True Devotion, Why A Spiritual Relationship
Posted 29 March 2009 - 10:08 AM
I was watching sometimes ago Tsem Tulku on you tube, and one of his videos was about Guru disciple relationship. I found it relating to some of my experiences, and the emotional/enlightening way he uses to expose it is very interesting.
Especially when he mentions the part about people taking His Holiness as their Guru.
Of course it seems obvious that if you decide to have a guidance with a Guru which is far from you it doesn't mean much. It's like learning how to drive with a teacher who is in another country and whom you will meet once a year for 20 minutes...
But what about this emotional turmoil one might get because of the Guru relationship he is into? It's really diffcult sometimes and while we feel our buttons getting pushed what shall we do? Running away might sometimes seem a good option, but only at the peak of emotions Withdrawing makes un start almost from scratch everytime. Bearing the heat seems the most effective, but can be so tiring ...
What is the best way to react and what to do, are there some guidelines what to do or avoid? And if we turn away from this relationship because we get emotionnaly unbalanced is there any way we can still progress?
Thank you for your answers,
Other Replies To This Topic
Posted 30 March 2009 - 05:00 PM
One can put all the efforts into this...but if it can't go....maybe through time it will go by continuing devoting...maybe at some level it becomes clear what area is to be deepened with that master...maybe a different Master will be the one you will trust to go through major lessons. At the same time I still believe one is able to percieve the level of ones own trust into a certain Master and then by making the practices strenghtening this notion one can take lessons that are need to transform disciple's mind. So I also think what without making the neccessary practice to support this connection, lessons do have a limited effect, but still karmic connections with our Masters do matter.
Again...this is my limited view...and having the limited view I need to relly on the spiritual Master I have trust that can lead me on a broad level. And if I did not recognize that trust yet, then I can be guided only to a certain level.
Posted 30 March 2009 - 09:56 PM
Anton, in this relationship with a Master, there are several pitfalls to avoid.
The first and main pitfall is probably to base all our decisions on our disturbed emotions.
From that, we will choose a Master not on basis of qualities and benefit, but on how he pleases our ego. I even met a nun who told me that she became nun because she fell in love with her Master! And then she was following him everywhere...
If the master can be Tibetan, it is even better; it looks more authentic. If the organization is international, wonderful, we join a family may be we never really had before. If the Lama is super famous, that's the top, we become "disciple of"! As if being disciple of automatically improves our mind...
The second pitfall is related to another side of our ego.
It is so much easier to take as Master whom we will see once a year, or less. No risk that way that he will point out our mistakes in our daily life and practice! Very convenient.
Like someone who would say that his Guru is His Holiness the Dalaà¯-Lama, on the basis how having listened to His teachings and eventually to have met Him once! Or with Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche. Or with His Holiness Karmapa. Such Masters are so busy that we get to meet them 10 or 15mn in personal interview every year at the best, or much less. When we meet with them, we tell them mostly the nice things of our practice and situation, and we get some advises on this basis, with few practices may be to do. The rest of the time we will lead happily our little life, comforting our ego, and keep our past negative patterns.
If further than that, convinced that the local Dharma Center doesn't provide the type of study which we like (ie. which pleases our ego), and influenced by a missionary type of Dharma Incorporation (American style usually), we end up becoming director, coordinator, or leader of a local project or group, then our ego doesn't feel itself anymore! And this on the basis of what we wanted to hear, because these Holy Masters never make mistake (we can add that sometimes, they give advises to do things which will bring sufferings so we can understand how dull it was; as we wouldn't understand otherwise).
The main question here is: how will we really progress then?
We choose a Master on the basis of his realization, of his abilities to guide people, his knowledge, on qualifications exposed in the Lamrim, and also on how he will be able to guide us closely on the path, knowing our life, our patterns, etc. He will then be able to point out our mistakes very regularly, making us to correct our practices, our thoughts, and to progress.
But the latter, we don't like so much ie. to be pointed out our mistakes! So, we run away. As we have always done. Since lives and lives. But this, our ego doesn't really care...
Doesn't really care about the impact of what we will do of our newly based ego activity - since "I" like this, since "I" feel good, since "I" interpret this and that as a sure sign that "I" am doing the right thing.
Doesn't really care about Bodhicitta neither - since, if we don't progress, we won't help the other efficiently, and even might bring some confusion...
And when you speak about the above, the "well-thinking" people will look at you from the side, immediately saying to the others how much you are gossiping, lacking wisdom, may be even jealous?!
But, let me think... Isn't Buddhism about dealing with our ego? Working on humility, simplicity? So, we should be more afraid of a Master always kind with us, for we can't really progress this way! Read the stories of past Masters, from Naropa, Tilopa, Milarepa, etc... And make your choice.
My prayers go sincerely to the people who fall in these mistakes, for it is a prejudice for them, and eventually for others. I pray my above words won't ever be misinterpreted as an attack against anyone or anything else than this poisoning ego which undermine our practice. I pray Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that they can open their Dharma eyes as quick as possible, and see that the goal is Peace, mental quietness, Bodhicitta, renunciation, and Wisdom.
All the best
"For as long as space endures, And as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide, To dispel the misery of the world." (Arya Shantideva)
Posted 31 March 2009 - 06:32 AM
Posted 05 April 2009 - 11:42 AM
Mmmmmmm - there is a saying: "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." In my humble experience this is true indeed, so we don't need to travel the world to find our teacher, and try to postpone that moment by not being able to travel, or tell ourselves we aren't ready to go looking.
But Anton is right with the question about the emotional turnoil - because even following the teacher when s/he appears in front of our nose requires courage and determination. That is the test - how strong is really our wish to walk the spiritual path, help others etc.? Because these ideas also sound nice and pleasing to the ego, so some people maybe have these notions in their mind because they like looking at themselves in the mirror and feeling that they are "good" people. But to really follow the path, a little bit more is needed. One thing is also to give up one's own image of "good" person, and the kind Teacher is there to help us with this and other bitter steps.
Then, one doesn't "lose" a Teacher. Maybe we could say that one loses one's determination and courage to follow the Teacher. If the initial motivation was right, so we really wish to help other beings, then this is not so likely, because our emotions will be less important for us than this goal.