My name is Guru Dorje and I was a student of Losang Tsering. I have some trepidation in writing this because my Guru wrote the previous posts and started Dechen Ling Press, he translated the works, he kept it going, in fact, he put out 5 books in the 1.5 years that I knew him before he gave the teaching on impermanence and passed into the Dharmakaya. How he did this, I will never know until I have such realizations, especially if you followed his life, knew him, or just read a few of his previous blog posts. I have steeled myself to try to write here only because, I think, it would please him. Not with my erudition, writing skill, or even illustrating my weak practice and rather dull mind, but, I am hopeful, because of that.
What I mean by that is that, in many ways, I am very mediocre person, I have kleshas that would choke a pig, and I have regularly transgressed my vows. I am the basement of skill, in many ways, and I don’t mean that in some cultural way-for I am nominally Tibetan (born in Nepal but raised since I was 1 in the West). But let me be clear, just like all things are dependent, so too is my summation of my skill. It is dependent on who you measure yourself against, and I measure myself against multiple levels of beings, from the Buddha’s on down to strong practitioners, and even what my Guru manifested as observable skills-and he told me, now that I write this, explicitly, not to do exactly what he did, or think that I can do what he did, we all have our own personal pathways. He sometimes would do his prayers, and meditations, for hours and hours, and then run a nonprofit, manage his health, translate, etc. Though I measure myself against these greats, I know that I am not ‘them’, though, they are my aspirations to practice, even though, many did it in various different ways. Anyways, because I am just a beginner, because I am not some realized being, because I am a small, brown man who has many faults, but has also a sincere wish to not suffer, to not want others to suffer, who sincerely, as much as a small man can, wants all to be happy and hurts, deeply at times, at their suffering, and who is convinced, as much as a small man can be, that there are authentic paths to be able to be of ultimate use to beings which passes through the attainment of ending one’s own pain (amazing isn’t it?). And because I am much smaller than so many of you, perhaps all of you, I hope that my own journey and thoughts can be of use to you, that you can practice, that you can look at me and say, “that little brown man can do it, I can do it,” Or, “that foolish brown man, fake Tibetan, is doing it all wrong, let me show him how to do it”. For, we need you. I need you. The beings of all the times, of all the directions, limitless and boundless, weep for us to do it, for you to do it. And there are eternal Buddha’s and other Holy Beings, infinite in all space, even in our pores, that are all cheering us to do so, who are guiding us, helping circumstances arise for us to have the opportunity to do the right thing, manifesting as Guru’s and texts, and all manner of beings and things, and they are merged with us in such a profound and deep way, that we are never alone, we have never been alone, not even in the separation of Mind, we are infused with the Love of enlightened beings, and the Dharma shows us why this is and how we can attain this awareness of it to serve all our Mother sentient beings, which are all of them, every single one with unrelenting Love and unyielding Compassion. And we can do it, it is possible, and we can only get there if we try.
I hope I do not offend anyone and that my lack of skill is forgiven. I do this because, again, I think it would please my Guru. I will try to do it with a full heart, and as well as I can do it, and if it is garbage then throw it away. If it is of use, use it.
I read what I have written and I wish I was a better writer. But the last of what I wrote, about Holy Beings be infused with us, is amazingly true, not the writing but the statement. What is amazing is that it is not only realized through some sort of faith that requires us to turn off our inquiring/critical mind but it becomes clearer and more profound with this critical lens. Once we do it we see that what we arrive at is this truth of boundlessness, selflessness, and that it had to go through our critical minds the faith it gives rise to is stable and sound.
What came to me, very recently in my practice, was an idea that the expression of the Truth are the virtues, and the expression of Falsity are the kleshas. If we look at this from selflessness and selfishness, it becomes more easily illustrated, Love, in its purest, unattached form, is the wish for all beings to have every happiness, this is only possible when Selflessness is attained. We can use this for each one of them, Compassion, or the 6 Paramitas, namely the first 4 most easily, but the last two seem to me to be most authentic once we realize this Bodhisattva ideal (why do we want to concentrate so well, why do we want to achieve such wisdom, of course, for all sentient beings?)
To me it comforted me, made me want to rejoice, that the values that I hold so dear, the virtuous emotions perhaps we could say, are, in fact, True, that reason and then logic unearth that it is, in fact, true, that Love is an expression of Truth and not some imposed virtue upon a backdrop of dark selfishness, a symbolic shot at the dark that is doomed to flicker and fade away, which is what I was taught and bought into for so many years. Even when I did practice a virtue it was either slightly ashamed at being so foolish, or resigned to its foolishness but doing it anyways because it made my romantic mind feel better. I think that this is a common western mind set, because of many cultural reasons, that we believe that ‘bad’ or ‘sin’ is the ultimate reality and that the opposite of that are impositions, are weak stop-gaps that will be overrun eventually, and because of this we, I, have such anxiousness and sadness.
But it is not, if we ‘purify the ore’ of the dharma with our minds, and examine it, we find that it satisfies the mundane mind’s requirements for truth, at least my little one, and even though our culture, our world, directly opposes it through appearances and even through mundane practices, such as negative competition, etc. it does not make the dark falsity True. With further examination we see that this facade of our kleshas, in our systems etc. are only maintained by monumental effort, for it must, it is not authentically rooted in the Truth and so it must become more and more complex to reify its position, it must be reified and accepted by us over and over again, in each moment of ignorance we reify this total non-existent.
That is why, I think, the Samsara is ‘torn to shreds’ once we doubt its existence. It doesn’t stand up.
When I can do this authentically, my mind swells in a deep, peaceful happiness. It feels like carbonated bubbles flowing through me and they pop in little small explosions of tickling joy. I am not too much for elaborate ecstasies, but a real smile rises upon my face. To know that my mind can see the Truth of a limitless, unbounded Love, is amazing, truly. That I have a mind that can do this is Amazing. That I have met and studied with a Guru that has taught me how to do it systematically and rooted in traditions that are hundreds and sometimes thousands of years old and have produced so many saints who love the world so much, that love me, and you, and all that creeps and swims, and crawls, and every being that we cannot see, as deeply as Mother loves her own child, who has no thoughts of themselves, in fact, that thought is completely extinguished. That I can see this Truth emanate out from a space where I do not have to turn off my mind and just ‘believe’ is satisfying and comforting.
That I have a family who loves me, a wife who loves me, people that I can serve and be patient with, I have work that aligns with the my practice, and that I live in a land where the waters are not blackened into a frothy cauldron of pollution (like in Nepal where I was born) and I can drink clean water, where I can read texts that have been translated into English that were so rare that the vast majority of Tibetans never got to read them, my Guru published practice texts that are precise and clear, that he learned conversational Tibetan in 4 months and then taught himself classical Tibetan enough to translate, that I can hear Lama Zopa Rinpoche, my beloved Guru’s beloved Guru, teach on Youtube, I can read Lama Yeshe’s beautiful teachings on the Lama Yeshe’s Wisdom Archive, along with other teachers like the beautiful Lama Tegchok (whose book Insights into Emptiness I am reading and am blown away by), and their wonderful, beautiful students, like Venerable Thubten Chodron, Venerable Steve Carlier, and all the other students of these giants of Buddhism, all do enlightened, kind, and good activity, that there are schools my children can go to, that there is food and access to pleasurable activities (in moderation!)…rejoice! Rejoice! For the Buddha has spoken and he continues to speak with the lips of our Gurus, and this is not a memory that they speak of, they speak with the mind of the Buddha, in the texts, it is the Buddha, the words, the Buddha, and there is a pathway to honor all of them, to lead those that need leading, and there is Meaning. And we have everything a being could want, many of us, in order to attempt the peaks, if not now, when? So many have taken up this call, I prostrate to them.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!!! For we are in the human experience and the Dharma is alive! The Guru’s are here, as wondrous as being alive when the Bhagavan walked the lands of India, Goodness, kindness, love, compassion, and a great bliss existence is not only our birthright, it is reality. Because this is so let us Serve to find it for all sentient beings and bring them to this Bliss themselves, let us do it with the resolve, each of us, to do it ourselves, and then lets us combine this resolve, this powerful resolve, into a community dedicated to the ending of Samsara for all sentient beings…Rejoice!