Saturday, November 8, 2014

Indifference is Bliss, by Jose

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche Student Taiwan
Jose Serrati, Paraguay
When I first arrived in Taiwan, I immediately liked the politeness involved in daily interaction. It seemed very genuine. There was one thing, though, that bothered me a lot, and this was the indifference that people showed in certain circumstances. Maybe its not accurate to call it indifference. It was more like a lack of acknowledgment.

If I accidentally bumped into someone, I would say sorry but they would completely ignore me. Or I would meet my landlady and she would only talk to my flatmate and not acknowledge my existence because we had never been introduced. Or while walking with a friend, we would bump into his friend, and they would engage in conversation, again ignoring my presence.

After a few years, I started to use these situations as a way to challenge myself, by practicing the Buddhist concept of letting go. It would still bother me, but my attitude towards it changed to: "It's not that important, why make such a big deal about it? Nobody else thinks its important anyway." So doing this showed me that my discomfort came not from a flaw in local culture, but from my own ego asking to be noticed.

Finally, practicing this self-observation for a period of time produced a further result: I understood how considerate it was of other people to not acknowledge me. It meant I had absolute freedom to behave naturally, and sometimes even to get away with small breaches in social behavior. I felt liberated, comfortable, at ease.
Now I am greatly thankful to Chinese culture for this great asset, lack of acknowledgment. I greatly enjoy going somewhere and being ignored. It makes me feel appreciated, liked, trusted. I think Taiwanese are the most considerate people in the world. They care, therefore they choose to actively ignore me. They respect me. I am also immensely grateful to Shang Rinpoche, who, through his Buddhist teachings, enabled me to transform this aspect my mind, from negative to positive.

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