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Lions Roar : September 2013
PHOTOBYLIZAMATTHEWS I N BUDDHISM, it is motivation that defines what kind of practitioner we are. Simply put, the greater our motivation on the path, the greater our potential. Traditionally, there are said to be three kinds of motivation: small, medium, and large. Within the small, there are three categories: the small of the small, the middle of the small, and the great of the small. This is also a way of describing our evolution as practitio- ners, and a teaching about how we relate to our lives. There is motivation in whatever we do. In general, small motivation is when our goal is simply to be happy and content in this lifetime. When this is our motivation, we are not particularly concerned about what happened before we were born or what happens after we die. Our goal is simply to make ourselves comfortable in this lifetime. If our motivation is the small of the small, we are worldly people who are not engaged in a spiritual path of any kind. The world is the way it is, and there is no need for further exploration. We’re here and we’re going to try to have a good life. Our think- ing revolves around getting what we want, and we use purely worldly means to make ourselves content and happy. If our motivation is a little bigger than that—the middling of the small—we add some spiritual elements to the project of making ourselves content. Some interest or faith arises; per- haps happiness is deeper than just getting what we want from the world. There is something about hearing spiritual The Great Vow It is our motivation that determines our success on the spiritual path, says SAKYONG MIPHAM. And the greatest of all is the motivation of the bodhisattva to save all sentient beings. SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE’s new book is The Shambhala Principle: Discovering Humanity’s Hidden Treasure, published by Harmony. Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2013 13