Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hearing It vs. "Getting" It

I don't know how many times I've recited a prayer about achieving enlightenment on the behalf of all sentient beings. And yet, there's been something selfish and self-centered about my spiritual practices. I could sense that they were being motivated by a desparate desire to "save" my own skin. But I didn't know how to unseat this desire.

Then one day last week, I was reading Deshung Rinpoche, who was talking about Mahayana and how compassion for all sentient beings should motivate our practice. And it dawned on me: "Wait...when I'm sitting, I'm supposed to be sitting for all sentient beings. When I recite mantras, I'm reciting them for all sentient beings. When I practice Chenrezi or White Tara, I'm practicing for all sentient beings!" I knew all of this - intellectually. But it wasn't until that moment that it became an emotional and psychological truth for me.

This is why lamas and teachers often repeat the same instructions over and over. They're waiting for that beautiful, ineffable, unpredictable moment when everything lines up just right in our psyche, and we "get" it in a single flash of insight. This is why paying attention to our teachers is critical, even when we believe we've heard it all before.

Comments:
:) Jigdral Dawa, glad to hear about your 'flash of knowing' on the emotional level! Now it is a matter of making that affective knowing stay with you "off the cushion," which I think is a challenge even for people who have been at it for years. If you can sit in gridlocked traffic, get insulted by a coworker, and have a root canal "for all sentient beings", then my friend, you are a Bodhisattva!! :) hehe...

Best wishes, and thank you for sharing your wonderful moment of insight.
 
Thanks, friend. :)

It seems to be about adding a piece at a time. On the plus side, since I've started carrying my mala with me, I've seemed to have gotten the gridlock thing licked. (Which, given that we live in Seattle, is a HUGE stress reliever.)

Thanks for stopping by!
 
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