No One Wants To Be Told They Are Wrong

Every individual has to recognise
what is beneficial and what is harmful to their lives,
and this changes with understanding.

Every sentient being has an enlightened nature, which is resting continuously within pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is already present, but goes unnoticed, and we can either realise or ignore this potential. Enlightenment is undoing all the fixations that limit and control how we see and what we see.

Yesterday, we considered the eight right actions, or the eightfold path to liberation. The word ‘right’ unfortunately creates the word ‘wrong’, which can make us feel heavy and guilt-ridden. As a result, we experience doubt, and switch off in a subtle way. We need a lighter touch to realisation as the lower yanas/vehicles/paths can weigh us down with do’s and don’ts, whereas Maha Ati or Dzogchen is about seeing the seeing.

Each individual has to consider how they live in order to realise happiness, but beings misunderstand their true nature, and this causes unhappiness in some way. We all want to be right, but we’re not sure how to achieve this.

The words ‘beneficial’ and ‘harmful’ seem better words than ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. We can obsess about what is meant by all these words as opposed to just accepting that life has pleasant and unpleasant moments – and that’s no big deal. We just have to be mindful of what we are doing, thinking and digesting. The Buddha’s words are meant to help us make decisions, and know what to look out for.

As well as the eight beneficial actions, there are also the eight worldly preoccupations (or ‘harmful Dharma’), where all our actions are governed by hopes and fears.

Hope for happiness, and fear of suffering,
Hope for fame, and fear of insignificance,
Hope for praise, and fear of blame,
Hope for gain, and fear of loss;

These preoccupations are nothing to feel guilty about. Just be aware of how much they control us, and adjust accordingly. That is intelligent, spiritual practice: “Not too tight and not too loose.” In this way, we don’t have to be perfect; recognition is the perfection – and it’s already present.


Wrong understanding = I’m only human

Wrong thought = It’s all about me.

Wrong speech = I say what I think.
Wrong action = Listen to me.

Wrong livelihood = I don’t care if it harms others.

Wrong effort = The harder I work the more I get.

Wrong mindfulness = My peace is important to me.

Wrong concentration = I can’t keep this up.

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