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Lions Roar : November 2014
T he ultimate habitual pattern is samsara itself—the wheel of habitual cyclic existence that causes all your suffering. The karma that drives the wheel— the three poisons of attachment, aggression, and ignorance—are actually deep- seated habits of mind. When you finally get tired of unconsciously participating in the daily show of habitual samsaric programming, what can you do to change it? Buddhism teaches three basic ways to cut your ties to samsara, once you have decided this is something you really need and want to do. One approach is to shut off the world of phenomena and your attachment to it. This is the path of renunciation. It is illustrated by the paintings of skeletons on the walls of temples in Burma or Thailand. They are reminders to Theravada monks and nuns to stay free of desire and attachment arising in their mind. The problem is that this method of cutting individual episodes of attachment one after another could be endless. Another possibility is to transform how you perceive samsara altogether. Instead of renouncing it, you train to develop strong compassion and insight into the empty nature of samsara. By changing your habitually deluded way of perceiving phenomena, you will change how your mind is affected by and responds to negative emotions and confusion. This is the basic approach of Mahayana Buddhism. It is a subtle practice that requires a good deal of patient self-examination and clear awareness of your motivation. Tsoknyi Rinpoche is the author of three books of Dzogchen teachings: Open Heart, Open Mind; Carefree Dignity, and Fearless Simplicity. Join him for the Shambhala Sun’s meditation retreat at the Omega Institute, August 26 to 30, 2015. pHOTO By MArvIn MOOre The Natural Liberation of Habits When you recognize the true nature of mind, says Dzogchen master tsoknyi rinpoche, all habitual patterns are naturally liberated in the space of wisdom. That includes the ultimate habit known as samsara. GetOffthe W heelofHabit SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 59