Extraordinary Relationship

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Neurotic Interaction to Guru Yoga”

If we rely purely on an emotional level, not much will come of the path.  If we do not challenge ourselves to truly understand all of the thoughts that turn the mind (and you’ve been taught them many, many times.  You can go back and re-listen to the teachings if you aren’t sure what they are), if we do not require of ourselves to really recognize this precious opportunity, we won’t get very far.  And now the recognition has to go even deeper than that. Number one, understanding that the teacher is a spiritual ally, a spiritual friend—someone on whom you can depend as a spiritual guide or a spiritual friend—is a really important first realization.  Secondarily, you must understand that this reality that you are looking at when you see your teacher, when you see the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, is to be considered separate from ordinary samsaric cause and effect conditions, or separate from the wheel of death and rebirth,  because this is all the result of the Buddha’s teaching which arises from the mind of enlightenment and, like a seed, it must always create a fruit that is appropriate to that seed.  So if this reality rises from the mind of enlightenment, it results in enlightenment as well.  The seed and the fruit are always consistent.

That being the case, this is understood as something different.  Now, if you wish you can, like that Tibetan man with His Holiness Penor Rinpoche regarding his opinion on my enthronement (this student did not agree with His Holiness Penor Rinpoche’s recognition of Jetsunma) waste the opportunity by just playing out your little intellectual ‘here’s my idea, what’s your idea.  I’ll see you as something equal to my common ordinary intellectual mind in the world.  You know, I’ll see you as that.’  Or you can play the game where “O.K., you’re the Guru, so I’m going to call you the real thing, but in my heart, in my mind, I’m pretty much just going to keep doing exactly what I’m doing, but I’ll have a teacher,”  rather than gathering oneself together in order to understand something about this primordial wisdom nature, rather than trying to move further on the path of accomplishing pure view, rather than utilizing the teacher as a way to untangle some of our neuroses and actually seeing the condition of our mind and how different that is from what the Buddha described when the Buddha said simply, “I am awake.”  The Buddha didn’t say, “I’m different from you.”  The Buddha didn’t say “I am better than you.”  The Buddha said “I am awake.”  Awake to that nature that is also your nature.

Now supposing that you could use the relationship with the teacher to puzzle that out, to work that out.  It’s such a fine line how to you give rise to or at least, shall I say not suppress, not give rise to, conflicting thoughts that you may have.  How can you not suppress them and still utilize the teacher faithfully in the best possible way? Not as something common and ordinary that is equal to your own conceptual proliferation because then you could do that with anything.  We do that with all of our relationships.  We do that with all of the areas in life that we work with.  We have preconceived ideas that we play out in our lives.  Why would the teacher be different then?  Why would it be precious?  What’s the value then of having a teacher?

So it becomes the student’s responsibility to harness their mind.  It isn’t about going brain dead.  It isn’t about suppressing your ideas and your thoughts and your feelings.  It’s about recognition between what is ordinary, habitual, definitely part of birth and death cyclic existence, that which arises from ordinary cyclic existence, and always therefore results in more ordinary cyclic existence, or that which arises from the precious primordial awakened state that is also your nature, and therefore always results in that precious primordial state that is also your nature—enlightenment.  You are the one that must make the distinction.

So the Buddha recommends this:  Take a long time determining your relationship with your teacher.  If at first you have an emotional reaction, that’s fine.  You don’t just suppress that either, but don’t stop there.  It’s a big mistake just to stop there, because otherwise you just stay in some kind of wacko bliss thing.  You could get that wacko over a cute little puppy or something, or a new car, or a new honey.  You gets lots more wacko about a new honey, don’t you?  Way more wacko about that!  So your responsibility then becomes the responsibility of recognition.  You have determined that this teacher has the necessary qualities to give you what you need.  You can travel on the path now.  You can understand very clearly.  The teacher has a way of explaining to you and you can understand.  You can hear it.  You mind is opening.  It is ripening.  It’s deepening.  Your compassion is increasing.  Something is happening here and you are able to determine that this is not ordinary because this didn’t come from ordinary experience.

You’re travelling the path of Dharma and this is precious.  This teacher has hooked you onto the path of Dharma, placed your feet there, deepened and ripened your mind, provided for you all of the necessary accoutrements. Therefore this is precious.  You then must determine that this is different for you.  You see, it’s not up to the teacher to provide proof for you.  It’s not up to the teacher to convince you.  It’s up to you to determine for yourself. Take your time, do it right, move through all the foundational teachings and decide for yourself: Is this precious to me?  Then if it is, treat it like it is.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

 

Responsibility Begins With Recognition

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Neurotic Interaction to Guru Yoga”

Responsibility begins with recognition.  Simply that.  Recognition.  There are some fundamental truths that must be recognized here in order to stop the game of projecting your own neuroses onto yet another external object.  Because that is not the practice of Dharma.  That is not going to lead you to liberation.  That will continue to lead you to more and more neuroses.  So you must play the game correctly.  The first thing that happens is recognition.  It begins with the recognition of the fundamental foundational truth that we call turning the mind toward Dharma—the faults of cyclic existence, cause and effect relationships, impermanence, these kinds of thoughts, and then the realization that in all the six realms of cyclic existence there is suffering.  Then the recognition that there is the appearance of the Buddha, which brings the element of enlightenment and supreme realization and the visage or face of our own primordial wisdom nature, and  puts that into the world.  That’s the Buddha, the Dharma, which is the Buddha’s method, inseparable from the Buddha like the rays are inseparable from the sun, and the result, which is enlightenment, also inseparable from the Buddha.  You begin to recognize that this has in fact happened.

In the world there is the Buddha.  There is the Dharma.  There is the Sangha, and there is the Lama as the condensed essence of all three.  That recognition alone puts you into position where you have to choose between continuing in samsara and neurotic redundancy which is what samsara really is.  Isn’t that a great term?  Neurotic redundancy.  Don’t you just love that?  Neurotic redundancy,.Or you can choose Buddha, and Dharma, and Sangha—this three-legged stool, or chariot we should say, by which we travel through the door of liberation into enlightenment, into realization, the precious awakened state that the Buddha named.

So we’re in a position now where we make that choice.  That choice is based on this recognition.  You can’t make that choice on an emotional level.  Big mistake!  And some people try to do that.  They come to the temple and they say, “I like this stuff!  It’s all weird.  I like the colors.  I like the shape.  I like the material over there.  Look how they built that up there.  Isn’t that cute?  Those books… You know, I like that they don’t turn this way.  I like that they turn this way.  It’s so exotic.  I think it’s really cool, don’t you?  And then all the statues and crystals!  Look at this!  This is really cool to be with the crystals!” Really I’m describing a silly mindstate, but many students, when they first begin, will come here and say, “Oh this stuff is so cool.  I really want to do this.  O.K., you’re my teacher.”  So on that emotional level, really not much has happened.  Or they might come in and have an emotional reaction.  I’ve seen that happen too.

In fact, this is another story that you’ll be amazed at.  This is an amazing story. A woman once walked into the bookstore.  I happened to be there, checking out the earrings as usual!  So I was in the bookstore and she turned around.  She got immediately who I was.  She had never been around Dharma before, knew nothing about Dharma, knew nothing about anything like that and she just was entranced.  She was transfixed.  She looked at me and then she did three perfect prostrations. Then when she got up she said “I don’t know what that is.  I don’t know what I just did.”  No idea what happened there, no idea.  And then I never saw her again.  And she was crying, crying, just like “My teacher.  My teacher at last!  My teacher!”  Crying.  Big emotional thing, and I never saw her again.

What happened there was unfortunate.  I would call that an obstacle to her practice.  She obviously had enough inner purity to remember a former relationship with her teacher.  Something bled through and yet the obstacle was that she could only, in that moment of meeting, relate on a purely emotional level.  She could not lay down the foundation.  She could not make any connecting thought.  Really, as beautiful as that story is, it broke my heart that she never came back.  It really did.  I love you all, but I have to tell you I have many stories about the ones that got away!  You see, she could have been very close to me and it broke my heart that she didn’t come back.  But what you’re seeing there is just purely an obstacle.  She was only able to relate on this emotional level, and really, it’s not that much different from what you see your dog do when your dog barks to go out or sits there looking at the door.  It is an immediate emotional hit that you’re just overwhelmed with.  It’s not that different from what animals do.  But animals can’t practice Dharma, because what’s needed here is to make these connecting thoughts, these cause and effect thoughts, by creating the kinds of awareness and thinking that causes you to move into a deeper level on the path, and causes you to get the lay of the land, to really get what’s going on here.

This is what’s necessary.  She was not able to, at that time, to think of the faults of cyclic existence, to think of impermanence and that this opportunity might not come again.  She was not able to think “Now that I’ve found my teacher, I have found a way to travel the path of Dharma and pass through the door of liberation.”  Just not able to think like that.  This is a big obstacle that arose in her path at the same time as the blessing of meeting with her teacher again.  So this is the difficulty that we all have, but now we are here and we are in a learning and teaching situation.  We’re in a situation where we have time to think.  We have the leisure to think.  We have the ability to put two and two together, and this is how we have to approach the path.  This is how we have to do this.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

The “Chicken Suit”

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Neurotic Interaction to Guru Yoga”

It seems you have these strong habitual tendencies and project them onto an environment stimulated by just about anything. And when the stimulation looks like it’s even on the same continent as a predetermined habitual karmic scenario that you have been going through cyclically, you’ll do it again.  So many people do not have a good or honest or true relationship with their teacher because they are basically having a relationship with their own neuroses.  That’s the truth!  That’s the truth!  They’re having it with their own neuroses. But you see here again is a mystery, something beautiful that you really need to understand. I’m using a very western way of explaining this so that you will understand better.  That’s part of the gift of having a teacher.  It’s part of the gift, because the teacher will show you your own mind, will mirror something.  There’ll be that little bounce-back phenomena there so that when you have a meeting with the teacher, and something begins, you begin to feel like, “What’s happening here?  I’m beginning to feel a little itchy twitchy.  Now wait a minute, I’m seeing some authority figure stuff come out.” Or, “Oh God, that reminds me of my mother!!”

Or men are like, ALL women do that!!  I hate that!!  So that will start to happen, and when that starts to happen, what the student doesn’t realize is that is a perfect opportunity to look at your mind.  It’s a gift.  Of course, you can make this gift happen anywhere in your life and actually this is the best way to practice Guru Yoga.  There is a lot of poetry and a lot of very profound Dharma text written about seeing the Guru’s face everywhere—in every person, in every situation, in every hardship, in every joy, in everything that comes to you one way or the other—seeing the Guru’s face, and therefore turning adversity into felicity.  Using the practice of seeing that the teacher’s face, the Guru’s face  is everywhere.  Therefore I turn all adversity into felicity because I honor that blessing, you see.  So that would be a great way to practice.

But what happens instead is that we project our own neuroses onto the teacher.  Now as a teacher I’ll tell you that oftentimes what happens is that you have to hang back and just let the student do that thing they’re going to do.  Just let them spin around and do whatever it is they have to do.  Go on, knock yourself out. You kind of watch them go through their little freak out. They’re smooth. They kind of do their little neurotic thing, and they’ll freak in their response to this and their reaction to that and so forth.  After a while the student will kind of calm down.  What they’ll find is that it will come in their face so much that they’ll have to work some of it out.  And they’ll also notice that, pretty much, the teacher’s not playing.  You know, the teacher just doesn’t play the game with you.

Once in a while a student has been so locked in that confusion that (I’ve had to do this too) I’ve seen teachers kind of put on the chicken suit and go in there and dance with the student a little bit, because they need to make some kind of connection.  They feel kind of out in space somewhere and they need to make some kind of connection. So even if there aren’t honest and true, disciplined and pure student-teacher relationship responses happening, there is the introduction to that which is the student and teacher kind of dancing around a little bit. But you must understand the teacher is dancing with your neuroses.  That’s what’s happening.

In order to practice Guru Yoga well, here’s the trick: Most people think that Guru Yoga is about giving up your will.  Now you don’t have to think any more, you have a teacher.  Wonderful!  Mazel tov!  This is terrific! In fact, when you have a teacher, what that means is that you have to take responsibility.  It means more responsibility, not less.  The teacher is not here to blow your nose for you.  The teacher is not here to take responsibility for you.  If the teacher were here to take responsibility for you, the teacher could also have your enlightenment. And since that’s not what she wants because the teacher has already got their own situation handled hopefully, then you must understand that the responsibility is yours.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Karma: Virtual Reality

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Neurotic Interaction to Guru Yoga”

When you’re practicing to accomplish pure view, you realize that for you, the teacher is the appearance in the world of a method or a path, a means by which one can enter the door of liberation. This is what makes the teacher precious.  The teacher can connect you with the path, can explain the path, can ripen and deepen the mind so that one can practice on the path, and is a spiritual facilitator of a very high caliber.  Their activity is extraordinary, or beyond what is normally found in samsara.  So you begin, in pure view, to recognize the teacher as being representative of your own true face, the ground of being that is your inherent primordial wisdom nature—that nature which is free of contrivance, free of distinction, completely empty yet completely fulfilled and spontaneously complete.  You begin to understand that this teacher is a representation of that nature in the world. The teacher provides the path, the means, the method, the ability to practice, and connects you with that in a very extraordinary way.

Once you’ve determined that, the teacher becomes for you the appearance of the Buddha nature in the world, the appearance of the method or the path in the world, the appearance of the fruition or the accomplishment in the world, the appearance of your own true face in the world.  Once the teacher becomes that for you, then to take an opposite viewpoint and to determine a difference of opinion is not a sin or a nonvirtue.  It simply argues with what you have already determined for yourself.  It’s almost like walking three steps forward and two steps back in your Dharma practice.  It’s not that you should become brain dead and that you’re not supposed to have an opinion, but there’s a fine line there that has to be travelled, and it’s pretty difficult to understand what that line is.  Now on the one hand you are, and have been raised to be, a person who has a mind that thinks, and you have the ability to connect cause and effect yourself. Hopefully on the path you are developing that clarity of mind more and more and more.  Yet here you find a situation where you have also stated clearly “I have found my teacher.  Here is this vajra master that I have taken teachings from. That vajra master has facilitated me on the path of Dharma. So how is it that I feel like I have a different opinion at the same time that I have said this is the ultimate, this is the face of the Buddha, this is the Buddhas’ wisdom?  How do I negotiate that?  What’s that look like for me?  I mean, how do I do that?”

Well, let’s stop and think for a moment in a way that might be beneficial.  Don’t answer that question right now, but keep it simmering.  We’re cooking up some Thanksgiving dinner here.  We’re keeping it simmering.  Here’s the gravy. It’s simmering on low boil.  So now we’re back with the turkey in the oven.  But don’t forget, the gravy is still on the boil.  You’ve got to keep watching that one!  O.K., now, withdraw from that, but still think about answering that question.

Now think about this:  You’ve noticed haven’t you, I’m sure you have, that throughout our lives we tend to repeat certain habitual tendencies again and again and again.  Can we all agree on that?  We have seen certain habitual tendencies.  We have seen certain patterns, certain habits. It really depends on how old you are, how convinced you are of this.  The older you are, the more time you’ve had to see these things repeat again and again and again.  While you’re still young, you think, “Well I’ve only done this two or three times!  Who says there’s going to be a fourth, fifth and seventy-fourth!”  But by the time you get to be maybe midlife where I am, you’re going, “I’ve seen this movie before!!  I have seen this movie before!”  And you realize that these habitual tendencies kind of repeat themselves again and again and again, deeply ingrained.

And then if you’re the kind of person who is really insightful, you realize that you project these habitual tendencies onto the circumstances of your life, and without realizing it, will very much control situations and people in your life according to your preconceived notions and according to your habitual tendencies. A difficult situation where you may recognize this is, let’s say, a child that grows up in a house where the child is not given any dignity or any respect and the child feels not loved or abused in some way. So the child develops a certain understanding about that —I am not worthy or I am not lovable—and then goes out into their lives and tends to project some of the same information on others. Others might be perfectly willing to love, be perfectly willing to just do the best they can, not always perfect of course, but to do the best they can, loving them.  And yet this person is unable to accept that love and sees the same outcome pretty much all the time and actually is engaged in that outcome.  So that’s one situation.

Another situation is, for instance, that of a cat.  A cat is actually so strongly habituated towards killing it seems instinctive. From the Dharma point of view, we understand this to be habitual tendency reinforced many many times, life after life, a karmic kind of situation.  The cat will be reborn, and even if there is nothing to kill, if you throw a ball of yarn across the room, the cat will go after it. You know what happens when a cat sees flies against the window.  If a fly is bumping against the window, the cat will go after that.  Anything that scuttles, the cat is after it and their eyes get really big.  Have you ever seen a cat look out the window at a bird feeder?  Have you ever seen that?  The cat makes these horribles noises like “I want those hamburgers!  Give me those hamburgers!!”  For them it’s like McDonalds in the sky.  These animals are so strongly habituated towards killing, that even though they come into this life as a cute little fluffy kitty, those little ears and the little tail and those little feet, still and all, they are killers.  They are habituated towards that and the first chance they get, any stimulation, any stimulation, such as the rolling of the ball of yarn across the floor, they will interpret as the hunter and hunted scenario.

Did you know that we do the same thing?  We do exactly the same thing.  We are so deeply habituated in our own particular tendencies, whatever they are, that we project in the same way onto external stimulation.  If we have deeply habituated ideas, sometimes they are bordering on the obsessive and compulsive. Maybe not even bordering, maybe all the way in that country!  Pay the toll, we’re in!  What happens is once we are strongly habituated into habit, we interpret all stimulation outside as something that keys us into our habitual tendency.  So what I find as a teacher and a female, for instance, is that many people interpret me as their mother.  They think of me as being the authority figure, someone they have to answer to in that way.  They can’t be bad around me.  A lot of times the students will… I mean it’s one thing to have your Dharma manners going when you see the teacher—you hold that in respect, and that’s a really good thing—but what I found is that I can walk into a party and kill it, just like that!  Because my students suddenly stop functioning.  It reminds me of when I was a kid and my mother said ‘dust the living room.’  So I’d be dusting the living room, having fun, thinking about other things, like boys or whatever, and dusting and carrying on.  My mother came into the room and I’d suddenly start moving fast! It reminds me a little bit of that.

And sometimes some of my students are habituated towards authority figures in a certain way, and since I must exude some kind of authority, they look at me and interact in the same way with me that they do with other authority figures. So there is this “has to be good girl, good boy or whatever, routine” and the blaming of the teacher and making all of those “I’m mad at you authority figures” kind of scenarios going on.  There are all kinds of different gigs, You know what your gig is with authority.  Everybody has one.  And so they project that onto the teacher. But you see, what’s really happening there is you’re looking at your own habitual tendency—the way that your mind works, the way that it intersects with the time and space grid in front of you, and how you play with your own habitual tendency.  What you’re really seeing there is kind of like a bounce-back phenomena that’s actually taking place within your own mindstream.

There is nothing external happening.  There is nothing beyond you that is happening.  There’s just nothing out there that determines your fate.  You’re looking at a kind of almost internal bubble, or a virtual situation in a certain way.  You can learn a lot from that kind of virtual reality situation.  It’s almost a virtual internal situation that’s happening there.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com