Staying Motivated

I was inspired to write this post after hearing a good podcast from a Buddhist teacher named Karma Yeshe Rabgye:

In this podcast, Karma Yeshe Rabgye lists five hindrances to one’s meditation, and how to counteract them.  I recommend listening to the podcast because it is both short, and easy to follow, but in short they hindrances and remedies are:

Hindrance Remedy
Desire Contemplate impermanence
Ill will Reflect on good will toward others
Laziness Have a break, move around, etc.
Anxiety Use calming meditation techniques
Doubt Research Buddhist doctrines

This reminded me of something that Ven. Yin-Shun wrote in his book The Way to Buddhahood regarding hindrances of achieving Right Concentration in Buddhism, and how to counteract them:

Faults Remedy
Laziness Faith, Diligence, Aspiration, Tranquility
Forgetting the Holy Words (sutras) Right Mindfulness
(Mindful breathing, or visualizing a Buddha/Bodhsiattva)
Restlessness Right Knowledge
(Recognition that the mind is scattered)
(Not changing things that should be changed)
(Realizing the harm of not taking action)
Action(The desire to eliminate such faults) Equanimity
(Don’t over do it, relax and keep practicing)

There are many other examples too in Buddhism where a specific behavior or attitude has a corresponding “antidote”, a way to counteract it. Sometimes these can get a little extreme, such as the practice of monks meditating in a charnel ground, but they usually don’t have to be.

As both Karma Yeshe Rabgye and Yin-Shun show, oftentimes, the solutions are very simple and straightforward and don’t require a heroic effort, just recognition of a negative state of mind, and some way of diminishing or counteracting it. It’s just about staying the course.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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