14 Hindrances


Because many people are attached to fame and profit they are in a hurry to awaken, believing that this will bring these things. These people wish to become superman or woman, and desire superpowers, so they grasp at or push for quick results. Buddha stated that investigation needs to proceed by the middle way: not too slowly and not too quickly.

When people believe that they will become superman or woman they will find it easy to think that they have awakened, and that it will be easy to find liberation, but this is a low level or state of being.

What is a low level or state of consciousness?

People who believe that their minds have opened because they have seen the light, or an icon, or a Buddha idol during meditation, may think, ‘Oh! This is the ineffable state of awakening.’ In fact this state arises from the knowledge mind or the physical body, and seems to be a state off illumination, but this meditation is simply comfortable. Some states come from the knowledge mind which gives people the wrong idea, and believing that this is omniscience and that they are god, become atheists or nihilists. This leads them to cease meditation and their investigation.

What is meant by atheism?

An atheist would say that heaven is in our mind. This view consists of too much wisdom and not enough spirituality. Heaven is like a distant star, it is a place. When we point our finger at another and say ‘you are religious and you are wrong’ we are also pointing at ourselves, revealing that we too are religious. To say that we have no religion is to be religious.

Enlightenment is not a product of any school of religious thought, and it is all religious schools of thought. When enlightened all is colorful. We are able to fill our empty minds with color. If you have ego, clouds cannot move through the sky and water cannot flow freely. When enlightened our view is unobstructed, and our minds are no longer rigid.

Another difficult state arises from karma. Your friends and family may be alarmed and concerned that you will awaken and leave samsara, and that you will no longer live with them there. Even your ancestors may oppose you in following proper dharma, feeling that they may lose you. They want you to remain in this karma vehicle of the six realms. We must pay this karmic debt, which is much larger than a bank mortgage.

Next, people tend to forget about impermanence. It is only when a friend or relative dies, for example, that they think they must practice. There are signs of impermanence everywhere however, such as when natural disasters and disease occur.

Then there is the hindrance of not believing the teachings of the Buddha, or people may be disinterested. These people believe in science only, but one day they may discover that scientists can be wrong. As well as this, people who have a happy mind and enjoy life, and acquire fame and money, may forget to meditate. People may also forget about accumulating merit, and may simply use meditation as a kind of painkiller, taking a small dose of medicine when they need it.

Some scientists, media, books, people on the internet, famous people, cultural icons, politicians, and religious figures may speak from greed, and we may be blinded by them and believe them.

Some people lack perseverance. If you have a strong determination to acquire wealth for example, you are also able to use this mind to meditate. If you have confidence in the teachings of the Buddha, you will awaken. If you believe him you will investigate your mind, which will lead to your awakening.

Others believe that a compassionate mind or heart is enlightenment, or that an equanimous mind is an enlightened mind. These beliefs come from the knowledge mind and this is a low level of insight. Others believe that a simple mind is enlightened. However, the mind is complicated. All of these are wrong views indicating that these minds are not interested in investigating their minds or realizing ultimate reality, thinking simply that their minds’ state is the final answer.

People may feel a sense of grace and fall deeply in love with their religion. Inevitably we will lose this sense of grace one day because this comes from belief, which is changeable. Some people feel that inspiration is enlightenment. We are always changing our minds. If we meet with great suffering then believers will question why their God hasn’t protected them, and some of them lose their faith.

All of these are deluded views. All fertilizer comes from desire, aversion and ignorance; the three poisons. Therefore, we must contemplate with our wisdom mind and investigate where this wisdom comes from and where it is going to, in order to realize ultimate reality.


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