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Lions Roar : September 2013
teachings that quenches our thirst, so we turn our mind in that direction. However, our basic motivation is still wanting to be satisfied in this life, and we are very much interested in worldly endeavors. People with the large of the small motivation operate within the same basic framework—we are primarily interested in personal happiness. However, we’ve seen the pitfalls of samsara. We’ve dis- covered that on the wheel of suffering, all our attempts to make ourselves happy are thwarted. Passing through one rela- tionship after another, being sick, losing friends and family to death—all these have opened our eyes. And we realize it’s not just us. Pain, suffering, and karma are the basic nature of samsara. At this point, we are starting to be concerned about the next lifetime. We see there is more to life than just satisfy- ing our immediate desires. We think, “At first I just cared about this lifetime, but maybe there’s something more than that. If that’s true, maybe I should start prac- ticing. If I am the product of a previous lifetime, maybe I should do something now that will benefit future lifetimes.” We do not want to plant bad karmic seeds, so we stop creating situations that take us in that direction. We no longer denigrate our mind and body or cause harm to others. At this point, we have entered the medium motivation. The cyclic nature of samsara has taught us a few lessons. It’s not that samsara is always bad, but it goes on forever. Things may be good for a while, but then they get worse, so the mind can never really rest. So we are intent on getting out of that cycle. We understand that it inevitably brings pain, and we seek liberation from the round of birth and death. However, at this stage we do not care for others in the way that we care for ourselves. We see suffering, we have renunciation, and we seek libera- tion—but only for ourselves. Finally, we have great motivation. See- ing that all sentient beings suffer in the same ways that we do, we seek release from the misery of cyclic existence not only for ourselves but for them as well. We realize that only people who are free SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2013 14