Lama teaching, Yucca Valley, 1977

In this interesting teaching given by Lama Yeshe, he talks about a prevalent problem in the west that he labels emotional ambition, or a type of addiction to feelings. He mentions:

The thing is, therefore, that whatever we think is happiness is actually the cause of misery. It might be difficult to accept that fact but it’s a profound truth. If you check deeply you will see that this is correct. And in many cases what drives this is ambition, the emotional ambition that is so prevalent in Western culture. For some reason, your society, culture, life, background, whatever it is, makes everybody incredibly tense. It’s emotional ambition. It makes you unstable. This ambitious mind is psychologically sick.

How sick? It makes you very self-sensitive. Insignificant things make you happy. Somebody gives you one small chocolate and you feel, “Oh, I’m so happy with this chocolate.” Then when that person doesn’t give you a chocolate you get miserable and unhappy. It’s not the chocolate or absence of chocolate doing this, it’s your mind.

Therefore you need meditation to understand the tricks your mind plays on you. It is your mind, not your body. Whenever you experience samsaric pleasure, not knowing its reality, you have the expectation that it will last, that it will continue, that you’ll have more pleasure. Which is not possible. It’s not made that way. It’s not in its nature to last. But you can see how this attitude produces more attachment. And you can see how it makes you unhappy: you want it to last but it finishes. That’s obvious; I don’t need to explain that.

To read more from this teaching, click here.