Kleshas Are Fake

We all have kleshas, and because we have them we suffer. Kleshas are misery. When we are in the grips of any klesha we cannot be happy; happiness and kleshas are mutually exclusive. By conquering, transforming, recognizing the true nature of kleshas, we become happy. This is in fact the only way to become truly happy.

We suffer because we believe in the reality of our kleshas. By which I mean that we believe their poisonous nature as kleshas is their reality. But it is not. When we recognize the nonexistence of the kleshas, when we recognize that they are really in and of themselves wisdom, we will be naturally happy and naturally confident.

I consider myself the worst and least of practitioners, but I’ve had the good fortune to have this directly pointed out to me by eminent masters. And, I can tell you that when you recognize the true nature of kleshas as wisdom, your faith in the root and lineage gurus will automatically increase dramatically. Your confidence in dharma and your fundamental happiness will increase tremendously. Therefore, whatever our intentions may be, we require the path and require the conquering of our kleshas.

You know, the thing about kleshas is, is that they’re fake. They’re not what they look like. They’re not what, so to speak, they pretend to be. It’s really very simple. Kleshas appear ; we experience them. But they’re changing. They’re not solid. They’re not stable. They’re not unchanging. Simply because kleshas are changing, they are malleable. We can get rid of them. That’s what it comes down to. Because they change, we can get rid of them.

Wisdom doesn’t change. Wisdom is unchanging, is dependable. It is easy to get rid of kleshas because they change, and it is easy to identify and rest in wisdom because it doesn’t change. They’re like two people, one of whom is a compulsive liar and the other of whom is rigorously honest. Kleshas are compulsive liars and wisdom is rigorously honest. One is fake; the other is real. This is why Machik Labdron, who was a Tibetan woman I should point out, said, “You know, if you clean the kleshas, all you find is wisdom.” When you clean the kleshas wisdom is revealed, because wisdom is authentic. Wisdom is really there. Kleshas are not really there, they just seem to be there.

So, because our kleshas are deceptive, we can conquer them. Because they’re not real, they’re not stable. They’re not lasting. This is true for anyone; it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter your age, your gender, your social position. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you’re a buddha or sentient being. This is simply true for all of us because we all have the same nature. Our situation is identical.

[From Essence of Wisdom: Stages of the Path, Part 1, by Lama Tashi Topgyal given in April 2013 at Kunzang Palchen Ling. Translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso.]