People usually believe an “enemy” is someone outside, a certain animal, a particular organization, etc. Buddhism asserts our real enemy is not outside; the most fearsome enemy is inside – it is our self-attachment.

The ancients say: “Fortune and misfortune do not come through the door; only we ourselves invite them.” The happiness and suffering we experience are entirely of our own choosing. If not for one’s innate attributes, nothing can harm us – not the raging fire in hell, the hunger and thirst in the hungry ghost realm, or the evil spirits and wild beasts in this world. Our foremost enemy is self-attachment. It is this attachment that gives rise to greed, anger, delusion, and arrogance.

Ordinarily, people think victory is the success in a conflict or struggle involving the defeat of an opponent. However, this cannot be true victory since the victor is actually the victim and the loser.

The conventional view is that if I defeat or kill an enemy, I have won. But I do not know with this action I have actually created the cause for taking rebirth in hell, so am I not bringing injury upon myself? If today’s triumph leads to suffering in hell, am I not the victim and the loser?

Sakyamuni Buddha always instructed his disciples not to seek victory by challenging others, but to find everlasting victory by contesting oneself – specifically, one’s self- attachment. As a true Buddhist practitioner, we must do battle with our afflictions and with our self-attachment.

In sum, we have to first establish what self-attachment is, then know that it is self-attachment which is our real enemy.

~ Depicted from THE FOUR SEALS OF DHARMA : All Phenomena Lack Self-Existence