Lust and Hatred: Emotions Not part of Normal State of Mind

Afflictive Emotions like Lust and Emotions are not part of the normal state of mind. All the faulty states of mind are mistaken at their root. But the non afflictive emotions are not mistakes and operate even when there is no mistaken belief in the independent existence.

Positive emotions like Love and Compassion need no assistance to survive in our mind despite the ignorance which misconceives objects as existing in and of themselves whereas non virtuous attitudes such as hatred, pride and so forth are generated only with the assistance and support of ignorance. Without the misunderstanding of the nature of things, there is no way that lust and hatred can operate.

Good emotions draw favorable things to us, but bad emotions brings disaster as it operates under the misconception of things. It also makes us prejudiced towards the thing/ object or person we desire. Even slightest interference towards this can bring emotions like anger.

Similarly hatred is mistaken to be integral to the mind, it is not, it is an attitude without valid support. Compassion on the other hand is founded in truth. When over a long period of time an attitude that has a valid foundation competes with the one that does not, the one with valid foundation will overwhelm the other. This is why when you become accustomed to correct attitudes through practice faulty attitudes will finally diminish until finally they are extinguished.

Negative and Positive emotions cannot co exist in our Mind

DharmakÄ«rti (ca. 7th century), was an Indian scholar and one of the Buddhist founders of Indian philosophical logic. He was one of the primary theorists of Buddhist atomism, according to which the only items considered to exist are momentary Buddhist atoms and states of consciousness . When it comes to the mind Dharmakriti said ” The nature of this mind is clear light. Defilements are Superficial”

What it means is that the mind is pure in its form. All other afflictive emotions like Lust, Greed, Anger, Hatred are just emotions which are formed based on our ignorance that our presence in this world is permanent. The mind in its pure form is referred by Dharmakriti as mind of clear light.. When we are born, we are enlightened by nature and equipped with the tools to reach the state of complete harmony of mind. We also have some level of compassion and the intelligence that distinguishes between favorable and unfavorable. If these elements of the mind can be developed then this can become the basis of transformation.

The problem with negative emotions is there is no external means of removing it, unlike a thorn which pierces you. To remove the negative motions , we must clearly see the mistaken beliefs on which is it based. Once we learn these negative emotions do not agree with our basic mental well being, then we can develop antidotes to remove them.

All the negative emotions like Lust, Greed, Hatred need conditions to exist. For e.g. When you sneeze right now, you cannot be angry. Once the condition does not exist, then there will be no negative emotions. The fact remains that negative attitudes or emotions can be separated from the main mind.

At times we might hold on to negative emotions like anger and attachment and other times our mind manifests into detachment and contentment. We cannot feel positive and negative emotions to an object or person at the same time. We have these feelings at different times and even in rapid succession but never at the same time. This clearly shows that positive and negative emotions cannot coexist. They oppose each other and when one increases in strength other decreases.