Dharma; complex or simple.
Un-fabricated naturalness is our being: it is being ordinary – purely being there. That is the key. If we are not being ordinary, we are being something else – complex. Ordinary being is our original state. It is our Ground. Our Path is our complex confusion about being ordinary. The Fruition is realising that this Path of complex confusion is an illusion, and that ordinary Ground has been there all the time.
At the moment we are on the Path, clothed in confusion. All we have to do is undress, if we have the courage.
This is a little difficult to write about, and there is no wish to make anyone feel uncomfortable…well, hardly! Do you see the problem already? If there is something to feel uncomfortable, then that is the issue: this clinging to a complex, confused illusion That seems very real. This uncomfortable feeling is merely the cosy dreamer not wanting to get out of bed!
In spiritual practice in the east, no one stands out: they are all individuals, but ordinary – not quite un-fabricated naturalness, but just ordinary. No one stands out. They have been in the Dharma for centuries with an ordinary, simple upbringing: it is their culture, and their life.
When we see westerners in spiritual practice, they are anything but ordinary. We are very alert, doing the Dharma, trying to get away from the traumas of our upbringing. Our individuality is very important to us. There is no problem with being different: we just have to recognise our natural patterning, and be ourselves and not ego-driven. The Buddha and Jesus both taught compassion, but in different ways.
We all have different capacities and behaviours, and have many reasons for being attracted to the Dharma. All of them are good! I write merely so that we may understand another’s behaviour, and not to feel obliged to copy them. Their wounds are their wounds, and ours wounds are ours.
I sometimes wonder if it is possible to know how someone else feels…precisely. Plus the difficulty of them being able to express how they fell. We all tend to generalise.
I spent years going to teachings, feeling good, going home and waiting for the next retreat. In fact, at some retreat, I’ve heard people say, “Can we just stay on here?” This is attachment to the Dharma: this is entertainment. Precisely because we all come to the Dharma for different reasons, it is difficult to really talk to one another. We learn a special jargon, and beads and protection knots are very important to us. We can get very touchy about our relationship to to the Dharma – it hasn’t become ordinary yet!
When western Buddhist meet, it seems to be better to smile, nod and move on in silence (that’s unless you want to join them in the tea room, name-dropping lamas they’ve met!).
The teaching are about one thing and one thing only: unfabricated naturalness. Nothing else. Of course, this can be worded in different ways, but it always comes down to uncontrived empty essence.
Filling our lives with another’s culture is just changing the coat of samsara. Many Tibetans are brought up in loving families, whereas many westerns are often brought up in trauma. These traumas are what we have to deal with: they are our manure. The beads and protection cords cannot do that for us.
In the west, many Buddhist are middle class, and relatively well-off. To follow the Dharma, we do need money, as courses are not cheap. The intentions of lamas are good, but they have commitments to support many nuns and monks, so you do the maths. And of course they are aware of the fascination westerners have with the exotic. It takes time to be ordinary. It takes time to drop the smugness.
The dharma has to work where we are, it’s what we have to deal with, while interacting with others who were brought up with similar traumas or mental wounds.
Filling one’s shrine with trinkets is well and good, but essentially, it is about the nature of mind, and not what is on the tabletop.
This blog is to enable you to go to Dharma centres and not be swamped by the possibly strange behaviours of others: you have enough problems already! It is all about unfabricated naturalness, and just being you. You do not have to act in any special way, but merely be respectful of others traumas.
They may cover up their traumas
but they are there!
Once we understand the simple,
we can be compassionate to the complex.
Compassion is very challenging.