Right Resolve

by Bhikshu Heng K'ung

      RIGHT RESOLVE means not only that our goal as cultivators is in accord with the Sutras, but also that the motivating idea or principle behind our intention is upright and proper. Often our aim is good, but our desire to hit the target is founded on selfish desires for self-benefit. We might want to improve, but not in order to aid others and be uplifting members of our community, but rather so that we can be superior to others. This is a common mistake, and not one that should discourage us from cultivating, but rather one which should cause us to uproot any selfish ambitions that may be lurking in the dark subtle corners of our consciousness, for these selfish ambitions will only impede our progress and make the path to enlightenment long and difficult to tread.

      Many of us are motivated to cultivate because of a personal fault or affliction that we wish to overcome, or because of a discontent with the world we live in. The deeper problems of life such as birth and death, where we came from at birth and where we will go when we die, the mystery of our being, are usually overshadowed by our petty personal problems and faults, and the doubts that we have about ourselves.

      Therefore, before tackling the deeper problems in our quest for enlightenment, we must gain self-understanding, because self-understanding comes before universal knowledge. This means that we must face ourselves squarely and ask ourselves, "Am I worthy of the goal of enlightenment?" Just asking this question will take our heads out of the clouds of false spirituality and bring us down to earth. For we must come down to earth before we transcend it. If we have a keen awareness of our shortcomings and our unworthiness for the goal we diligently seek, we are sure to succeed at our task.