Thursday, January 28, 2016

Even Good Dharma is Corrupted by the Devious

A Page from the Heart, Part 3
Q:  Rinpoche, how come the Dharma you teach is different from that of others? It feels as though, unlike the way some old monks lectured in the past, you simply just chat casually with people.
A:  Indeed, in this era, to teach those who are at the beginning stage of learning the Dharma, conventional or standardized methods are no longer suitable because they either swiftly send the audience to dreamland or they leave them feeling immensely alienated, to the point of losing them altogether.
A wise person will face and deal with everyone, everything, and every circumstance at any given time and place with gratitude. Those without wisdom, however, repay care and concern with jealousy and anger. To distinguish a good person from a bad one is as easy as telling black from white. A bad person will not see their own shortcomings, and instead, exhaust their excuses and try to rationalize their faults even to the point of pinning them onto others. A kind person, on the other hand, will examine themselves at any given moment and willingly accept criticism and suggestions from others. They will also reflect on whether they're acting appropriately moment by moment through their body, speech, and mind. All in all, a truly virtuous person can transform even the most evil practice into an honorable one, while even the good Dharma will become corrupt in the hands of the devious.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Never Bow Down to Hardship

A Page from the Heart, Part II

Q: What is the greatest quality of the human character?
A: In my experience, the majority of practitioners have this one quality in common: the more difficult the way, the more brave they become, never bowing down to hardship.
Certainly the obstacles and slander I encountered in the past are insignificant compared to the great disciples of the Buddha. However, on this path of practice and helping sentient beings, it’s inevitable that we will meet all kinds of people. Some who are two-faced. Others who are needy when times get rough and disappear when things are in the clear. I’ve had my share of mocking and ridicule, even atrocious slander and defamation. I may help an entire family, only to be treated afterwards as a passing stranger. Some make vows, promises and guarantees, but in the end are full of excuses and rationalizations and even prevent others from studying Buddhism. There is a sarcastic quip, “When rich, hide yourself away; down on your luck, call for a reunion.” This tendency is a part of human nature. Since I started making connections with people, I was very clear that I was going down a path of no return, a path that must be walked without expectations and bereft of selfish concerns. I could only constantly remind myself, “If I am Buddha’s disciple, I must always try to follow in his footsteps as best as I can until the end of my life.”
So you ask me about the greatest quality a human can possess? From all the people I’ve seen and read about, the bravest and most virtuous of them all is Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of our religion, the king of Dharma. The spirit he manifested so brilliantly in every aspect of his life - standing tall and unwavering in his fortitude to seek and spread the truth for all sentient beings - is something I shall be learning for lifetimes.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Suffering Is Also a Kind of Beauty

A Page from the Heart, Part I

Q: Rinpoche, I am going through the worst suffering ever. If I ask you to help guide me, will I be able to find the exit?

A: Actually, I feel much like you do, but I’m getting something different out of the experience. These days we incessantly hear talk of unemployment, poverty, disease, anxiety, insomnia, and other, unnamed suffering. Yet people never find any inspiration in their negative emotions, learn anything from their failures, nor experience awakening during their depression. In fact, this is showing disrespect to your own life and could be considered an unfair and extremely condescending attitude. I believe life’s elegance can only be glimpsed at the saddest, most pained and most dejected of times. I often see the dawn of a new beginning at times of disappointment, the radiance of human nature in times of pain, and am often the one person who feels joy in an atmosphere which most people find disagreeable. Most importantly, I hope that everyone can discover genuine non-differentiation in observing their dismay, disappointment, and suffering, and I especially hope they reach a state of understanding that suffering and happiness are in fact one and the same. In that case, who could say that suffering is not also a kind of beauty?

Originally posed on: Shang Longrik Gyatso's Facebook Page