Some people you can talk until the cows come home and hundreds of hours, they just revert back to how they were short while later…. Some people are with one logical clear talk, they just transform. Some even go on to counseling and helping others. It reflects who we are. It reflects clearly how badly we want something or just go on looking for excuses to not make it.
Again, this statement from the gracious attained nun below is so appropriate.. and remember don’t glamorize how you cannot let go of attachments because it will not serve you at all ever.
Most people feel cozy enough in samsara. They do not really have the genuine aspiration to go beyond samsara; they just want samsara to be a little bit better. ……
The underlying motivation to go beyond samsara is very rare, even for people who go to Dharma centers.
There are many people who learn to meditate and so forth, but with the underlying motive that they hope to make themselves feel better.
And if it ends up making them feel worse, instead of realizing that this may be a good sign, they think there is something wrong with Dharma.
We are always looking to make ourselves comfortable in the prison house. We might think that if we get the cell wall painted a pretty shade of pale green, and put in a few pictures, it won’t be a prison any more.
~Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
My explanation on Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’s quotes above
Dharma volunteering, dharma commitment to time, dharma commitment…when you are feeling bad, contrary to thinking that the dharma is making you feel bad and your guru is making you feel guilty, or the dharma community is negative, it is a good sign. It is a good sign that your wisdom clarity mind, wisdom clear mind is arising. Instead of running away, go full force, do more dharma, engage in more dharma, practice more dharma, do more dharma work, take up more responsibilities, cause you are going the right direction. Cause that process is the natural correct process of our mind becoming better.
Every single day, I do a little bit of social media in order to express thoughts, and passages and realizations and understanding and other things that i have read about the dharma. My twit and social media on face book, blog are on different subjects, but my favourite and my passion is of course dharma.
I guess the passion for dharma arises from knowing that there is no escape from samsara, there is no pleasure in samsara and everything in samsara may be made out to look like it is really nice, but in the end it brings some kind of unhappiness and sufferings. The peaks that we experience in samsara, the ‘happiness’ peaks, you know, whatever you want to call it, for want of a better name, the happiness peaks that we experience from samsara comes from a very high price we have to pay. Eventually the peaks becomes less and less and nil, as we become older because what we experience when we were younger it won’t be possible when we are older.
Anyway, when I was going through my face book wall today, I came a profound, deep and extremely thought provoking evocative speech or write-up by a Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. As you know, Jetsunma is a very advanced and great nun who has meditated in solitary retreat for more than an decade, if my memory serves me right, 12 years. And then she has proceeded to work for a women’s opportunities in dharma, building her own nunnery and at the same time, travelling the world and expounding the holy teachings of our Lord Buddha. This I find very profound and it can only arise from someone who has attained something in their mind, a level in meditation that doesn’t reverse and go backwards.
And let me read it to you and give you a little short explanation.
[Most people feel cosy enough in samsara. They do not really have the genuine aspiration to go beyond samsara. They just want samsara to be a little bit better. The underlying motivation to go beyond samsara is very rare, even for people who go to dharma centers. There are many people who learn to meditate and so forth, but with the underlying motive that they hope to make themselves feel better. And if it ends up making them worse instead of realising that this may be a good sign, they think there is something wrong with the dharma. We are always making ourselves feel comfortable in a prison house. We might think that if we get to cell wall painted a pretty shade of pale green and put in a few pictures, it won’t be a prison anymore.-Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo]
So the first line, what she’s saying is: (most people feel enough in samsara. They do not really have the genuine aspiration to go beyond samsara. They just want samsara to be a little bit better.)
So, many people, they actually just want to make their situation better, some more money, a bigger house, a cooler room, more clothes, better food, and that’s their general aspiration of the general public, is more of a , to be more comfortable.
The second thing she said here: (The underlying motivation to go beyond samsara is very rare, even for people who go to dharma centers.) There are people who genuinely think “wow”, samsara is a really difficult place, it has no end, its an endless cycle, it promotes and deludes, it promotes a lot of sufferings and deludes us into further sufferings. And that I want to do something better, I am going to look for the dharma, I am going to look for a teacher and parhaps I need to go to a dharma center. That type of thinking is extremely rare, even among people who go to dharma centers. Most people who go to dharma centers are actually looking for a quick fix. Some are looking for a better way of dealing with guilt, better way of dealing with their happiness or wealth or they are looking for an easy way out of their problems or a betterment of their situation or improvement of the situation. So people have many many different type of reasons why they go to dharma centers but not actually the highest required motivation, in order to gain full results from dharma practice. Very rare.
She said: ( There are many people who learn to meditate and so forth, but with the underlying motive that they hope to make themselves feel better.) People do pujas, they do mantras, they propitiate a protector, they pray to a yidam, they do special retreats, they do special meditations, they read books, they contemplate, they do breathing exercises, very rarely do people use those dharma practices methods to gain a higher form of mind in order to conquer the samsara within them and around them. But there is an underlying motive (she says) that they just want to feel better, they want an improvement in their lives. Because of their underlying motive and their actual so-called true motive, that their wish to do dharma is not really to be liberated or to liberate others or to go for the highest which is enlightenment, dharma practices end up making them feel worse. I repeat, it ends up making them feel worse, instead of realizing that this may be a good sign, they think there is something wrong with the dharma.
So when they learn more from the teacher, they understand more from the teacher, they get more from dharma readings, they see more advanced students or they understand more from their contemplation, they will realize that a lot of thing in their lives are wrong. they realize their motivation, their thinking, their mode of acting and their conduct actually instead of creating happiness, instead of creating peace and harmony, instead of creating growth, and emergence to a better new self or higher self it actually self delude, self deceives themselves into thinking that they are not happy, they are uncomfortable. Why is that? Because, for the first time in our lives, someone is telling us, more money doesn’t make us happy, more luxuries doesn’t make us happy, having the yacht, the beautiful girlfriend, that handsome boyfriend, the name the fame, the attention, the you, the nice hair, the nice clothes, the overseas trips, the big cars, the big houses, the luxury branded items does not make us happy and we should not be focused on that. And in the beginning of our spiritual journey, we accept that, we know that’s true, we understand that’s true and we inherently know and look around us and see many people who have those things, they are not happy. Those who have aspired towards those items are not happy. We know that, its an intellectual understanding and when we begin dharma we understand that and have this idealistic kind of view that, (oh yes), I understand that materialism doesn’t make me happy. I want to explore myself, I want to find myself, you see, its an intellectual understanding, but when faced with dharma, materialism or dharma or materialism, dharma practice, dharma work or overseas trip, dharma friends or go out and drink and party, solitary retreat or finding a new lover or maintaining lover. Or dharma volunteering work or simply laying at home and doing nothing. When they are actually challenged, they have to make a decision between dharma and samsara, that’s when the dilemma comes. The dilemma comes because they have more wisdom, more understanding, they have more knowledge of what is right and it is not that they intellectually don’t understand it, they intellectually understand it but they refuse to apply it.
When they refuse to apply it, the conflict comes – what is the conflict? The conflict doesn’t come from your guru or from dharma or the dharma center or your dharma brothers and sisters. The conflict comes that you know what you need to do an you are not applying it. And when you are not applying it, it makes you feel bad and when you feel bad, you like to say the dharma made me feel bad, my guru made me feel bad, my friends made me feel bad, the dharma center made me feel bad, the dharma center is not nice, the dharma center is harsh, pushy, the dharma is difficult.
We like to impute or say that the dharma is making me unhappy, but you see its not the dharma making me unhappy…it is like when you have cancer and you are given treatment, when you are getting treatment, its very painful, it is extremely painful, when you are going for the test, its very painful, there are a lot of side effects. When you go for cancer treatment you go for a lot of tests, you have to be poked, blood taken, lots of medication and lots of injections, lots of medicines, lots of changes in your diet and environment and if we blame that our pain comes from the cancer treatment and we gave up the cancer treatment, then the cancer will take over our body, we will die.
The pain doesn’t come from the treatment of the cancer or the doctors or the nurses or the hospital. The pain comes from cancer. And whatever that is being applied to your body by the doctors and nurses and hospital, is actually the process of removing your ultimate cause of the pain. Cause if you are healthy, you don’t have to go for tests, you don’t have to go for chemotherapy, you don’t have to go for treatment. You don’t go for anything. Chemotherapy is very painful for some and it has a lot of negative side effects, for some. But you see, we can blame our pain on chemotherapy. We have to blame it on the cancer.
So similarly, we cannot blame the dharma center, we cannot blame the teacher, we cannot blame the Buddha, or the teachings or the practice or the knowledge – we have to blame ourselves. and when we keep blaming the dharma and we say it is making us unhappy, what is actually making us unhappy , what is making us unhappy, is not the dharma but our understanding of what we need to do and our laziness or selfishness or unwillingness to do it. This is making us unhappy. And we can even say, I don’t care about karma, throw caution to the wind, I don’t care anymore, I reach the level that it doesn’t matter, we can say all that, we can justify all that, but you know what, if it didn’t matter, and we didn’t care, we would not be unhappy, we wouldn’t be concerned or worry. We won’t be having a debate. The internal debate, the internal battle that we are having that is making us unhappy and the battle is not between good or bad, heaven or hell, Buddha or the devil. the internal battle is we know to do, we are not doing it and that is eating away at us. And if we run away from the dharma, by blaming the dharma, justifying that dharma is bad, the dharma center is bad, dharma people are bad, the dharma teacher is bad, if we justify that way…of course you have small legion of people that believe you, of course you have a following of people that will, uh, support you, says its correct and you may even temporarily feel okay and satisfied and at peace that you have these supporters feel the same thing, but you see those supporters come in a few categories – they are people just like you, who do not want to apply and face the truth or they are people who are totally ignorant.
So, its like saying going to a country that people have aids and when you go to a country that people have aids, a developing country or very poor country and they have no knowledge or understanding about aids and they have no idea aids and how it is spread and how its treated and its dangerous and how it can affect and damage your family and your friend and people that you copulate with and you go to this country and you have indiscriminate copulation, with unprotected copulation, and you just copulate and you just enjoy yourself and you go one after another and you write on social media – hey, I met this beautiful girl, I met that girl, I met this boy and that boy and you know, we had a good time and tomorrow I meet another one and another one and of course you gonna have a bunch of people on social media that support you and say – hey, that’s great, let’s have indiscriminate unprotected copulation. Why? Because they don’t understand the dangers of aids. They didn’t hear about it and they didn’t know about it, they don’t understand it, they see symptoms and they see people dying but they don’t know where it comes from, of course they are going to support you. And then you have the other group of people that think, (oh well) I already have aids, I am angry at the world, the world is at fault, I have aids because the world is at fault, its their fault, so I don’t care, I am going to have fun and I am going to indiscriminate, unprotected copulation, with anybody I like and whether it spreads or not I don’t care. So you gonna have that category of people supporting you, saying, yah, indiscriminate sex or copulation is very good. But is you have people who know how aids is spread and they know the sufferings and they work in an aids hospital or they have a relative, friend, a partner, a husband or wife or a child that have aids and they see the sufferings, they will say no, don’t do that. Don’t give this suffering to others. Don’t have indiscriminate unprotected copulation with others because you will bring pain, separate their families, create trouble, create financial strains and then you know now. You know what you are supposed to do. you are not supposed to have unprotected indiscriminate copulation, and then there’s the battle, there a battle going on in you and then you blame the education of aids awareness, you blame the people who tell you about aids, you blame the hospice worker, you blame the person who gave you the information. they made you feel bad, they made you feel horrible, they made you feel down and when you go around indiscriminately having copulation, and they report you to the authorities, they let the authorities know, they say they are harsh, they are cruel, but in actuality, they are stopping you from spreading this disease that can damage other people’s families, financially, emotionally, physically and cause death. In fact they are very compassionate, they are not thinking of one person, just you, they are thinking abut everybody around you.
Therefore if you social media, you want a legion of supporters that says, hey, indiscriminate copulation is wonderful, you are going to get it from people who know nothing about aids – that’s an example. You are going to get it from people who have aids and don’t care anymore cause they’re angry at the world and they just want to get back and they don’t care spreading it. In fact they might want to spread it to other people to suffer like them but from people who know the suffering that they experience it they care, they don’t want other people to get it, they are going to come and tell you don’t do that. They might even report you to the authorities and say, don’t do that. If you call them cruel and harsh that is your twisted wrong view.
Similarly with that analogy in a dharma center, you dharma teacher you dharma brothers and sisters explains to you, the pitfalls of samsara, the difficulties of anger, selfishness, laziness, greediness, stealing and lying and you are caught doing it and you keep doing it and they talk to you nicely, again and again, they confront you, they explain to you, they even try to stop you from doing it, that’s not control, that is not negative, that’s not them being evil, harsh or difficult – its from care. It is from care. It is from care and if you label them the dharma center, your dharma teacher the dharma institution bad, you are not accepting responsibility for where it is coming from.
So therefore if you feel guilty, you have this battle within you the battle within you is actually not a bad sign. That is what Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is saying. It is not a bad sign.
Why is not a bad sign? Because you are having a battle between doing something virtuous and wonderful and good that you are not used to doing as opposed to something you have done 1000’s of times that brought you no where that brought you spurts and spurts and tiny little bits and pieces of happiness and ends up unhappy. So you having that battle, that battle is saying you are gaining knowledge, you are gaining some ground in your contemplation, you are gaining some ground perhaps in your meditation or your views, that your knowledge is increasing, so this battle comes from you having dharma knowledge and this battle makes you feel bad not because the dharma, because your conscious wisdom clarity, good mind is saying – don’t do what you were doing before anymore.
Your good mind your wisdom the innate clarity of your mind who you really are is saying stop. Dharma is good What is teaching you is good and the process of transformation is in you and you wake up one day and you just renounce samsara. The process of transformation comes from rejection, anger, not accepting, accepting, understanding and then applying.
So when you are feeling bad about dharma work dharma volunteering dharma commitment to time, dharma commitment, when you are feeling bad, contrary to thinking that the dharma is making you feel bad, your guru is making you feel guilty or the dharma community is negative, it is a good sign. It is a good sign that your wisdom clarity mind , wisdom clear mind is arising. Instead of running away, go full force, do more dharma, engage in more dharma, practice more dharma, do more dharma work, take on more responsibilities, cause you are going the right direction, cause that process is the natural correct process of our mind becoming better.
So we have to stop view the guru as someone militant, we have to stop viewing the dharma center as a army camp, we have to view the dharma as not something that makes you feel guilty, we have to view the dharma brothers and sisters as not people are deluded or in a cult, we have to view the dharma teacher really as someone that tells you the truth for once in your life with tremendous wisdom, tremendous knowledge and his experience may be even for many life times and listen to the words and understand he is trying to benefit you. We have to look at the dharma brothers and sisters as a community who has accepted and understood and contemplate and meditated and got some results, that they are also committed on this path. We must also think that there are different methods that apply for different people, that it cannot be all across the board. With some people you have to be very direct, with some you have to be very gentle, you have to go around and round. There are many types of people. so one method does not apply to all therefore don’t expect the teacher to have just one method. On top of that you shouldn’t think the dharma center as a burden, you should think of a dharma center comes from peoples donation, love, energy, time, their contributions created a physical place where we can gather to do good dharma work and to benefit others and to disparage the teacher, disparage the dharma institution, disparage the people within, is to disparage all the donations, all the hard work, all the contributions that everybody else did.
So that doesn’t make sense either. Why would we want to do that, why would we want to disparage, something, someone has invested so much into, even yourself. So therefore it is not the dharma or the teacher or the center or the dharma brothers and sisters that make you feel bad. They are not the ones that are harsh, they are not the ones that are difficult. Your clear conscience and your understanding is starting to rise and you are having that battle and now your duty is to win that battle.
(We are always looking to make ourselves comfortable in the prison house. We might think that if we get the cell wall painted a pretty shade of pale green, and put in a few pictures, it won’t be a prison any more.) So if we change locations, we quit, we change clothes, we go on trips, we meet people, go for more dinners, we hang out in Ritzy places, we go for nice restaurants, we buy new car…its like, just changing location and situations round us to change what we know inside…its not gonna work, unless we are very good in self denial, self deception and we are willing to take the consequences, the consequences will be…regret loneliness a waste of time and lots and lots of losses and great opportunities that would have got you somewhere. So if we are willing to take the consequences, and when the consequences come, don’t complain, if in the past, we had difficulty to a certain situation and they make us testy, they make us very uncomfortable and they make us very belligerent and unhappy, then it is a sign to us that we we are not ready for consequences. For those are consequences of actions we created in the past. So don’t just blatantly say, I don’t care about karma I don’t care about consequences, I have reached a stage that I don’t care what people think, the karma consequences or anything is cause if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t be talking, you wouldn’t be battling. You do care. You do definitely do care. So therefore, this wonderful dharma paragraph from Jetsunma was very beautiful, very simple and yet extremely profound and I want to give you a little explanation cause I came across it in the face book.
Let me read it one more time for you and conclude:
[Most people feel cosy enough in samsara. They do not really have the genuine aspiration to go beyond samsara. They just want samsara to be a little bit better. The underlying motivation to go beyond samsara is very rare, even for people who go to dharma centers. There are many people who learn to meditate and so forth, but with the underlying motive that they hope to make themselves feel better. And if it ends up making them worse instead of realising that this may be a good sign, they think there is something wrong with the dharma. We are always making ourselves feel comfortable in a prison house. We might think that if we get to cell wall painted a pretty shade of pale green and put in a few pictures, it won’t be a prison anymore.-Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo].
Now if she is your teacher and you have this internal battle and she tells you this you might even be offended you might feel she is targeting you, you might feel that she is telling you things that hurt you. But if you read this, you might think, (oh yeah) that’s nice, you see its our perspective, what’s our perspective? Is whether we want to accept the truth or not. If we think from the side of truth, it doesn’t hurt, its enlightening, its freedom. I hope this one helps and I want to reiterate dharma teachers dharma centers dharma people, brothers and sisters, the dharma teachings and the Buddha, the yidams, the dharma protectors are all here to help us, are all here to give their best and that is very important to know and if we keep thinking they are enemies we are actually attacking the wrong enemy. The enemies are not these above mentioned. The enemy is inside of us. and that is what we need to battle. and when we understand this that is when we feel uncomfortable. the uncomfortable feeling comes from our conscience knowing what we should do, so we should just go ahead to do the right thing, do dharma, thank you.