What is the sign that someone has received the teachings of the supreme Dharma and is practicing them? Whoever has heard and absorbed the teachings becomes serene and self-possessed. Ours is not a tradition that inculcates anger and encourages us to fight; it does not encourage us to get involved with our defiled emotions. On the contrary, the Buddha has taught us to get rid of our defilements as much as possible. The point is that, having received the Dharma teachings, we should find when we examine ourselves, that, even though we may not have been able to eradicate our defilements totally, our anger has at least diminished a little. We should find that, even if we do get angry, we are less involved and are able to keep ourselves in check. This is the sort of sign we should be looking for. The sign that we are assimilating the teachings is an increase in serenity and self-control. It is said that if practitioners do not examine themselves frequently, and if they fail to practice correctly, the Dharma itself will lead them to the lower realms. Some people claim to have received the teachings, but they don’t practice them. On the other hand, it is obviously impossible to eradicate defiled emotion just by listening to the teachings. We have been in samsara from beginningless time and are immersed in the habits of defilement. These cannot be whisked away by the mere act of listening to something. So turn inward and examine your minds. You should at least have a glimmer of understanding!
Counsels from My Heart
Padmakara Translation Group