Let us open a subject that might be either intensely interesting or intensely boring to you: developing discernment on the spiritual path. You already are using a lively mixed bag of discernments in your ordinary life as well as being a product of your well practiced discernments and discriminations. Your decisions that were based on these choices has substantially created you. You have, like everybody else, also changed or recreated your perceptions to accomplish your special day-to-day self- image and the direction of your life by both intellectual or energetic discernment. Let us focus here on discernment although I usually teach how to arise careful discrimination.
In the Tibetan education system, we only use an important word after understanding its various Buddhist meanings and sub meanings. So, there must be some differences between those two words.
The dictionary defines discrimination as "the ability or power to see or make fine distinctions”. In Buddhism, this would be used when learning quality choices by studying tiny differences between logical positions that will lead to different results. Discrimination stimulated in us a new inner resonation that allows us to make correct choices by fine-tuning distinctions of elements.
This definition of discrimination also includes discernment, "a treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit." This could be either negative or positive. Many of the world’s problems come from applying judgment toward groups based on belonging to a particular class. From aboriginal Australians to the Irish in America in the early 1900’s, from gays and lesbians, to blacks in the south; discrimination has become synonymous with hatred.
However, in the positive sense, we have also cultivated nice discriminations about the Buddhas and bodhisattvas as a class. Utilizing discrimination increases our ability to use positive discernment when directed toward bodhisattvas as a class of beings. This is a more sophisticated mental construct; choosing to behave respectfully toward all bodhisattvas, not based upon their individual qualities but characteristics held by all bodhisattvas.
People are still generally aware that enlightened beings exist. That is lucky that our world has not degenerated to the point where they are unaware of such beneficial transcendent beings. Careful discrimination gives a method to notice the distinctions between their own existential situation and the bodhisattva, who is also embodied in this world. We are fortunate that there is not yet a blending of those two kinds of beings due to a false sense of democracy.
According to American declaration of Independence, all beings are created equal under the law. Democracy further demands that there be no exalted beings and no inferior beings. Everyone is the same, and only opportunity and education prevent that from being in actuality.
Oriental people do not have this idea. We feel that if we take great beings such as bodhisattvas and saw off their legs so that they are the same as all others, it does not help train
those who are in preparation for enlightenment by superior example.
Tomorrow continue


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