Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Naviagating the Perils of Hubris

I no longer frequent web forums. Over the course of years I have come to realize that they are little more than vomitoriums. Every time I logged on to one I left feeling as if someone had barfed on my shoes. Which is reason enough not to go there.

When someone came to me yesterday with information about another Lama (and no I won’t tell you who that person is, because that would be tasteless and distract from the point of the essay) who was making false accusations about my teacher on a public web forum. I have to admit I was a bit irked, and shocked, because one doesn’t expect to see that sort of behavior from someone who claims to be a high Lama and a Tulku.

It was a tremendous temptation to join that forum, pounce upon the Lama as well as his students and defend my teacher to the death. But it wasn’t the right thing to do. I was aware of that  and didn’t indulge those particular impulses. It might have made me feel good to vent on that forum, fling accusations the same way an angered chimp flings shit, but what would doing so have accomplished? Nothing.

H.H. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama once said anger is a useless emotion. I happen to agree with his assessment. But anger has to go somewhere. You can’t hold onto it, otherwise it will manifest into the burning sensation of an ulcer or escape like toxic fumes through your actions, upsetting everyone around you. Instead of indulging in rage and hubris, I chose instead to put those emotions to work, the way Lama Jigme taught me.

I went to my altar, blessed this particular Lama as well as his students; prayed for their good health and fortune. I put my rage on the path of liberation by taking away the anger of the universe, and giving everyone, including myself, peace. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to let it all go. It was far more fulfilling than flinging emotional poo.

One of the books Lama Jigme has me read on a daily basis is Dilgo Khyentse’sThe Heart of Compassion”, which is a commentary upon Gyalse Nulchu Thogme’s “Thirty Seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva”. This morning’s reading took me to the fifteenth verse, where it is written:

If even in the midst of a large gathering

someone exposes my hidden faults with insulting language,

to bow to him respectfully, sincerely regarding him as a spiritual friend

is the practice of a bodhisattva
.This particular Lama’s actions made me think deeply about how I should treat others, how I should never judge, or fall prey to fear or arrogance or elitism. I learned quite clearly, that my actions are a reflection upon my teacher. Without ever speaking to me, this particular Lama taught me a valuable lesson on how NOT to deal with anger hubris and fear. How could I ever repay such kindness?

So I respectfully bow to this fellow, and regard him as a spiritual friend who had just pointed out a very nasty obstacle upon my path to enlightenment. To you, sir, I thank you.
May you be healthy and happy.


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