Filed in Tibetan

Into the Demon's Mouth

Like the great Tibetan saint Milarepa, we can learn to face our fears with clarity and kindness. Aura Glaser

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The spiritual journey involves stepping into unknown territory with a hunger to know what is true. One of the essential elements of such a life is the understanding that everything we encounter—fear, resentment, jealousy, embarrassment—is actually an invitation to see clearly where we are shutting down and holding back. At some point we realize we can’t manipulate life to give us only what we want: the rug gets pulled out regularly. So what do we do? Although our deep-seated tendency is to reject the unwanted in an effort to prevent suffering, it turns out that all the ways we resist actually limit our lives, bringing us pain. And yet how do we find the courage to open to, and accept, all of what we are and all of what is arising in our body and mind? How do we tap the confidence to live with that kind of openness and receive what is arising in the moment, just as it is, with clarity and kindness? How do we let life, with all of its disappointments and sorrows soften our heart? In the Tibetan tradition there is a story about the great cave-dwelling yogi Milarepa that illuminates the often bumpy road we travel in the process of releasing resistance and making peace with ourselves.

One day Milarepa left his cave to gather firewood, and when he returned he found that his cave had been taken over by demons. There were demons everywhere! His first thought upon seeing them was, “I have got to get rid of them!” He lunges toward them, chasing after them, trying forcefully to get them out of his cave. But the demons are completely unfazed. In fact, the more he chases them, the more comfortable and settled-in they seem to be. Realizing that his efforts to run them out have failed miserably, Milarepa opts for a new approach and decides to teach them the dharma. If chasing them out won’t work, then maybe hearing the teachings will change their minds and get them to go. So he takes his seat and begins teaching about existence and nonexistence, compassion and kindness, the nature of impermanence. After a while he looks around and realizes all the demons are still there. They simply stare at him with their huge bulging eyes; not a single one is leaving.

At this point Milarepa lets out a deep breath of surrender, knowing now that these demons will not be manipulated into leaving and that maybe he has something to learn from them. He looks deeply into the eyes of each demon and bows, saying, “It looks like we’re going to be here together. I open myself to whatever you have to teach me.” In that moment all the demons but one disappear. One huge and especially fierce demon, with flaring nostrils and dripping fangs, is still there. So Milarepa lets go even further. Stepping over to the largest demon, he offers himself completely, holding nothing back. “Eat me if you wish.” He places his head in the demon’s mouth, and at that moment the largest demon bows low and dissolves into space.

One of the things I love about this story is that it doesn’t feed our romantic vision of spiritual life. We sometimes imagine that if we just lead our spiritual life the “right” way, we won’t encounter life’s sharp edges. We will be on a direct path to ever-increasing tranquility and joy. We are not prepared for all of our unfinished business being exposed, all of our unresolved trauma pushing up from the depths like a geyser of black mud. The story of Milarepa feels much closer to the truth. Working with all that has been pushed down is a central part of the spiritual journey. And when those demons appear, it is not so easy to just relax and let go. We usually try a number of different approaches to get these uninvited guests to go back to the dungeon. This story takes us on a journey that includes the well-worn strategies and habitual maneuvers we attempt—and ultimately abandon—in the process of genuinely opening to ourselves and our lives.

The first stage of this journey is awareness. We begin to see what is happening. Milarepa comes back to his cave, and finds that it is full of demons—maybe they’ve been there all along, but now he clearly sees them. We experience this dawning recognition as we begin to see the things we have been running from, hiding from, or trying to push away. Our patterns of avoidance and denial can take so many different guises that often we don’t even really see them until our awareness begins to deepen. It may be 20 years before we realize, “Oh, I became a doctor because I wanted my parents’ approval.” Or “I am always taking care of people because I want others to need me.” Or “I was the life of the party because I felt empty inside.” A lot of times we look at the things that we do without recognizing that what’s really driving us is a need for approval, a need to be needed, or a need to fit in. And sometimes our most obvious destructive behaviors conceal something else that is even more difficult for us to acknowledge. We may, for example, be willing to acknowledge our anger, but unwilling to look at the fear and vulnerability beneath it. So we “work on our anger” without touching the raw place underneath.

I remember years ago when I was living with one of my closest friends how appalled I was when I realized how competitive I was with her. She was getting the attention I wanted for myself, and I was burning with jealousy and resentment. I thought of myself as a loving person who wanted the best for my friends, and the situation revealed a side of me I didn’t want to know. Even more upsetting was the growing realization that beneath that jealousy was a deep sense of unworthiness. I came to see that I craved that attention in order to feel good about myself, and not getting it felt annihilating. There was no escaping this situation—I felt like I was in a pressure cooker, and it was incredibly painful. But not being able to hide or run away, I gradually discovered what compassion for oneself really means, and how it really is the basis of an authentic and openhearted life.

When we don’t acknowledge all of who we are, those unacknowledged parts will land in what Jung called the “shadow” that we then project onto others. This is one way of seeing Milarepa’s encounter with the demons. He was encountering his shadow—all that he had suppressed and rejected in himself—in the demons.

Often when a painful feeling arises, we short-circuit that experience; we don’t listen to it. We’re afraid to touch it. We turn on the television. We spend hours on the computer. We eat a bag of chips. We go to a movie. We shop. We drink too much. We find some way to keep ourselves busy and numb. We have many ways of distracting ourselves so that we don’t feel the full impact of pain. Instead of being accepted into consciousness, the feeling goes underground and enters the cells of our body. It doesn’t go away; it goes in. Anyone who has had deep body work, has done intensive meditation practice, or has engaged in somatic practices on their own has likely experienced how the body reveals our history in surprising—and sometimes unsettling—ways. Things we’ve long forgotten, our body remembers with impeccable accuracy. We may imagine that spiritual awakening is something separate from our physical embodiment, but awakening and embodiment go together. To be embodied isn’t just about feeling comfortable in our own skin—it’s about a complete opening to life.
This is where awareness comes in. With awareness, even if we shut down, we see ourselves shutting down. That in itself begins to illuminate the territory. We may not be able to stop ourselves from doing the habitual thing, but we are watching ourselves do it. Most of us, when we do become aware of something unwanted in ourselves, have a knee-jerk reaction to it, and do just what Milarepa first did when he saw those demons. We ask, “How can I get rid of this thing?” This second stage on our journey is one of our habitual maneuvers. We see something, and if we don’t like what we see, we want to expel it. We recoil. We judge. We attack. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve sat with someone in therapy who wants me to help them figure out how to get rid of whatever they don’t like about themselves. And sometimes this tendency can be even worse in those with long years, even decades, of dedicated spiritual practice.

We come upon our greediness, jealousy, or impatience, and the next impulse is to go to war with it. We don’t realize that all the while we’re strengthening the thing we’re fighting against. It’s like trying to push a beach ball into the water. Holding it down requires a huge amount of energy, and inevitably it pops back up with equal force, taking an unpredictable direction. But if you give the beach ball space and let it be, it will float effortlessly along the surface.

Some years ago I read a piece by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in which he described the spiritual warrior as someone who is not afraid of space—not afraid to experience oneself, and one’s world, fully. If we’re afraid of who we are, we continually feel frantic about filling that space, anything to avoid that persistent unease beneath the surface of our lives. The fearlessness of the warrior comes from stepping again and again into open space, with body, breath, and heart exposed. It is the fearlessness that is willing to be intimate with fear.

As Milarepa’s story unfolds, we find that there is a discovery process at work. When the direct attack fails, as it inevitably does, he tries another approach—indirect manipulation. He begins this third stage when he decides, “I’m going to teach these demons the dharma.” There is subtle fix-it energy at work here. The indirect manipulation looks like a greater acceptance and accommodation, but it is still rooted in the rejection of experience. We are still bent on avoiding and getting rid of what we don’t like. We still don’t want to face our most undesirable parts, and we’re secretly hoping that maybe we can pass directly into freedom without doing that. There is a lot of room for self-deception here; this is where we can get caught in spiritual bypassing. We begin to use our spiritual practices and all the things we’ve learned to perpetuate a disconnection from experience and a disembodiment from life. Our idealized image of what it means to be a spiritual person doesn’t allow for self-knowledge that contradicts it.

So the ego moves into a high-rise. It’s possible to live for a long time in a luxurious penthouse in the ego’s high-rise, while all the lower floors are rotting and decaying. If you’re lucky, before you die the whole thing will collapse and you’ll find yourself on the ground. The transcendence experienced at the level of ego’s high-rise is not embodied. It has not penetrated the matter of our lives. The “gone beyond” of prajnaparamita, the perfection of wisdom, is not this. True transcendence is the deepest form of intimacy because nothing is excluded from its embrace. Transcendence is union. In the union of form and emptiness, our bodies and minds and the whole phenomenal world are not rejected but rather are found to be direct expressions of the sacred. In spiritual bypassing we use spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and basic needs. Avoiding our full humanity actually stunts our spiritual growth and prevents real spiritual maturity.

There was an article a few years ago in The New York Times Magazine called “Enlightenment Therapy,” about a Western Zen master who had his high-rise collapse. After living for decades in what seemed to be a highly actualized spiritual consciousness, he began experiencing terrible depression, debilitating anxiety, and dark despair. His decades of meditation had not healed his core psychological wounds, and his life was coming apart. In desperation he went to see a therapist, and gradually he was able to open to and heal some of the profoundly fragmenting trauma that he’d experienced in his early life. His depth of meditation had allowed him to “rise above” these wounds until one day the wolves of his undigested pain came howling at his door. He understood, over time, that his “talent” for enlightenment experience was in part an expression of the ability he had developed early in life to dissociate from pain. Through opening to these buried conflicts he was able to move toward a genuine friendship with himself, and a more authentic wholeness.

This capacity to see every situation in our life as our path marks a shift from willfulness to willingness. This is the fourth stage in the story. Milarepa relinquishes his solutions and strategies and surrenders to the presence of the demons, and to whatever they may have to teach him. At this point we begin to see everything that arises as an opportunity to deepen our understanding and to soften our heart. We view our life situations as inherently workable. We are willing to be with our experience, whatever it is, without judgment, without trying to fix it or get rid of it. And somehow this willingness, this gentle allowing, starts to calm things down.

In order to be with ourselves in this complete way, we need to be in contact with our inner resources of self-compassion and lovingkindness. Our capacity to turn toward whatever scares or repels us, and remain present with it, depends on our access to inner goodness. When we are able to connect with this ground of inner goodness, it brings a level of confidence and ease that can embrace our full humanity in all its complexity. Without that, we won’t be able to stay with whatever’s arising. This connection to our inner goodness is like the rope a rock climber uses to stay in contact with the steep rock face. Without that rope of connection, we can free-fall into self-blame and self-hatred and actually intensify the existing wound. Transitioning into this fourth stage requires a bone-deep commitment to honesty. We really have to be willing to look at ourselves, and this takes guts. We aren’t going to run away even if we see a demon staring back at us in the mirror. We are going to stick with ourselves no matter what, because we are more interested in what is true than in what is comfortable. As we begin to really look into our lives we ask, and want to know, “What is this uneasiness I don’t want to touch?” “What is this unhappiness that is always there despite all my accomplishments?” “What is this anxiety that is always humming beneath the surface of my life?” We have the courage and strength to move toward that which we may have spent a lifetime hiding from.

Jung commented that we don’t become enlightened by imagining beings of light but by making the darkness conscious. That is the work at this stage of the journey. We’re retrieving all the lost and exiled places in our lives. In truth, it is life returning for itself. In our willingness to open, we are returning for the life that is still waiting to be received. All that we pushed aside is ever waiting to be received into the arms of our clear-seeing tenderness. Rumi said, “When you embrace hurt, it becomes joy.” Is this true? What happens if we soften toward something when we would usually harden? At this fourth stage, we begin to risk exploring the forsaken landscape of our lives. This terrain can be highly charged, and sometimes we find we don’t have the resources in a given moment to move any closer. We get overwhelmed, and our brain starts melting out our ears, our belly starts to flip, we want to vomit, and our whole system feels like it’s crashing. So we are present to that. We reconnect with our inner goodness, deepening our confidence, our well-being, and sense of basic trust. And then we try again. We discover that the journey is a dynamic process, full of alternating successes and failures. And we discover that failures are not dead ends. Every time we’re up against the wall, we’re also standing at a threshold. The invitation to open to our experience—whatever it is from moment to moment—is always there, no matter how many times we need to rediscover it.

This ultimately brings us to the fifth and final stage of complete letting go, where all resistance is gone. We no longer demand that life be on our terms. Instead, we begin living with the understanding that the source of wisdom is in whatever is in front of us—it is in whatever is arising in this moment. Wisdom is not somewhere else. It’s not in someone else. It’s right here in our own bottomless heart.

So Milarepa lets go of that last shred of holding back and places himself in the largest demon’s mouth. The demon dissolves into space. In this space, wakefulness radiates with an unconditioned compassion that, in the words of the late Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck, “goes against nothing and fulfills everything.”

Aura Glaser, Ph.D.
, is a dharma teacher and psychologist integrating spiritual, psychological, and embodiment work. She is the author of A Call to Compassion, a cofounder of the organization Jewel Heart, and a therapist in private practice who works with individuals across the country. To contact Aura Glaser, email

Artwork by Aaron Johnson
Image 1: Down the Hatch, 2007, acrylic on construction debris netting, 40 x 35 inches. Courtesy of Stux Gallery. For more information visit

Image 2: Hellhound Rodeo, 2007, acrylic and collage on construction debris netting, 8.5 x 11.5 feet

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Thank you for the article. I truly believe in the process you describe having had a glimpse of it by practicing Re-Evaluation Counseling for years. Although RC does not present itself as a "spiritual" practice, as a result of my validating my innate goodness while experiencing my deepest feelings that were pent up in my body in the presence of another loving human being, I gained an entirely new understanding of myself and the multiple layers of personal, familial and cultural behavioral patterns [mental and physical] that have kept me from living as the powerful loving person I was born to be. Buddhism has helped me increase my level of understanding and doing hospice volunteer work is giving me more opportunities for accepting my reality.

Midnight's picture

Thank you to the author for a very well done exploration of spiritual development.

Take the path of the warrior, but be a gentle warrior.

ladyjane9's picture

Thank you very much, Ms. Glaser for this eloquent, yet plainly explained concept of what it is like to dare to accept life on life's terms, as is often spoken of in addiction recovery. Making a "searching and fearless moral inventory" of my whole self is frightening and never "finished." Facing my demons of desire, aversion, greed, impatience, etc. without paralyzing negative judgement is a continuous challenge. I appreciate this story of Milarepa as a reminder that my journey is not unique and that it has a solution to free me from suffering, albeit a scary one. I feel empowered by this story and will share it with my friends.

jagmad's picture

Thank you for this wonderful article. It really sheds light on spiritual bypassing.

NancyLanceAlot's picture

Deep Dharma, dear sister! I'm always full of dread when praying to TARA to dredge up the depths of samsara, knowing what this work is like, how raw and ignorant and poisoned we will feel as we face this. Not alone, but in the company of TARA and MILAREPA... not alone, hold onto that if nothing else.

chrishazzard41's picture

I feel shy to comment here because I realize that for each of us the demons will manifest in a different way, my way will not be yours, but let me tell you of a personal experience that I had.

In 2011 I entered the bardo between. I was having a respiratory arrest in the middle of the night far from any medical help. Unable to breath my reaction was one of panic and my wife told me that I was making terrible sounds. Then I ceased to struggle. I was confronted by a massive demon, the nearest image that I can find is that of Mahakala, black face and gleaming fangs. This was the Lord of Death about to take me.
At the instant that I recognized him I also realized that he was also Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion and with that realization the demon instantly became Avalokiteshvara shining, calm and white and I instantly felt calm and quite happy. It was not that he sent me back but rather he released me and here I am.

What advice can I give to those who have yet to experience dying in this life? I say practice, practice, practice. Accept the adversities that come as a wonderful opportunity to get better at dealing with them.

kcwd50's picture

What lfleming said. Thank you, Laura Glaser, for this wonderful article.

sstarflower's picture

I agree that we must embrace all of life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The more we resist our demons, the more they will persist. When we can allow them and accept that they are a part of us too, with kindness and compassion we can begin to learn from them. Once we can accept and allow those parts of ourselves that we may not like, a miraculous transformation begins to happen as we evolve and grow. This doesn't mean that someday we will completely eliminate all of our demons but we will understand more fully the process of allowing change and growth.'s picture

wow this is the second time i have read this today i happened to pick up the issue and read it than again in email
i am facing a fear-sum demon the biggest a mother or grandmother can face. it has been attacking for 5 years relentlessly thru my cancer my husband mental break down and loss of job my sons divorce and life regular stress. It keeps coming. I am getting where i am having difficulty leaning into it plus honestly nobody wants to hear about it.
Some think i should have somehow accepted it by now this illness of my sweet grandson. this illness that has created enormous suffer for him. this illness that is now taking his little life. i have spent much of the last 5 years caring for him. like my own child he is not some child who lives in another state nope got to be there for it all.
I no i no i have to lean into it that teaching it the dharma will not scare away this beast. I have to lean into it
find it in this situation. without a lot of explanation. BECAUSE THERE AREN"T ANY.
i am loosing my mind. Maybe this is a good thing i have fought all my life to keep it in all types of adversity figured a way to dull it fix avoid it deny it .............i am so tired of finding balance when there really isn't any
OH well you are all a captive forum i just cant speak of it to many people. Nobody wants to really get near dieing esp a child.
laura's picture

when I look at my children, grandchildren...sometimes I feel/think maybe the story is all there is and roller-skating is preferred to heart goes out to you and shares your sorrow and embraces all the joy your life/our fragile life is

NancyLanceAlot's picture

Help me, to ask for help, in order to ask for help ... if the pain is so great that I have an adverse reaction to any ideas at all, and if I am hateful toward "positivity" (in fact, it makes me want to shred trees with my teeth), then I can at least acknowledge the distance that my heart has to span in order to go on... help me to ask for help, in order to ask for help, in order to ask for help. Give me, please, just that much help, just an ounce of strength in that direction, my only solace in the storm.

drgayle's picture

Dear Laura,
Your courage to write this, and what you are going through, brings tears to my eyes. Having had pain around a grandchild, although not your same situation, I know how much a grandchild that is with you on a daily basis, versus in "another state" a part of you....

kcwd50's picture

Laura--what you're going through is surely one of the hardest things any human being can experience, plus all the other calamity that seems to be going on at the same time. I wish/hope/pray for you that you continue to find the strength you need; I think this article helps us all see more clearly that that strength is within each of us. Blessings to you.

Mike Nielsen's picture

I am sure the words you use can only hint at your frustration, Laura. Just one of the problems you list could be difficult enough, but the compounding of them seems to create overwhelmingly negative emotions. I recall that at one very down point in my life, I was looking for some sort of meditation that would allow me to transmute the negatives in my life into positives. But I could not find any such alchemical solution. I gather from your comment about "leaning into" your suffering, that you have heard about tonglen practice. It would seem to me that this might work but then again, if the practice can't really address your suffering, then you probably need to try a different "medicine." If you were to ask me (you didn't) about what alternatives might work, I would think that Maitri practice might alleviate some of the pain since the focus begins with a sincere wish for your own happiness and your own freedom from suffering and then allows you to extend that wish to those suffering in your family, and then to all people who are suffering from the many misfortunes that you and your family are dealing with. In reaching out beyond your own suffering, maybe you can gain a foothold.

Dominic Gomez's picture

Dear Laura, it's always tragic when a child precedes a parent or grandparent in death. It just seems so unfair. My aunt's second son was stillborn and she witnessed her other son's death when he was 30. She lived on until the age of 84. Although not a Buddhist, she retained a spiritual fortitude and inner strength that taught the rest of us how to live. Buddhism teaches the eternity of life. You and your grandson will meet again in a future existence. You're ensuring that effect with the cause you are making in this lifetime by caring for him. The key is your hope, courage and confidence in the Buddhist Law of life. Take care.

dash4you's picture

The stages and transitions of our life at each moment becoming endlessly anew.

safwan's picture

The article's statement that fighting against greed would strengthen greed etc... this statement implies that defeating one's evil tendencies is futile, (because fighting against greed strengthens greed!!)

Greed is an Evil tendency which shoud be inhibited, the same as Arrogance and Foolish behaviour. Shakyamuni Buddha attained Enlightenment only after defeating the powers of Mara :

In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni could transform the "ten Daughters Demon" - a metaphor for greed and violence - into a good positive function - but only after defeating it showing that the power of Buddhahood, wisdom and compassion surpass any power of illusion and evil. Buddhism does not compromise with evil.

Midnight's picture

I interpret and apply this differently. That greed, or any other demon that's dredged up through practice, is defeated by not fighting it. This may seem abstruse and counterintuitive, but it does make sense and work in practice, in my humble opinion and experience.

With metta

patrice16953's picture

This article spoke to my heart, and reminded me of a teaching from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's "Sacred Path of the Warrior" ~ in order to realize our basic goodness, we must first face everything we consider to be ugly and disgusting about ourselves -- this is a paraphrase, not a quote, but the meaning is the same.

Dominic Gomez's picture

Such is the true aspect of human life. Good and evil co-exist as two sides of the same coin.

mishell's picture

This article has many gems! Thank you to Aura Glaser for sharing her wisdom and experience. Her depth of seeing gives new insight into traversing a spiritual path of honesty and compassion! An article to read and reread.

Dominic Gomez's picture

Daily practice transforms the demons inherent in life into wisdom with which one can create value in the world.

lfleming1019's picture

Wonderful article! I've heard/read that story of Milarepa's demons countless times, but somehow Aura Glaser's commentary brought it home to me in a way no other has. After 20-some-odd years of therapy and a lifetime of spiritual searching, culminating in the last five years of committed Buddhist practice, I have at last begun to look unflinchingly, with surprising compassion and tenderness, at my own demons. This article describes how I had sidestepped the scariest of the scary for years, despite genuinely, earnestly, diligently doing the work. It also describes the profound awakening of bodhichitta that is only just beginning.

I immediately shared the article on Facebook. I hope at least one person finds it as inspiring as it did.

Thank you!

sallyotter's picture

This is wonderful, thank you. Years ago, before discovering Buddhism, I had a dream where I was trapped in a dark cabin by a slavering dog outside. I was filled with fear but finally decided that my way out was to befriend the dog which I did. I realized that the dog represented my fear and learned that, in order to be free, I had to look at it rather than hide or run away. This is why I love Buddhism. I can look at who I am without denial, with compassion. Aura Glasser has illuminated the path.

vincenzogiorgino's picture

I appreciate this article very much.
It invites us to reflect on our practice, whatever the school or tradition we follow.
What I have got from it is that a "traditional" practice, even based on years of careful meditation, can results in a full concealment of what we really are and not be of help as it just covers our suffering under the carpet. I do not see Aura Glaser's observations as only directed to the single practitioner and his/her self-deception strategies, but to a shared contemplative culture. I see it, maybe I am wrong, as a call for renewal. In my experience, I intended the "reformed" zen teachings by Charlotte Joko Beck the first step of a broader transformation of the practice itself.
What is the author's thinking about this matter?

safwan's picture

I find it unreasonble to agree with the article's suggestion that fighting against our weaknesses would only strengthen them:

"We come upon our greediness, jealousy, or impatience, and the next impulse is to go to war with it. We don’t realize that all the while we’re strengthening the thing we’re fighting against".

Greed, jealousy and impatience are product of ego and immaturity. Such tendencies should be controlled, prevented and inhibited (eventually transformed into sharing and compassion). Evil tendencies (Greed, Arrogance and Foolish behaviour) must be strongly faught against and defeated in ourselves, otherwise we become carriers of evil tendencies and actions. Nichiren quotes the various aspects that lead one and others to sufferings:
and some of these tendencies refer to greed (attachment to desires), grudges, hatred, arrogance... all which are obstacles before enlightenment and must be seen under the light of their true nature being ignorance - which can be and should be dispelled with dedicated efforts and determination through Buddhist practice.

sharmila2's picture

i think the key word is "fight" or "go to war against". There is no doubt that letting go of unskilful tendencies is integral to the Buddhist path in any tradition; however that usually means observing an unskilful tendency and choosing not to act on it, but instead hold it gently till it ceases by itself, thus gradually training the mind's habitual tendencies in a different direction. However what usually happens - and what the author is referring to - is that we label these undesirable parts of ourselves as "bad", thus simultaneously creating a solid ego persona who owns these tendencies, as well as aversion to a natural energy - a Buddhist double-whammy of sorts - and then we 'fight" these tendencies with more aversion, quite forgetting that hatred never ceases through hatred, the Buddha's own words which have a wealth of meaning on so many levels.In doing so we simply drive them underground, until the day when we are willing to face our 'demons" and simply let them be. The problem with the attitude that "we should control, prevent and inhibit greed, jealousy and impatience" is that it tends to create an "I" who is busy doing all these worthy actions, reinforcing a dualistic mentality that - like everything else - must ultimately be let go of also.

melcher's picture

Or else we take the next all too common and dangerous step of seeing these tendencies projected upon the outer world. We then busy ourselves with dividing that world into that which is good (us) and that which is bad (them), fighting to keep all of the 'bad' things, people, circumstances, events away. The result is inevitably a state of perpetual warfare, with oneself and with others. Thus, rather than inner peace and compassion, it is our own inner struggle that becomes our 'gift' visited upon the world in the forms of prejudice, strife and war.

Dominic Gomez's picture

If not "you" who will take responsibility for your happiness in this world, then who? Dualistic mentality takes away this opportunity.