The Eight Mundane Concerns

Compiled by Ven. Karin Valham


Craving for pleasures of the six senses.
Craving to be free of the unpleasant.
Craving to hear sweet ego - pleasing words or sounds.
Craving to not hear ugly, displeasing words or sounds.
Craving to acquire material things.
Craving to avoid losing or not obtaining material things.
Craving for personal praise and admiration.
Craving to avoid personal slander, blame and criticism.

The Disadvantages of Becoming Preoccupied with the Eight Mundane Concerns

This life is always full of ups and downs.
One will take lower rebirth in the future.
Future lives will be spent also with uncontrolled attachments.
One cannot enter the Mahayana path.
One cannot reach liberation.
One will constantly experience hindrances in one's meditation practice.
The practice becomes only services to the eight worldly concerns.
One's anger destroys one's merits.

Antidotes: think in this way

If one follows the eight worldly concerns one is not better than an animal.
The object one sees is a projection of one's deluded mind.
Change the object into an object you are not attached to.
There is nothing new in samsara.
It will not bring true happiness, it is in fact in the nature of suffering.
No matter how hard one tries, it will only lead to dissatisfaction.
It is impermanent by nature, no choice, it doesn't last.
See it in voidness, its true nature.

If I care so much about any momentary sufferings and sickness why I do not care about the tremendous, continuous suffering of my future lives; why do I not worry about and try to eliminate the true cause of suffering?

Spending this perfect human rebirth desiring only the eight worldly concerns and working for the enjoyment of samsaric pleasures is like trading universes full of jewels for ka-ka. But even this very dirty thing is much more useful than attachment - both people and animals can use it.

From Lama Zopa Rinponche's teachings:

Worldly dharma and holy Dharma are different. Any action of the body, speech and mind done with worldly concern, clinging to the happiness of this life, is worldly dharma or non-virtue. Mantras and prayers may be holy Dharma, but if the person's action of reciting these is done with worldly concern, clinging to this life, it becomes worldly dharma. Such an action does not become holy Dharma. Actions done with renunciation of this life, without the attitude being possessed by worldly concern, are the pure holy Dharma.

When Drom Tonpa asked: "What result do actions done with ignorance, anger and attachment bring? And actions not possessed by ignorance, anger and attachment?" Lama Atisha answered: "Actions done with ignorance, anger and attachment bring rebirth in the lower realms as a suffering transmigratory being. Actions done with the attitude not possessed by the three poisonous minds bring the result of rebirth as a happy transmigratory being."

Understanding Lama Atisha's answer as to what becomes worldly dharma, or non-virtue, and what becomes holy Dharma, look at the human beings who have no understanding of Dharma at all, no faith in refuge, no faith in karma. All day and night in their minds they have nothing more than just this life. They are concerned for nothing more than happiness of a few years of life or a few months. All day and night, they keep busy just from this motive of worldly concern. You see that is all non-virtue, and Lama Atisha answered the question as to what result comes. All these activities of body, speech and mind done with that attitude of worldly concern result in rebirth as a suffering transmigratory being.


This teaching is an excerpt from Lam Rim Outlines: Beginners Meditation Guide, and is available from Wisdom Publications, Inc., the FPMT publishing company, and can be found at many good bookshops. Amazon can get them too
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