Disappointment and Delight: The eight worldly concerns
Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, Abbess of Sravasti Abbey in Washington State, USA talks to Associate Editor Sara Blumenthal about the eight worldly concerns.
Thubten Chodron: Back in the 1970s, Lama Zopa Rinpoche compassionately taught us again and again the evils of the eight worldly concerns. Here’s what they are, listed in four pairs with each revolving around a certain kind of object.
The first is taking delight in having money and material possessions, and the other one in the pair is being disappointed, upset, angry when we lose them or don’t get them.
The second pair is feeling delighted when people praise us and approve of us and tell us how wonderful we are, and the converse is feeling very upset and dejected when they criticize us and disapprove of us – even if they are telling us the truth!
The third pair is feeling delighted when we have a good reputation and a good image, and the converse is being dejected and upset when we have a bad reputation.
And the fourth pair is feeling delighted when we experience sense pleasure – fantastic sights, sounds, odors, tastes and tactile sensations – and feeling dejected and upset when we have unpleasant sensations.
These eight worldly concerns keep us pretty busy in our life. Most of our life is spent trying to obtain four of them and trying to avoid the other four.
Lama Yeshe used to talk about how we have a yo-yo mind. Oh, I get a present! Feel good! Then I lose it. Feel bad. Somebody says “You’re wonderful,” and you feel up; then somebody says, “You made a mistake,” then you’re down. This constant yo-yo mind is dependent on external objects and people and leaves us oblivious to how our mind is the actual source of our happiness and misery. We have bought into the appearance of this life, thinking that money and material things, praise and approval, a good reputation and marvelous sense experiences are the epitome of happiness. In our confusion, we think these things will bring us lasting and perfect happiness. This is what our consumer culture tells us and we unthinkingly believe it.
Then, at least in wealthy countries, we wind up disappointed and frustrated because we think all of this will bring us genuine happiness and it doesn’t. It brings its own set of problems….
This article is an excerpt of the full article printed in Mandala