Buddhism is a house full of treasures--practices for gaining the happiness of future lives, the bliss of liberation and the supreme happiness of enlightenment--but knowing the difference between Dharma and non-Dharma is the key that opens the door to all those treasures. No matter how much we know about emptiness, the chakras or controlling our vital energy through kundalini yoga, it's all pointless without this crucial understanding of how to practice Dharma, how to correct our actions. There are vast numbers of people who delude themselves and waste their entire life studying the most esoteric aspects of Buddhism but never understand the most fundamental point, the distinction between Dharma and non-Dharma.
It is very easy to do Dharma activities such as reciting mantras, saying prayers, making offerings and things like that with the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. That happens. But in reality, the holy Dharma, which includes all these activities, actually means renouncing this life. Therefore holy Dharma and worldly dharma can never be done together. Nobody can do these two things--renounce this life and seek the happiness of this life with the eight worldly dharmas--at once. We can do one and then the other but never both together in the one mind at the same time. --Lama Zopa Rinpoche
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