Spacious Passion

Chapter 9 – Irrational Reason


When we have authentic refuge, we realise that we are endangered by our own entrenched tendencies to greed, aggression, self-centredness, envy, and small mindedness. We begin to comprehend that there is nothing we can do with samsara that will make it all slot into place and become perfect.

Ngak’chang Rinpoche has stated that the main problem with samsara is not that it is naughty, bad, or wicked, but that it does not even function in its own terms. He describes samsara as a shoddy malfunctioning product of dualistic derangement – of which we are implausibly enamoured.

When we taste this ‘implausibility’ we reach the point of knowing that real and lasting happiness will not be found by securing a better job or adopting a new lifestyle. Lasting happiness will not be found in a better health regime, clinching a business deal, or buying a larger house. Lasting happiness will not be found in changing my car or my partner, becoming vegetarian, vegan, or Vogon6; or deciding that I am allergic to wheat and most other things that other people eat without a problem. Lasting happiness will not be found by experimenting with different clothes, environment, career, friends, or adversaries. Lasting happiness will not be found in a tummy tuck, a face-lift, liposuction, silicon implants, or a penis extension device.

In Ngak’chang Rinpoche’s words, Even when you get your ankle-length rhinoceros-hide coat, thigh-length sealskin boots, and chamois underwear – it will not be the end of the quest for fulfilment.

When we understand this with sufficient energy to actually start practising, then we can discover experientially that the cause of our dissatisfaction is something fundamentally awry in our view. We realise that there is nothing in our life circumstances that can be changed or manipulated to ultimately extinguish our sense of unsatisfactoriness. We see that it is our own referential relationship with experience which creates our disease of disgruntlement, disaffection, displeasure, disquiet, and discombobulation.


6. Vogon: an alien species in The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.