Dharma Practice vs. Pie in the Sky Buddhism
by guest blogger Larry Cornett
Do as much as you can to maximize happiness and the causes of happiness and to end suffering and the causes of suffering for all sentient beings while in this incarnation, while effectively using available opportunities to improve your abilities to accomplish even more. Focusing only on achieving total enlightenment while neglecting to do what you can toward the aforementioned objectives, even though still caught in the net of Samsara, is selfish and ineffective at clearing counterproductive emotions, attachment, and ego -- at least at my level of development. Don’t let fixation on the perfect be the enemy of the good. It would be like trying to climb a mountain looking only at the peak and neglecting to watch your step.
Recognize your limitations and apply daily meditative practice to overcome them, but back off on mundane actions when the situation and your habits and limitations are likely to make you do more harm than good. Mistakes in this process can reveal negativities that you can clear thru practice so you can do even more. One needs to expand one's boundaries so you can handle diverse situations without getting upset because you did not get your way, etc. This builds good karma, leads one to better incarnations, and helps build relative wisdom and enable the advanced forms of meditation that lead to full enlightenment.
Training and occasional meditative retreats can also help. When one can reliably achieve calm abiding and are making rapid progress, it may be appropriate for an advanced practitioner to take the considerable time needed from mundane concerns to realize emptiness and achieve full enlightenment for the purpose of being as effective as possible.