Others’ Spirituality: Hell or Realisation?
When we were young and wondering what life was all about, there were plenty of people to talk to – we speculated. When some of us moved into the realm of spirituality, there were fewer people to talk to, and we started to look for a path. This divided us even more.Having found a path (or the path found us), we discovered what we were looking for, but then like-minded people became even rarer. This may seem strange, but the more precise and less dogmatic we became, the fewer people we found to talk to…and this may even include our teachers.
Our path is our own confusion – not someone else’s. We may have similar problems to others but they may not be in the same configuration. We have different intensities in different areas, just like those synapses – the connecting pathways in the brain! We all react differently, and this is what we have to disconnect.
We may find talking to ‘ordinary’ people easier than talking to ‘spiritual’ people: this is because we are able to ‘generously’ allow ordinary people to be as they are. But when it comes to ‘spiritual’ people, it’s closer to home, and we get more touchy! This is a very important occasion – and highly irritating.
It is only we – or a Buddha – who can know our sensitive desires and aversions. There is a very easy test for these; just walk into a room full of ‘spiritual’ people, and note that we are attracted to some, aversed to others and ignore the rest…we all do this, even teachers. It’s a very exaggerated emotional situation unless we are totally blinkered and self obsessed. What happens is that we become ‘others’ obsessed. 🙂
Our path is our confusion. It is we that have to do the letting go, merely by recognising what is going on in our own mind. And that can be intensely irritating in itself. Guess who our best helpers are in this irritating matter – the heavenly beings or the hell beings? It’s those pesky spiritual hell beings who wind us up, that’s who!!! With the spiritual heavenly beings, our best friends, we puja, drink tea, smile and play games…and doze comfortably.
The hell beings know our every weakness and won’t leave us alone – that is the teacher, the irritating teacher. In this shock, we recognise. Remember, it was ‘Mara’ that finally helped the Buddha to enlightenment.
Enlightenment is not for the weak 😉
Until then, puja, drink tea, smile and play the game.
Teachers cannot know us unless they are a Buddha; we come from different backgrounds. Teachers can only give a generalised answer from text and they have too many students to answer people as individuals as there is never enough time available. Although we read about how vital the student/teacher relationship is, it doesn’t seem to manifest these days; it’s really more of an inspiration and not a marriage.
There are many different types of teacher. In response to our irritations and emotions, a teacher may suggest that we look first at our own minds. This is good advice. But in Dzogchen, they will explain that the irritation brightens the mind clearly, and that is our inner teacher – conscience – intuition – inner tutor – insight – mirror. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche describes this method in “Rainbow Painting”:
“In the beginning, if we have already recognised out nature even once, we have caught the scent of it. Once you get a ‘whiff’ of your nature, it becomes familiar, like someone you already know: you do not need to doubt who your friend is when you meet him. At this point, thoughts are liberated upon recognition, like the vanishing of a drawing on water.
“We can grow more and more accustomed to this fact through practice. Once the practitioner gains immediate recognition of the Buddha nature, there is no need to apply any additional techniques at all. This same moment a thought starts to move; the thought is liberated by itself. It is like a knot tied in a snake that does not have to be untied by anyone, because it unravels itself. This exemplifies becoming more stable in the training.
“Finally, the third analogy of liberating of thought is described as being like a thief entering an empty house. This is called stability or perfect training. A thief enters an empty house does not gain anything, and the house does not lose anything. All thought activity is naturally liberated without any harm or benefit whatsoever. That is the meaning of gaining confidence in liberation.”
As you can see, this is textual advice and it’s up to us to apply it…it does seem to work.
We have to sift through our own minds to discover what is, and is not, of value. This blog can only share, and it may or may not hit the spot because ultimately it’s down to you.