Feb end 2018
Here we are at the beginning of yet another year. We are one year older and we have one year less to live. Hopefully we are one year wiser but now, from my perspective, I have one year less to offer care for the next generations. On this day just before my tour to Europe, I feel inspired or pressured to leave my Dharma Friends and Bodhivastu community with some issues to reflect on.
For me, one of the main driving factors in what I choose to do and what I feel needs to be a focus of mine in this short life, is that I have taken the words and examples of my teachers more or less literally. This may not seem like a loaded statement but it is. Some of my teachers have been very solid flawless examples of what we think conduct should be like from a Holy being. For example, H.H. Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche, and The Lord of Refuge, Chadral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche, etc. , while some of my teachers were far more unconventional. They were the types of teachers you read about from the past that break many social conventions and communicate something beyond our normal conceptual constraints. Having been influenced by both types, I therefore find myself nursing two animals inside me and wondering how they can sit side by side in the same stable. Moreover, both of these animals have their points to make which are valid and necessary and so both need their own time and space to dance their own dances.
In the wake of several social upheavals that seem to spin out from Dharma centers and Guru-disciple nuclear fallout, I reflect on our times in general. We live in a time when on the one hand, strong so-called religio-ethical behavior is being held aloft as the rock hard pinnacle of how people should be. The demonic energy is so high that witch-hunts have now supplanted what were yesterday’s tailgate beer parties. And it is very common moreover, that those who extol the strictest ethics are the ones who are doing the most unthinkable behaviors in their hotel rooms as they migrate from podium to podium across the country. As the ethics rise higher and higher to the mouth, so do the shadows well up in the groin and the dark web.
Our country is divided, our brains are divided and our bodies are also divided and many have become deeply ill. This is the demonstration of “disintegration”. In Vajrayana this has typically been called “Degenerate times”. Disintegration naturally means we all seek integration. And this means integrity. Some of my teachers sought integrity by not being hypocrites. They bravely followed whatever arose in their minds and acted without regard to the projections of others. Some appeared to be more conservative and seemed to be far more concerned with the fact that they represented Dharma. As soon as we don Dharma clothing and draw a line in the sand and dare to call ourselves Lamas, one must be ready to face the storm of scrutiny against the backdrop of such a tall claim. Upholding the Dharma is not easy, but despite all my human failings too numerous to be held between any limited number of pages, I feel deeply called to follow the example of my teachers, regardless of how impossible it may seem in today’s situation. I do it knowing that nothing will ever “measure up” but knowing that at the end of the day I only have my own motivation and actions to answer to. This is a relief and I can die with far less regret as a result of this configuration within myself.
Guru Rinpoche has said that in the future degenerate times, that Yogis and Yoginis should move around not staying in any one fixed location. Although some people probably like me simply because I seem to be stable with a family etc. I remain suspicious of becoming attached to anything that appears to be permanent. I am terrified by domesticity more than by the worst horror movie where everyone gets chopped up into little pieces. So now, so that I don’t get too comfortable, I let go once again and venture forth to go “on a teaching tour” to several countries in Europe. I will initially be graced by people’s pure perception at each place and before the realities of my flaws become evident, I will hit the road while the going is still good. Hopefully I will not outstay my welcome anywhere. My teachers have told me that in fact, nobody really wants a Ngakpa hanging around. In Tibet, having a Ngakpa in your house is only for when things have gone very wrong and you wish to call upon a technician, like a plumber, to fix it. They should bend down under the sink, show their ass crack for a few minutes, and then get the hell out of the house before God sees what has been requested / enacted or before the spouse returns home. People like their homes to be sanitary and predictable even if stagnation and misery is the outcome.
This is the lot of Ngakpas of old in a context where their employ was understood in a certain manner. But regardless of the fact that I am called upon time to time to fix peoples' plumbing, (these days it is more like fixing peoples' nuclear spills), I hope I can be of better use to help people fix their own disintegrated minds. I am dying to find people ready to take responsibility for all their projections and reign in their winds. I hope to either find or make the daytime stars they refer to in the texts.
I am just a piece of clay. One can tell that from my birth name Adam which means red earth or clay or Man. I just happen to have been exposed to an enlightened contagion at the feet of my teachers. The main challenge I face is how to maintain the true authentic Vajrayana while I communicate its relevance for our modern times in modern language. So if you wish to understand me I would like you all to consider very deeply that the teachings of the Vajrayana may not and will not fit within the predictable framework you have come to know, love and imitate. Going on an external witch-hunt will not soften the shadows of your browser history, which we will all soon have access to for a price. So don’t fool yourself, we are all naked to someone somewhere. We are wearing the emperor’s new clothes and we are naked like it or not. Recognizing this is the first step in re-integration, the move towards integrity. Integrity may not be synonymous with being perfect mind you. It just means there might be a tad less hypocrisy in our view, meditation, and action. This is not an unworthy short term goal, at least for this life.
For those of you who wish to ignore the implications of this, happy witch-hunting. I am 100% certain you will come home with your baskets filled to the brim with witches to burn. But hopefully, with only a modicum of reflection, all will come to see that the Vajrayana is an inside job. The pure vision you dare to generate is your own pure mind and cannot be taken away by any external witch.
This was written by one called Man, Son of Peace at birth. May my guise which alternates between peaceful and wrathful expressions, stir things up enough to please my teachers who gave their lives for Dharma while I happened to be sitting there at their Lotus feet despite my base tendencies.