A student once asked me whether wisdom was the same as intuition. I thought for a minute and said, “No. I was absolutely certain that my first husband was my soul mate, my destiny. Boy, was I wrong!” Most of us can think of an instance in which we were completely sure of something and turned out to be mistaken, sometimes spectacularly so. Some of the things we “know without thinking about” are prejudices or unexamined views or preferences.
The idea that “everyone has buddhanature” means that everyone has the capacity to awaken, not that we just have to get out of the way of our intuition. It is the nature of greed, hatred, and delusion, deep in our minds, to disguise themselves, and to mislead us into harmful behavior. We do have the potential to awaken, but we must do the hard work of distinguishing when we are motivated by greed, hatred, and delusion, and when we are motivated by their opposites—generosity, kindness, and wisdom.
From “Unlimiting Goodwill,” by Lynn Kelly, published on the blog The Buddha’s Advice to Laypeople. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.