AM I DESERVING OF MY BAD HABITS?

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Last week, I argued with my dad because he wanted to drag my brother to a wedding reception the morning after he lands from Melbourne.

I told my dad he was being inconsiderate towards my brother – let’s call him Tobias – and I bet $100 Tobias wouldn’t agree to go.

Does this sound familiar to you?

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I know, fighting with my parents and making them unhappy is the last thing I should do. But hey, my dad was being inconsiderate to Tobias. And I’ll make sure these quarrels won’t happen again.

So that’s okay, right?

Wrong.

You see, humans are creatures of habit. Our brains love habits. Whether the habit is desirable or not, so long as it has become part of our routines, we will need more time (and effort) to get rid of it.

In other words, if I’ve become too used to raising my voice at my dad every time he does something I don’t agree with, it’s likely I will keep doing it just because I’m so accustomed to reacting that way when put in such situations!

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So why is that a problem?

Recall that in the third session of Auspicious Puja, the Venerables told us our mindstreams continue across different lives. The qualities in our present lives – including our character, wisdom, skills and habits – can be inherited in our rebirths.

This becomes a problem when your bad habits continue on to your next life. In our struggle to escape from the endless cycle of life and death, we must keep working towards perfection -- i.e. attaining Buddhahood -- but to do that, we need to cultivate good habits and weed out the bad ones.

If you know fighting with your parents is a bad habit and you want to quit, start working on it now. By delaying the process, you might never be able to end this bad habit within your current life and this could be brought to your next one. And if you can’t break this bad habit even in your next life? Well, chances are it will keep haunting you in subsequent rebirths too – that’s something I wouldn’t want to happen to me!

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So, what do you want to bring to your next life, and why?

The pursuit of a better life is human nature and stems from our desire for a perfect life. Now that we know we are stuck in an endless cycle of life and death, it’s only natural for us to keep wanting a better, meaningful rebirth when our current life ends. And while we are taught that no one is perfect, the Buddha told us over 2,500 years ago that a perfect life does exist. That’s when you reach enlightenment and attain Buddhahood, which also signifies the end of your infinite lives.

Remember: No one is exempt from the endless cycle of life and death.

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We hope the past four sessions of Auspicious Puja has given you a clearer perspective on the subject. Stay focused on your final objective of perfection, and you will understand the good qualities you need to cultivate in order to achieve that.