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When the heart is a slave to its moods and defilements — greed, aversion, and delusion — it’s like being a slave to poor people, troublemakers, and crooks

“When the heart is a slave to its moods and defilements — greed, aversion, and delusion — it’s like being a slave to poor people, troublemakers, and crooks, all of whom are people we shouldn’t be enslaved to. The “poor people” here are greed: hunger, desire, never having enough. This feeling of “not enough” is what it means to be poor.

As for aversion, this doesn’t necessarily mean out-and-out anger. It also means being grumpy or in a bad mood. If anyone annoys us or does something displeasing, we get irritated and resentful. This is called being a slave to troublemakers.

Delusion means seeing good as evil or evil as good, right as wrong or wrong as right, thinking you’re good when you’re evil, or evil when you’re good. This is called being a slave to crooks.

But if the mind becomes a slave to goodness, this is called being a slave to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, in which case we’re well-off because the Buddha is a kind person. He won’t make us work all hours of the day and instead will allow us time to rest and find peace of mind.

But still, as long as we’re slaves, we can’t say that it’s really good, because slaves have no freedom. They still have a price on their heads. Only when we gain release from slavery can we be fully free and happy. So for this reason, be diligent in your work: Meditate a lot every day. You’ll profit from it, get to buy yourself out of slavery to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, and gain Liberation. Don’t let there be anyone at all over you giving you orders. That’s when it’s really ideal.”

Ajahn Lee

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