Wheel of Sharp Weapons, part 4

Over the past few months I have been studying the ‘Wheel of Sharp Weapons’ by Dharmaraksita. This is part 4 in a series about the text.

My understanding of verse #30 is that it refers to not practicing the Dharma. Verse #30 gives two examples where we might not practice the Dharma.

The first example is taking “delight in the mental afflictions”, such as not recognising ignorance, attachment, anger, or the other mental afflictions as negative. This could also refer to performing negative actions based on those mental afflictions, such as the 10 non virtuous actions.

The second example is being “greatly distracted”. We might delight in the pleasures of samsara and be distracted by material wealth and consumerism which are common distractions in modern society. Also, we might be lazy and fail to cultivate the wisdom derived from study, the wisdom derived from reflection, or the wisdom derived from meditation.

In terms of the 4 Noble Truths, both of these two examples represent how we are failing to understand the #1 the Noble Truth of Suffering and #2 the Noble Truth of The Origin of Suffering.

Verse #30 provides two antidote to not practicing the Dharma.

The first antidote is to reflect on the shortcomings of cyclic existence. This will help to counteract delighting in the mental afflictions. In short, there is no happiness to be found in samsara. We could also reflect on the first two Noble Truths in general by reflecting on the 3 types of suffering, suffering of the 6 realms, the 12 Links of Dependent Origination that perpetuates our experience of samsara, as well as our own experience of suffering just in this life.

The second antidote is to reflect upon impermanence and death. This will help to counteract being greatly distracted and other forms of laziness, and encourage us to practice the Dharma well. We currently have the conditions to practice the Dharma, these include having the time and ability to practice the Dharma and having this life. Unfortunately these conditions will inevitably disperse.

Although not mentioned in verse #30, a third antidote is to reflect upon the great benefits and wonderful happiness that we could bring to all sentient beings as an enlightened being.

In terms of the 4 Noble Truths, these three antidotes encourage us to practice #3 the Noble Truth of Cessation and #4 the Noble Truth of the Path. Geshe Lhundrub Sopa [1] pg.144 states that “we must spend as much time as possible preparing ourselves by studying the Dharma and acting virtuously.

[1] ‘Peacock In The Poison Grove’ by Geshe Lhundrub Sopa; Wisdom Publications, 2001.
[2] ‘The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’ by Lama Tsongkapa; Snow Lion Publications, 2001.

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