BBPBB#5 The Three Antidotes

Bodhi&Bass Presents: Buddhist Bits

#5 The Three Antidotes

The Three Poisons (or Roots) that form the basis for all that is unwholesome, that which propels us through life with so much discomfort and suffering, are rendered in English as Attachment, Aversion and Ignorance, or as Greed, Hatred and Delusion. In this Buddhist Bit, I offer three antidotes for dealing with the poisons. These little reminders can be brought to mind with three deep breaths, wherever you might be, and can aid greatly in relieving the grasping, clenched feeling that plagues us so often.

In The Mula Sutta (Discourse on Unskillful Roots), the Buddha elaborates on the three poisons:

“Monks, there are these three roots of what is unskillful. Which three? Greed is a root of what is unskillful, aversion is a root of what is unskillful, delusion is a root of what is unskillful.

“Greed itself is unskillful. Whatever a greedy person fabricates by means of body, speech, or intellect, that too is unskillful. Whatever suffering a greedy person — his mind overcome with greed, his mind consumed — wrongly inflicts on another person through beating or imprisonment or confiscation or placing blame or banishment, [with the thought,] ‘I have power. I want power,’ that too is unskillful. Thus it is that many evil, unskillful qualities/events — born of greed, caused by greed, originated through greed, conditioned by greed — come into play.

“Aversion itself is unskillful. Whatever an aversive person fabricates by means of body, speech, or intellect, that too is unskillful. Whatever suffering an aversive person — his mind overcome with aversion, his mind consumed — wrongly inflicts on another person through beating or imprisonment or confiscation or placing blame or banishment, [with the thought,] ‘I have power. I want power,’ that too is unskillful. Thus it is that many evil, unskillful qualities — born of aversion, caused by aversion, originated through aversion, conditioned by aversion — come into play.

“Delusion itself is unskillful. Whatever a deluded person fabricates by means of body, speech, or intellect, that too is unskillful. Whatever suffering a deluded person — his mind overcome with delusion, his mind consumed — wrongly inflicts on another person through beating or imprisonment or confiscation or placing blame or banishment, [with the thought,] ‘I have power. I want power,’ that too is unskillful. Thus it is that many evil, unskillful qualities — born of delusion, caused by delusion, originated through delusion, conditioned by delusion — come into play.”

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