Thursday, June 07, 2007

do not seek an easy practice

Dear Readers,

I am going to have to ask some of you who have been around for a while to forgive me for repeating myself again and again...but I think it is time for another crack at post number 3. (sometimes I feel there are maybe five posts I just write over andover.....(1: get a teacher 2: yes you really need to bring this into your real life...and on and on a few more numbers.)

We seem to think there is a shortcut...that all we need do is to think the right thoughts, see the right things or even feel the right things......and if we read enough books by Thich Nat Hanh or the Dalai Lama then we can be just like them. But Thich Nat Hanh's practice was tempered in a real war zone with grenades and bullets, and the Dalai Lama was driven from his country that he was responsible for and watched those friends under his protection tortured and killed.

Those who pretend to walk around as holy as the Dalai Lama and have not had their practice tested as deep and as hard have no idea whether or not they could respond like he or Thay did to their life practice. The fact is ....none of us knows what will hold up when push comes to
shove...we can only hope we will have the strength to stand as these men have. They have what some of us call "street cred"(cred is short for credibility)......they have proved themselves in the toughest going......and we simply have not. Even though what the Dalai Lama faces in his daily life now seems like a piece of cake compared to what happened only seems so relatively. Without the hard stuff that went before...this is still the hardest thing we know....and if the hardest thing we know is living in the richest (or one of the richest) countries in the world ...then that is really not so hard after wonder it seems difficult to have to deal with a flat tire in rush is the worst thing to happen to us in ages.

When we have a practice that does not work even in the mildest of conditions to keep us on a stable footing on the path......then we lack "street cred".

The native American elder who I used to work with always says "If your religion does not grow corn...then it is useless". If when you are depressed and looking at that bottle of wine...or when your friends are over and you have a hard time saying no...and you wind up drunk on the
floor and in some trouble...then you lack the "street cred"....your religion does not work for you when the going gets rough...and what you are offering to others is a fraud. The problem is ...the only way to know if your way works when the going gets tough is to actually practice in some tough places. This does not mean that we need to deliberately seek out difficult has a way of handing us difficult things to deal with even in the nicest of places. What we need to
understand when we talk about how abused we were as a child..........we are not going to have much street cred with some 12 year old girl who has had her clitoris cut off and has been a sex slave for 6 years already in some third world we have to also
take a look at our credibility when we speak. We have to gain an understanding about the depth of our own practice and seek our own level and not try to preach to those who will not believe we have any credibility to speak to them.

The thing is......the more we have suffered, the more credibility we have when we talk about how to relieve suffering. The Dalai Lama and Thich Nat Hanh have a whole lot of street cred.....almost anyone wants to have the results of their practice....but no one wants to have to go through what they did to get it.....the problem is cannot borrow someone else's credibility is not yours to share or can only offer your own....and if what you have does not work in a warm apartment on a gloomy does not have much credibility to a pregnant child in a planned parenthood matter if you borrowed one of Thay's books to hand out ....or the latest wisdom from the Dalai Lama. I doubt even Thay would hand out one of his books in that situation ...even though he has more right to do so than we do.....he would probably sit down and hold a hand and stay till no one needed to hold a hand any longer. If he said anything it would probably be words of comfort....spoken in his own words directly to the heart of the person who's hand he holds.

So .......when push comes to shove ...and we are calm...and able to pass through it without getting stuck....then we gain a little credibility....and we then can help others through that particular situation.....because it is not the way that fails if we cannot is
us.....and no matter how well we negotiated the last trial...we still have no idea how well we will negotiate the next one....and we must, if we wish to lead others through it...inspire confidence in those we wish to lead. I do have faith through my practice that this way works in some
pretty tough you want one way that works......this is one.

I have had too good karma to have passed a test in a battle...or to have starved in a third world country.....I cannot really speak to post traumatic stress syndrome, or slavery, or even imprisonment. (though in my naivety I have tried in the past). This stuff we end up dealing with
here is basically a kindergarten practice.....I do not aspire to be the Dalai Lama because I do not wish to be tested as deep and hard as he was....I am fine with being a kindergarten teacher. I will never be great as these men because my karma is too good......a thing I am thankful for every day.

I was raised in a violent and abusive family father drank all the time and beat my mother almost as frequently; we were physically abused. Yet I lived in a free country in a warm house, with clothes to wear and an education for free within walking distance ........Compared to some in the world....this would have been the best childhood they could imagine.

It is not a surprise to me that compared to Thich Nat Hanh...I lack a little street some it seems a surprise to them that they do.

So...I do not care what you think ....I only care if you can walk your path through a little difficulty.....because compared to some..if you have a computer and access to electricity your difficulty is going to be little compared to theirs. If you cannot handle an email list, you
cannot handle life, and if you cannot handle life, you have no business in other people's business. So now you "have seen the light" about you go about and get a little street cred before you try and thrill an audience that has seen the same show before....before you comeon here and try to sound like the Dalai Lama about you demonstrate a little bit of his actual practice?....otherwise you come off as an actor playing a a con....a liar.......dishonest. If you do not talk about moon being moon with your not put it on here for just sounds fake because it is.

If all you can really talk about is how you could stub your toe and continue walking the path...then talk about that...and those who might stub their toes will benefit.....and you will have the benefit of sounding and being authentically what you are.

No..... I do not sound like a Japanese Zen master....I do not talk like the Dalai Lama...nor Thich Nat Hanh.......I never will........if you are looking for that....go someplace else...if you feel that is lacking here fine...but if you are going to say something say something
not borrow Thay's wisdom or the words of the Dalai Lama. Perhaps it would be better if you go off and develop a practice as tried and tested as Thay's and then bring your own wisdom here.....then we would honor it.........In case you have not noticed......we only pick on those who
try and come off like the Dalai Lama is their younger spiritual sibling after they have had a whole five minutes of insight, and little or no actual practice.

Interesting isn't it? Thich Nat Hanh had a teacher..the Dalai Lama had a teacher, Dogen, Bodhidarma, Nagarajuna and Ananda had a teacher....the Sixth Patriarch had a teacher....and for those in the know (a little esoteric secret here) even Shakyamuni had a teacher....he is the Sixth
name on my lineage chart....not the first.....seems a little bit....well ....arrogant to think we can get it by reading a book and pondering a bit on our own doesn't it?

All right...this got longer than I had planned it to....and maybe a bit of post #1 and post #2 got worked in there as well.....but I guess it is what it is. It took pretty much all my free time today to get this whipped into some sort of shape....the grandson was needy today.......what an honor to be the one who can offer comfort in a time of difficulty.....makes passing through a bit of difficulty yourself seem like a small price to pay.

Be Well