Because we urgently need relief from suffering, and therefore every being who has made our lives and practice possible urgently need relief as well. There is no liberation alone.
In light of these warnings from teachers, some encouragement I've often heard through the years.
We shouldn't feel cheap or fake while setting out to cultivate metta or equanimity, even when we fall short.
In imitating, in trying on new ways of thinking, i.e. in practicing
, we're doing something very difficult: stepping outside lives-long conditioning which has informed our decisions and views until we found the Dharma. This is hard and we're bound to make mistakes and stumble
Practicing is in fact pointing to the natural qualities of the mind, however latent or obscured they may be for now. We gain a better and better feel for what this buddha mind is like until one day, like the sun breaking through the clouds and sending forth its rays, our compassion and wisdom too are effortless, unbound, immeasurable.
Luckily for us, these Dharma teachings are also the rays from many other buddha-suns, tirelessly helping to clear away our clouds. Again, there is no liberation alone. We are helped, even as we help others.