Everything in the world, both good and bad, is telling us to wake up. Good things help us wake up to the positive aspect of things; bad things make us aware of the negative side of things. If we awaken to both the good and the bad, there is no problem. If we don’t wake up to the good, we’ll be attached to good things. Likewise, if we aren’t aware of the bad, we’ll be attached to bad things. Either way, we will have attachments and be unable to realize the Way. We must see through both good and bad, and be at ease in both favorable and adverse situations. We shouldn’t be affected by external circumstances. The Vijra Sutra says:
All worldly phenomena are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, and shadows;
Like dew and like lightning, we should contemplate them thus.
The things of this world are no more real than a dream; they are as ephemeral as bubbles, as intangible as shadows. They are as fleeting as the morning dew and flashes of lightning which disappear in the blink of an eye. Regarding them in this way, we will be able to see through them and let go of them. If we continue clinging to them, we won’t be truly free. We should relinquish our attachments to pleasant as well as unpleasant events. We can be truly free only when every last bit of attachment is gone.
A talk given on September 10, 1980