Michael Mather
Feb 28 · 3 min read

Buddha’s advice.

Photo by Igor Starkov on Unsplash

The main cause of enlightenment is bodhichitta and the root of bodhichitta is compassion.

I read that this week, probably for the 15th time in my 10 years of Buddhist studies.

For whatever reason, I am deeply moved by this today.

My sobriety story includes coincidently walking into a Spiritual Gift Shop in Coolangatta one day when I was around 10 minutes sober and picking up a card that announced there would be Meditation Classes near my home next Thursday night.

On many occasions in my 45 years to that point had I been subject to such invitation but this time I followed up my intention with action. Later on in my recovery, ‘Action’ that directly follows ‘Intention’ became an integral part of my beliefs.

The mantra of ‘Attention and Intention’ too was important to me staying focussed when the alcoholism brain come-a-calling.

‘Attention’ to the things that I wish to remain in good stead.

‘Intention’ is to change things that I wish to be in good stead.

Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

With the intention to get and remain sober, and having relapsed regularly for over 24 months, I arrived at my first ever Buddhist Meditation Class in March 2008. Yipeeeeee.

Please don’t ask me the topic of the lesson, but I distinctly remember the Q&A afterwards. Out teacher, Gen Tsalden asked for questions from the floor and Mike in his newly sober fuck-up-edness, asked:

“What the meaning of life?”

Well, I thought I was funny, or at least cute, but the question drew deathly silence. There may have been a giggle from row 3 but I may have only wished that to happen.

Courteously Tsalden gave me a charming smile and asked me to keep coming back. “More will be revealed”

Well, I had heard that crap at the AA meetings. Was I in the right place, I wondered.

Miraculously, I did keep coming back, and I did slowly feel that more was revealed.

Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”

So, compassion is the root of bodhichitta and that is the secret to enlightenment.


Whenever I feel like a drink, I have the mind to think of all the people that that action will harm.

Whenever I feel that my life is a mess, I think of all the people that are in a far worse situation than me.

Whenever I don’t feel like going to a meeting that I said I would go to I remember the compassion I have for the still suffering alcoholic.

And whenever I want to abandon my practice I remember why I am doing it. The best motivation for prayer and meditation is to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings.

So, you can see that compassion keeps me sober.

Photo by Angela Compagno on Unsplash

Am I perfect at it?

I can’t believe you even asked that question!

Hopefully, my new-look website at dharmaholic.com will be relaunched on April 12. Hope you can take a look.

The Post-Grad Survival Guide

We're confused twenty-somethings. We dish on our post-grad blues, successes, failures, and everyday life right here. Featuring topics related to work, relationships, travel, finances, and so much more.

Michael Mather

Written by

Enjoys Buddhism and sober alcoholics.. Top Writer in Mental Health. Free Stop drinking-Start living email course @ https://dharmaholic.com

The Post-Grad Survival Guide

We're confused twenty-somethings. We dish on our post-grad blues, successes, failures, and everyday life right here. Featuring topics related to work, relationships, travel, finances, and so much more.

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