Monday, June 7, 2010

Detoxifying the Soul

A friend of mine is going through a detoxification regimen that involves a liquid diet for a week. The purpose of this is to cleanse the body of toxins with the hoped-for result of feeling healthier and having more energy.

Is it possible to detox our souls? In Buddhism the three "toxins" of the soul are called "the three poisons." These are: greed, hatred and delusion. These three poisons are also viewed as toxic in other religions, too. In Christianity, these are called "vices" as they are in Confucianism.

So how do we get rid of the toxins of greed, hatred and delusion? By nourishing our souls with the corresponding virtues of humility, charity and truthfulness.

A virtue is a habit of character and takes time to instill. Like all good habits, we need to consciously practice in order for the habit to become an unconscious part of us. In other words, we need to practice these virtues religiously.

A virtue can become part of who we are, and who we are becoming. The key to integrating a virtue into our character is conscious commitment. When we keep such virtues in the forefront of our thoughts, prayers and meditations, we are taking the first step to detoxifying our souls.

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