Beloved (Tibetan) Friend
By cyclistmike On October 29, 2015
I am embarrassed to say. Thank you for your loss. I aspire to be as much of a person as you, who have lost so much and remain so sane. In my studies of your religion and it’s philosophy I have discovered much, perhaps leading to the root of such sanity. Recently even, I was so lucky to take my refuge vow, and committed myself even more to leaving the materialistic world behind. This decision was a very pivotal point, where I was able to publicly commit, and have since developed more confidence in sharing my inspiration of breaking spiritually materialistic fetters.
I will say that taking refuge was a very serious decision for me, and is quite drastic in general. Unfortunately the bonds of materialism are so strong that such drastic measures are necessary, and some of us are extremely fortunate to make such decisions voluntarily. Volunteered decisions are fortunate, and even so are unfortunate circumstances beyond our control. It has been through personal involvement in many such circumstances that I have left the meaninglessness of participating in such materialism behind. It’s exhausting and yields no gain, even though, walking away from the illusion of comfort is extremely challenging.
Challenge is what we work with. The difficulty of an act makes it’s achievement more powerful, even if the base of the act is unfortunate. This is the root of my respect for the Tibetan Buddhism, and particularly the teachers and laypeople that continue to embody the teachings. My greatest teacher, an individual I may boldly say, was a father of my mindstream, was Tibetan, and although I have not met him in person, I have met him in action. He has strongly effected many people, some of which have profoundly changed and directed me. I am lucky Chögyam Trungpa was chased from Tibet.
Currently the world is in a dark age. The dharma has only reached my ears and heart through suffering. We suffer horribly, especially in the civilized West, with our materialistic comforts we are blind to the darkness outside our little personal caves. We’ve created horrible cocoons in which to live, and pretend to be separate from the horrors of the world. We are so kind to ourselves, we dine and act like kings upon riches inherited from our forefathers hard work. Yet we are passing on hardship to the future in our blindness. We are incredibly selfish, yet too involved in competition to see it’s own foolishness. We may attend church, but beyond identifying ourselves as good people, we don’t lift the lid. We keep who we think we are sealed up tight. We couldn’t be anything but the person we’d like to be. We are in maximum security mode.
Even the kindest members of our society are challenged in the darkness. True kindness pry’s the lid of maximum security back. We don’t want this! Instead we are being woken up to alarm bells. The cribs of our youth are becoming warzones if they aren’t already. This is our society begging for kindness, as our children are abused so horribly by one another they resort to violence, and stupidly thing problems can be solved with guns. In a slightly optimistic note people are beginning to hear the warning bells, but they still aren’t turning the right direction. We are still convinced that those bullies, aren’t us. We’re to deep in our own personal maximum security prisons, we’re on lockdown code ‘good.’ We are convinced that we’re good and there’s no way our children could learn those bad habits from us! We tell them to be good for god’s sake!
It is very unfortunate that our society’s warning bells come in the form of such violence, but we should not be surprised. This is the current state of the world, illness is not limited to one continent, the whole world is blind to the Dharma, even those of us that profess to teach it often avoid the points we don’t like. It is imperative that those of us that teach spiritually look closely at ourselves, we would not like to contribute even one tiny chainlink to the surrounding, code ‘good’ lockdown. We are extremely challenged. Indeed we are in such a tight spot, if we rush into someone else’s code good lock down and try to pull them out, we are building the walls of our own prison.
The only way to help is through stillness. Meditation is stillness. We imbibe peacefulness, and let go of the hurricane of desire. Eventually if we drink enough of the dharma water, we may be able to help others. First and essentially they must be inspired to come to us. The individuals we ‘help’ are those who have grown tired and bored of their own method of confinement. It get’s mighty claustrophobic in lock down. Somehow the claustrophobia is inspiring, because we get a whiff of fresh air. The prison is not absolute. The wall’s we’ve created are only as solid as we’ve made them, and we’re by no means perfect!
Stillness accepts such walls, and eventually lets them fall. We can only do this for ourselves. The notion of help, at least at our level, is merely a form of inspiration, and possibly the provision of space – one thing a teacher may help a student with. The sadness and loneliness of being a teacher is his or her power, and their ability to accept such powerful emotions is a derived from their own discipline. Before we mature we think to be a teacher is a powerful something, ego has grand dreams. That we will be high on a podium, enlightening millions about the true nature of the universe -it’s good by the way- separated from pain or suffering by our powerful spiritual attainment. But it’s not like this.
The truly powerful are those that live with their own sacred hearts, and dare share such kindness with the world, over and over again. This is my appreciation of the Tibetan lineage. Chased out of China and watching their homeland be first destroyed by the insecurities of the Chinese authorities, they have not been permitted to go back, and have been forced to watch what is called a ‘cultural revolution’ where the Chinese have only let spirituality be practiced in forms they approve. Not that this means much to the Western tourists, we see clothes that look nice, not temples that have been destroyed. But the refugees know this. As a people not only did they flee oppression, they walked out of home into a darkened world. We however should not assume that all of Tibet was enlightened, however the cultural measure of a person in Tibet was based on their kindness, and indeed those who were capable of more kindness were recognized as Tulkus are promoted to lead and sculpt the religion. It can hardly be said that our world is a match for that, here we have microwaves but we don’t even look at beggars on the street – out of fear they might raise an issue for us. We have millions in prisons, and we have microwaves. Our priorities are insane.
Here you have found yourself beloved friend. You will never be able to return home, yet you do not despair. Life will never be as easy or as simple as it was, yet you smile at me. You have lost countless brothers and sisters, and will lose more to materialistic concerns, but you let them go. Reality has reared it’s ugly head, but despair has not settled in. You’re belief has been so powerful that life has given you the refuge vow, and you are so brave that you have undertaken refuge, rather than live with lukewarm ‘freedom.’
The world has much to learn from such demonstrations, but the world’s behavior is not our concern. We need only to see one another, and share the discipline of being ourselves. We do not need to compromise with despair or bargain with suffering. We know the difference.
Thank you for being beloved friend.
“Grant your blessings so that I give birth to deep sadness.
Grant your blessings so that my worthless schemes are curtailed.
Grant your blessings so that I take to heart the certainty of death.
Grant your blessings so that the conviction of karma arises in me.
Grant your blessings to that the path is free from obstacles
Grant your blessings so that I am able to exert myself in practice.
Grant your blessings so that unfortunate circumstances are brought to the path.
Grant your blessings so that I continually apply my antidotes.
Grant your blessings so that genuine devotion arises in me.
Grant your blessings so that I glimpse the natural state.
Grant your blessings so that I uproot confusion.
Grant your blessings to that I attain buddhahood in one lifetime.”
-Taken from Crying to the Guru’s from Afar
written by Jamgöng Kongtrül Lodrö Thaye
Strong desire and strong inspiration, bring the lessons very close to home. This is where the bravery of fully confronting and acknowledging the lessons results – almost magically – in the destruction of our own ‘code good’ psychological lockdowns.