Friday, May 05, 2006

It's All Good !

I remember very clearly my new boss at a company telling me (upon my finding out that he was a Buddhist and asking him what practices he does), that he doesn't practice, that he's taking a 'holiday' in this life, and that he'll practice in the next life. It struck me at the time that he was amazingly confident that he'd get the chance to meet with and practice Dharma again. Having come from a Christian upbringing, the notion of rebirth, and of karma, were still 'hot' topics for me, and in those early days I had the 'fervour' of a new convert! I remember my own criticism of him for being complacent, and of wasting this precious opportunity in this life. That would have been fine, but there was quite a bit of self-righteousness in me at that time, and pride too.

I guess looking back I still suspect that he was just rationalising his 'laziness' rather than being confident in a good rebirth, based on the knowledge of his ethical practice. But who knows?

For myself, it always strikes me when you read texts such as 'The Jewel Ornament of Liberation' how clear they are that being born as a Human or a God is a very rare occurance indeed. Gelug texts seem to especially emphasise this. I've yet to read a text which suggests that it's easy to be born human again without much effort in the practice of ethics and meditation.

Yet how often do I get sucked in to 'wordly' activities, and find myself thoroughly engrossed in them, accepting them as solid and real, and finding myself attached to those objects of the senses?

And all the while life ebbs away, the time of my death comes closer, and the time left to practice becomes shorter and shorter!

Underneath, there must be part of me that thinks that Samsara is not too bad, that my rebirth will be ok, and that I've plenty of time left to both indulge myself, *and* to somehow 'catch up' with practice :-)

Sometimes I'm involved in things, and I see them for what they are (at least to a degree anyway) ... and movements of the mind, swirling appearances which move and melt. And I let them lightly pass through, with minimal attachment. Yet other times I'm sucked in, and lose perspective .... believing all these mirages to be 'real' and then just play the game of 'want' and 'not want'.

Gampopa says that those who think it'll all be fine, and that they'll get a good rebirth for sure are simply attached to Samsara's pleasures.

What strikes me about this is two things ... firstly, that it's through being attached to aspects of our existence which 'seem' to be not too unpleasant, we then decide that actually we don't need to make so much effort, as it's not so bad here really! ... and then, secondly, that assuming it's fine, that we'll be reborn as a human or god, well that assumes again that those rebirths are good places in themselves to be, and that aiming for a good rebirth is a worthy use of this life (rather than aiming for Enlightenment in this very lifetime).

Perhaps my favourite aphorism in Dharma (I don't know where it comes from, or which master says it first) ... describes the pleasures of Samsara, and the attachment to them, as being like

licking honey off a razor's edge

How true!

All the time we grasp at pleasures it seems sweet indeed ... but we don't see what that does to us, and how ignorance grasping after seemingly solid objects takes us away from minds nature, and the state of liberation.

Hmm ... just some reflections .... as they come out ....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Much enjoying your musings here, Chodpa. Admiring your honesty and clarity, and wishing for the morning when you wake up and remember -- there is no enlightenment. The final straw.

Wishing for everyone, minds and no-minds. Wishing for myself. Knowing it is only a matter of time. Or not?

It's all bound to end sometime, and I bet it's going to keep ending, over and over again. Not the same thing, not the same world, not the same set of sense perceptions, but at the base of the experience of stopping, something remains the same. Something that keeps stopping. Something that is not something, something that can never be framed in perception, yet is constantly perceived in one angle after another. All those fragments of mind, pulling attention in so many directions, all of them part of that same something, the one big something that is always going on, yet not quite real. All of it perceived, but not by anyone in particular. This must be me, I might think, losing my grip again. But it will return, and the settling down will be final. In the center is the changeless background. It never fails.