I Doubt That!
Although you have an interest in spiritual subjects, it is helpful to understand different kinds of mind, how they are produced, and what effects they have on your personal life. To understand the nature of mind is to understand the root of happiness and suffering. The study of Lorig, the nature and functions of the mind is introduced so that you become capable of discriminating between positive and negative minds and make strong determination to abandon negativity at the root, by your own decision.
The many schools of Buddhism developed according to teaching lineages and philosophical points of view. This is not the emphasis of Lorig. We could spend time looking at this or that point of view or study who thought what and how that relates to another view. That is not a part of Lorig study, so we’re not going to do that. This is not the teachings on emptiness, not the teachings of healing techniques, or the Madhyamika Prasangika view. So I am telling you what it is not first.
This is a foundational teaching taught in the monasteries to those who are capable of understanding the Abhidharma. The abhidharma is one of the traditional three baskets of the teachings of the Buddha. Abhidharma is the philosophy, psychology and the commentaries on those points of view. The vinaya is the scriptures on ethics and morality. Sutras are direct quotations of Lord Buddha as best we can extrapolate from vast numbers of translations over 2500 years. Many translations now come from other translations before, so…..
Any teaching you receive is surrounded by the parameters of what it is, and especially what it is not. However, we do receive all teachings with a mahayana or higher altruistic motivation so we are maintaining inner focus. That is a correct viewpoint.
So, a little bit now about a tiny aspect of Lorig. Normally, in the monastery, at least a year is spent studying Lorig everyday. Let us enter into a little introduction to doubt subject. The formal definition of doubt is a mental factor that vacillates with respect to its object. When the mind becomes mixed or associated with doubt, the mind itself and all other mental factors, such as emotions, motivation, and ability to distinguish between right and wrong, becomes blended with the qualities of doubt. In informal or everyday life we may experience it, we may see it, we may look at it, but we not analyze doubt. Isn’t that so?
Because we have to be very firm when practicing dharma, our mind must be free of wavering. In analytical meditation, which looks at two positions and makes a judgment regarding the correct view. That is not the vacillating mind-wavering kind of doubt discussed here.
When doing correct analytical meditation, we deliberately divide our attention between two or more viewpoints. This kind of meditation will culminate in higher enthusiasm for dharma, resolving inner doubt so completely that eventually one can become awakened. Non-deluded doubt meditation practice actively seeks to resolve conflict.
However, improper doubt is a powerful reverse blessing. Deluded doubt not only shakes confidence and faith, but can actually cause one to stop spiritual practice completely should it get to a point where one cannot tolerate it. One can become discouraged by doubt and without stamina or understanding, that persons progress can either stop immediately or go back into a little, tiny seed form. In this fall from being a practitioner, at best they revert to an earlier practice of mild interest, and no longer sustain the enthusiasm of a practitioner. This is so common in western people and the strongest method to damage spiritual progress.