Friday, September 04, 2015

Holy Isle Again

From Reflections In a Mountain Lake, by Ani Tenzin Palmo (Shambala) p. 211

We are here now, but we want to learn how to go home. We want to learn how to return from our enormous confusion back to the ultimate simplicity of our true nature. There are many who can help us on our way. There are many who can point out signposts. It doesn’t always have to be the ultimate guru. Anyone who can give us valid help and guidance is a teacher. They may come in the form of a teacher who is giving teachings. They may come merely as a brief encounter. They may even come in the form of a relative or a friend. How can we know? Anyone from whom we learn becomes a teacher, a spiritual friend. So I personally think we should shift our focus from this idea of finding a heart guru and instead start seeking spiritual friends.  IF we think of teachers as spiritual friends, that makes everything much vaster because we can have many spiritual friends.

212  …as I said at the beginning, what we are really trying to do is reconnect with what we have always had and find the inner guru. To reconnect with our primordial nature, our wisdom mind, which is always here. In the end, the practice is our refuge. This is not perhaps what I should be saying as a Tibetan Buddhist, but honestly, merely being caught up in the circle surrounding  guru, spending all of our time jockeying for position and making sure the lama notices us, has little to do with Dharma. It’s just the same old worldly emotions, gain and loss, happiness and sorrow, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. You see all of this appearing nakedly around some gurus. There is rampant jealousy and competition. It would be better to go home and just sit on our cushion, try to be kind to our family and learn to use them as our Dharma practice. It would be better for us to learn how to be loving, compassionate, kind, and patient to everyone we meet. Very often, when people get caught up in a big guru trip, they end up just serving that one organization and develop a very narrow vision…

I believe it is better to meet a teacher who really has wisdom, who has that very special presence which some lamas and other teachers of all traditions have. There is a certain spacious, egoless quality that makes you know you are in the presence of a genuine master, not one who is just interested in self-promotion. A teacher who is totally simple, yet in whose presence you experience something special. When you encounter such a teacher, then you should gain some teaching from that person and go away and work on it. In the meantime, if you have not met someone like that, learn from whatever sources of understanding, wisdom, ad genuine practice are available to you…

The Buddha said [213] that Buddhas only point out the way. Each of us must walk the path. [here follow some scathing remarks about the guru scene]

In the final analysis, we are all our own gurus. In the end, we have to access our own wisdom. This can be dangerous because our inner guide may appear to be telling us what we want to hear. But we know it really is the inner guide if it tells us to do exactly what we don’t want to do!

We all possess inner wisdom, and we should begin to get in touch with it more and more often. Then we will  start to experience an inner poise and a sense of autonomy. After all, we are trying to grow up, not remain children, forever.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maggie,
Some real sage advice here! It would seem that the desire to "Grow Up" is the only legitimate reason for taking on any form of spiritual practice. This may be stating the point to simply but this is what it all seems to boil down to in the end. For me , most days I want to be treated as a child! I do take some consolation in the fact that there are times when I realize that a huge part of me doesn't want to grow up.

2:13 am, September 05, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps "It would be better for us to learn how to be loving, compassionate, kind and patient to everyone we meet." is the guidance necessary. To grow I must give up the desire to do so. And give up the idea of getting anywhere. Of destinations as a spiritual truth. I don't think the spiritual path or the spiritual way has any settled destination. They seem more to be methods of behavioral modification.

The longer I muck around in such ways the muddier I seem to be getting.


5:23 pm, September 05, 2015  
Anonymous AM said...

I think the temptation is to recoil to self-consciousness, to ask self-referential questions like - nothing seems to be happening? where is this headed for, all these readings and moments of silence and times of solitude? Then i go back to the teacher's stance, sometimes clinging for help, and then counting the 'exact' help just to make sure and feel sure i am okay. Then the teacher will prove nothing that s/he is the rescuer. Then the awakening begins - "do not hold on to me" or "all is well that ends well." The teacher's stillness, the very praxis s/he inhabits, this seems to be where the most learning takes place.

6:17 am, September 10, 2015  

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