L a m a . J i g m e . R i n p o c h e

Part 2


So most of the time an incident might be trivial, but if we do not see it truly for what it is, it can be very dangerous. Fighting ignorance is not like starting a war. It is simply opening our eyes to notice the little things that, if not recognised, might become problematic and dangerous for others and ourselves.

We have a tendency to want everything right now. After hearing the teachings, we think that we have the keys, but somehow they don't fit. We may then turn away without considering our own efforts and input. For example, as in the case of the splinter, even though I knew that it would not get worse, it would still be painful for some time. Thus we need to develop an attitude of being relaxed while doing what is necessary. It may take time, but improvement will gradually come. The danger here is the tension we experience while waiting for a result. In fact, such anxiety actually slows or blocks the improvement. Whatever we do, it is done better in a relaxed way. If we rush, it will take longer.

During our attempt to decrease our suffering, we must not exclude other people. They are essential to our success because through them we build up our strength of awareness. When we meditate, we have a clearer mind, but when we come out of our practice and face others, we find that we have not improved that much. Meditation makes us more sensitive to others around us. When we are alone, there is no problem, but when facing other people, our emotions will surface. It is in our experiences with other people that we find fuel for improvement. If we want to have enduring results, we have to strike a balance between being with others and our solitude. The attitude to develop is a reasonable balance of reaction and acceptance. There is no pre-established standard. Through our interaction with other people we will improve, but each of us has to find our own limits.

The key is to be aware so that we can see things clearly and dispense with any preconceived points of view which only cloud perception. We want to recognise what is really taking place. Every time we look, we find "ego grasping." It is the first movement of our consciousness. We all have this first reaction of, "I perceive." At the base of any experience is ego grasping which is the root of suffering. When we discover this ego grasping there is a tendency to fight it. The point is not to fight it but to recognise it, directly or indirectly perceiving it: I want," which is desire, or, "I don't want," showing our aversion, or, I don't care," our ignorance. All the emotions are due to ego grasping, a dualistic mode of perception, "I" and "others." It produces much suffering yet we cannot get rid of it by waving a magic wand. It is interesting to look at the ego grasping in any experience, and to start working with it.

The term, -disturbing emotions" is merely a label. In fact, when we do examine these emotions, we will see mental events, images, sensations, etc. and not know to what they correspond. Take, for example, the study of botany. We first gain understanding of the connection between flowers and fruits, how they grow, and the sequence corresponding to the seasons. In the same way, we first gain awareness and then understanding of the "disturbing emotions" and "ego grasping." Generally, we only investigate or question ourselves when something has gone wrong or we are not happy. When we are happy, we don't do anything. At the base of our consciousness, there is the ego grasping, "What I like, what I don't like, I don't care, etc." The more we know about ourselves, the better our chance of liking and accepting ourselves. Ego grasping is also the root of pride, jealousy, and the other disturbing emotions. Slowly and gradually we will realise that ego grasping pervades all of our experience. We will see our jealousy and pride. In the example of botany, this is like seeing the seed or the sprout. If we want to get rid of the plant, it is easier to get rid of the sprout.

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