A Huffing Post Buzz Heed: How I turned Nirvana into Samsara
Here was a special favorite on July 6: "Presently it seems to us that the first bodhisattva level is miles away, is completely out of our reach and that it is impossible to get there. But, because time passes and things happen quickly, before you know it, one day you will be there and suddenly you will be a bodhisattva on the first level. Because things always change and continue happening, then one day before you know it, you will be a Buddha too. So impermanence is very good."
And the week after that: "Everything stands or falls with this point. Do we know the very identity of momentary thoughts to be the empty and luminously cognizant mind, or not? That is what makes the entire difference. If we know that the nature of any momentary thought or emotion is empty cognizance, we are no longer fooled by it."
I should truly like to say Amen to these mini sermons and sometimes I actually do. Most of the times, I cringe because my concerted effort to be more mindful of myself in all situations has now made me dishearteningly aware how foolish I am, and that just knocks the Buddhist right out of me. I am never going to be in the running for a Bodhisattva. How can I be when I finally had the precious chance to be in the same room with my aged teacher who so kindly came for a brief shining moment to America, and I spent the weekend pained by the chance I had sacrificed to be having a plain old fashioned good time back home. Yes there I was in Denver smiling among sangha mates and listening keenly to the teachings while regretting how on a sunny August weekend I was trapped in the dull flat tar and concrete sprawl of Denver when I could've been on the gorgeously vivid coast of Maine swimming and kayaking. I was with a dozen Sangha mates I hadn't seen for months, regretting how I was missing the opportunity to see 2 long lost friends who were suddenly appearing only that weekend.
Of course being me, I regretted aloud not being able to eat my own good cooking or local food, stuck as I was with a gang that gravitated to the franchised vegan restaurant and franchised salad bar for every meal. I actually got into a dispute over tofu imitation food (tofu chicken, soy burgers) with my normally stoic motel roommate who lives on what I deplore. And of course, having been involved for decades in the world of food, I thought I was right. And I definitely wanted to be right about resenting something.
I got Rinpoche's blessing, twice, and his precious teaching for two full days, knowing all the while, given his age--83--and his frail condition, it might well be the last time. That's why I chose to go. And still I hated having to get on an airplane, hated more that it was both ways delayed by weather when I could've stayed home and enjoyed the only summer weekend that had real summer weather. There's actually no better teacher of impermanence than Maine weather.
Of course while I was hating and resenting and regretting, I was aware enough of my idiocy to try to counter it. I made the effort to remind myself at least once each day how my teacher and other Rinpoches remind us of the great troubles the ancient masters put themselves through to acquire the Dharma teachings we now benefit from. They trekked on foot from mid India over the Himalayas to Tibet or vice versa. They beggared their way and their stay, never knowing if they'd have food or lodging. They slogged through hells for this gold and all I had to do was eat vegan food and hang around airports to board Jetblue.
I have been trying so hard to get over myself, for days I couldn't figure out what to write on this blog. I did of course re-read those words about Bodhisattvas and the value of time passing impermanence, hoping they'd sink in like marinade. Then this morning, one of the monks closest to Rinpoche posted these comforting words of his on Facebook: "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."
~Sandy Garson "Wordsmithing to attest how the Dharma saved me from myself!"
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