And if we don’t transform our feelings of desire, will we still be reborn as human beings?
Lama Ole’s answer:
That’s basically true as long as we don’t do anything really harmful. If we carry out a lot of negative actions in our lives or if we are very miserly with money, we will very likely be reborn in Africa, South America, or places like that. Likewise, if we have been greedy but also generous, we might be reborn in North America or Europe. But the good places are shrinking while the bad places are growing.
It is smart to learn how to develop ourselves. And the beautiful thing about a Buddhist practice is that we don’t need to change or destroy our desires or attachments. We only have to learn to turn all the energy of our desire around. Right now, this energy is focused on athletic partners, money, and holidays. We just need to direct it towards liberation and enlightenment instead. Desire is a very positive force if one knows how to transform the clinging and limiting attachments into liberating and enlightened desire. The tiger doesn’t have to be put to sleep; you can ride him. You harness the tiger to the front of a plough and steer it in the direction you want to go. In other words, we use the power inherent in the disturbing emotions, even though this may not be so easy.
In some cases, it’s helpful to relax and just avoid the most difficult situations where we usually go through the roof. It’s wise to experience everything as dreamlike. Think, “the emotion wasn’t here five minutes ago, and it will disappear in another five minutes. If I get involved with it now, I’ll only get into trouble.” But the most important thing is to make use of the power while turning it around. This is exactly what a fighter does: he takes his enemy’s power and uses it against him.