Waking up to our potential.
This is an individual process for all of us. I thought I’d describe some personal experiences to illustrate what can happen, and maybe it will be of help 😉
After many years of prayer and meditation, I ended up more angry than when I started.
Then, one day, my teacher said,
“To enter the Vajrayana path we need:
(you could have knocked me over with a feather!)
Then, I had a problem with deity devotional practice (the antidote to pride, as pride stops progress.). My teacher said, “OK. You don’t have to do it.” Well, I wasn’t going to be told not to do something! Can you see how it worked?
This is the spontaneous presence of the teacher (a bit like ‘Karate Kid’… “wax on, wax off”). Suddenly I understood. Everything snapped into place. There was a realisation that the negative emotions were, in the first instant, essence wisdom. And, that demonic activity (human as well as non human) cannot touch pure empty essence, as there is nothing to get hold of, nothing to gain. They simply cannot deal with it.
Then, the greatest test was dealing with negative people for three years (of course, you don’t see many of them around here 😉 ). This gave me the chance to practise the six paramitas: generosity, discipline, patience, perseverance, meditation and transcendent knowledge. These disciplines cut through one’s own aggression, which has a knock-on effect. Gradually we wake up to the real Dharma.
Do you see how it can work?
It wasn’t books that did it. Nor was it my personal efforts (though motivation was present). It was the interaction with a genuine teacher and a genuine path. The teacher made no effort, but just remained in spontaneous presence…making seemingly casual remarks. My reactions did the rest.
There are four types of teacher: they all reveal the inner teacher, and cut through pride.
One’s main teacher is known as a root teacher, and is the one who shows you the nature of mind, without doubt. Then there is the scriptorial teacher (this could be a person or a text) who supports practice. These two teachers – the scriptorial and the root – together uncover the inner teacher, our own minds – the real teacher. From that point, we then understand the symbolic teacher of all situations – the whole of the phenomenal universe – relative truth which reflects the absolute truth of the insubstantiality of everything – emptiness.
All that is now needed is to function as a human, noting our reactions while not allowing them to create more karma, and thereby exhausting karma. It’s an ongoing process, moment to moment.
You can see how non-aggression works. Aggression only hurts us, and builds an ego. A me.