Anger,lust — these enemies of mine—
Are limbless and devoid of faculties
They have no bravery, no cleverness;
How then have they reduced me to such slavery?
I it is who welcome them within my heart,
Allowing them to harm me at their pleasure!
I who suffer all without resentment—
Thus my abject patience, all displaced!
If all the gods and demigods besides
Together came against me as my foes,
Their mighty strength—all this would not avail
To fling me in the fires of deepest hell.
And yet, the mighty fiend of my afflictions,
Flings me in an instant headlong down
To where the mighty lord of mountains
Would be burned, its very ashes all consumed.
No other enemy indeed
Has lived so long as my defiled emotions—
O my enemy, afflictive passion,
Endless and beginningless companion!
All other foes that I appease and wait upon
Will show me favors, give me every aid,
But should I serve my dark, defiled emotions,
They will only harm me, draw me down to grief.
Therefore, if these long-lived, ancient enemies of mine,
The wellspring only of increasing woe,
Can find their lodging safe within my heart,
What joy or peace in this world can be found?
—Shantideva (7th century Indian adept)
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.