On Hope and Fear

Although Buddhists seem to try to stay away from hope and fear, there are deeper ways of looking at these primary emotions.

Whenever we Buddhist Lamas talk to each other, there always seem to be some mention of hope and fear and moreover, staying away from those. The hidden truth is that most Lamas, until they have completely purified all delusion, have some projects they are associated with. They build, educate and serve for the future generations. If they care at all, then by definition they have some hope and hopes can be dashed.

But there is something even deeper at work here that we should look at. My teacher, Kunsang Dorje Rinpoche, said to me once: “People always ask me to pray for this and that, etc. and offer me money to do such prayers. But they never hand me money and say: “please stay in awareness” Why is that do you suppose?”

Oddly, when I simply rest in my present nature, I don’t think much about anything. But very little happens in my outer world and few people come to visit when I do that. It’s almost as if people do not speak that language of the present moment, unless, for some reason, you are brought together in the same time and place. In essence, people do most of their communication using the vocabulary of their hopes and fears.

Their energy resides primarily either in the right or left channel and it is through the language of hope and fear that they traverse their lives. This naturally makes people fairly vulnerable to promises for the future as well as threats. The central channel is mostly obscured by bewilderment and confusion and so it only functions as a way for us to shut down and avoid assessments and calculations. Hence, although the central channel is the place where Yogis and Yogis try to establish their Rigpa or primordial awareness presence, it is not really an effective communication tool when dealing with the masses.

Trained Yogis and Yoginis therefore employ the vocabulary of the two channels in their purified states of clarity and bliss, discriminating wisdom and mirror-like wisdom respectively. Even Jesus said: “I despise you because you are neither hot nor cold” This refers to his impatience with indecisiveness as dullness and indecision are failures in true communication. It is far better from a spiritual point of view to pick a side. Get angry or seek bliss.

A teacher very close to me named Max Palar, said to me: “The world needs hope so please offer hope to the world”. At the time I thought it a bit strange but today I can clearly see that hope is in fact a true medicine for our current world situation. Hope that we can and will live another day and that we can if we all try, find a way to improve situations and better the lives of those we come into contact with, one way or another. So, I offer hope to everyone despite what some may feel the odds are for our species. There is always a way.

This was written by an olympic hopeful, who although not caught by too much excitement or led by bad news, believe in the resilience of our race.