Pema: I think the
important thing is, What do you say to yourself? Right now. Do you feel
Student: No, no.
Pema: It's all right
if you do.
Student: No, no, it
doesn't at all.
Pema: So, why not?
Student: Because I
feel like I'm helping.
Pema: And how?
Student: That I'm
changing my perspective and realizing I have something to give, I have
something positive to give.
Pema: So, that's
what you could say to them. All you can say is, Well, listen, I can
understand where you're coming from, but herešs my experience. It's
opening the heart to where you usually shut down. Because we all know,
there's this common practice where you breathe in what's pleasant, and
send out what's unpleasant. Right? I think that's a common visualization
thatšs done. From the point of view of logic, that's what we want,
right?, if you want to be happy, you breathe in what's pleasant, and you
get rid of . . .
Tonglen is actually just a
little more sophisticated. A little bit more in touch with what the root
of suffering and the root of happiness are. It isn't like the other is
"off the wall." It's just that if you want to go deeper into the real
root of suffering, it's closing down, and the real root of happiness is
opening the heart, or dissolving the armor.
We just go right into that
which we usually armor against. And, conversely, when therešs attachment
or addiction, we train in letting go of those things. It doesn't have to
do, really, with morality or ethics, per se, at all. It just has to do
with what brings an individual happiness. And what then brings happiness
to the bigger picture as well. But, it is good for us to do this, that's
the interesting thing.
We're not doing it because
we want everyone else to be happy, therefore we're willing to
suffer--although sometimes the teachings do sound like that. But, the
truth is, it's what will also bring us happiness.
It takes courage, that's
why the image of the warrior or the bodhisattva-- warrior or bodhisattva
are two names for the same thing-- it's the one who cultivates courage.
Because it does take courage to go to reside with this kind of energy--
you want to get away from it. Whether you know what the core fear, core
belief, is or not, you know what that energy feel like.
And you know you want to
get out of there.
And then you begin to
acknowledge your thoughts--like all the ways you get out of there: it's
her fault, it's his fault, it's because of me, I'm bad. . . endless.