Three Root Poisons

A teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo (via Twitter @ahkonlhamo on May 10, 2010)

Of the three root poisons – hate, greed, and ignorance – I find hate the most repugnant, as it affects more than the hater. But the root poisons are interdependent. If there is hate, there is desire – wanting what is not yours, jealousy of status, power, or material goods. Nations war for plunder (oil), power, land, and sadly, extremist religious belief (power).

Desire can exist without hate, but not often or easily.  Desire, however is what binds us to phenomena, it constantly focuses on self and other – duality. One has to be seeing beings as separate in their nature, which indeed we are not. There can be no grasping with correct view.

Now ignorance is the bottom line. Ignorance is not lack of knowledge. A PHD can be ignorant. A scholar can easily be so. Ignorance is lack of awakening to the primordial ground of being.  In other words, the person is not “awake” as Buddha described; not able to discriminate between primordial nature and it’s display, phenomena.

That is ignorance, and scholarship does not alter it. When people try to explain primordial nature they likely never met “it.” There are no words that describe.  That sort of intellectual masturbation is NO help; is harmful in that people become jaded. To talk about “truth” crucifies it on a “cross.” You can see the trace or shadow, but are blind to the miraculous. Having said that we should strive to study Dharma faithfully, being careful not to generate pridefulness. The main point of Dharma is awakening; so we must meditate and practice!

We must be mindful that not everyone who talks the talk actually walks the walk. You must study the life (not the story) to see who is who. If you look for a teacher, study, research, do not go suddenly blind because you are seduced, spiritually! Teacher and student should examine ach other for at least three years before a sacred commitment. It is a relationship that will return life after life! So be careful, there are many self-anointed wizards out there that must NOT be trusted. Think of your path as a virgin daughter, and guard her with your heart.  And now it’s time to pray! What a coincidence!! Do we talk it or do we walk it?

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