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Lions Roar : May 2007
around and make them work to our advantage. The main criterion is that we never give up in the face of adversity, no matter what kind of world we are con- fronted with at the personal or political level. When we think there is nothing we can do, we realize there is something we can do, and we see that this “some- thing” is actually quite tremendous. SLOGAN: When beings and the world are filled with evil, transform unfavorable circumstances into the path of enlightenment Mind training enables us to utilize adversity instead of allowing misfortune to drive us into a corner with no answers. This tendency to adopt a defeatist attitude in the face of evil is the biggest obstacle to our everyday lives and the greatest hindrance to the attainment of our spiritual goals. We need to be vigilant about the acquisition of more skillful ways to deal with our dif- ficulties and thereby circumvent the habit of waging war on ourselves. Responding with fortitude, cour- age, understanding, and openness will yield a stron- ger sense of self-worth and might even help to mend or ameliorate the situation. This is also how we learn to face unfavorable circumstances and “take them as the path” so that we are working with our problems rather than against them. Because fighting with oth- ers and ourselves only exacerbates our problems, we continually need to examine our negative responses, to see whether they serve any real purpose or whether they’re capitulations to the unconscious patterns that habitually influence us. It is not only when things are going our way and people are kind to us that we can benefit from oth- ers. We can also benefit from them when they’re not treating us well. This is a very delicate point, especial- ly in the West, where people are quite sensitized to the notions of abuse and victimhood. People sometimes misconstrue this slogan to be promoting a form of exploitation, as if the victim were being told to par- ticipate willingly in the continuation of his or her abuse, but that is not its intent at all. This purpose is actually to strengthen our mind, so that we can step outside our solipsistic state and freely enter into the wider world. Salsal Buddha 39 SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007