I have decided to recount some of my adventures here for your enjoyment(and comments if you like). Way way back in 1992 when I was a young dharma warrior, I had the amazing fortune to spend the best part of a year studying and spending time with Dzongsar Khyentse Rimpoche. I was in Asia with Gesar, my dear long lost partner in chaos, attempting to study the dharma from the boss (and smoke a few joints with G along the way- but thats another issue not for today).
Anyway, the daily activity for most of that time was a lesson from rimpoche through the schools of buddhist dialectics, starting with the most basic, then working our way through the entire body of buddhist schools. At night, G and I had to summarize the point of the morning lecture, then debate in front of rimpoche or with him. If we got it wrong, it meant the same lesson the next day.
What an amazing experience, and one I will not easily forget. Nevertheless, my momentary bliss was interrupted by another new student of Rimpoches, whom I shall call Mr x. Mr x had some interesting ideas about the dharma, and the origins of his birth, but was as keen as I was. Due to his interesting ideas, Rimpoche asked G and I ‘to look after him’. This meant he tagged along to everything we did, and was around all them time, and for me and G became a source of annoyance, so I at least spent most of my time making his life difficult.
One fine day, Rimpoche says that G and I are going with him to the monestary in Bir, and Mr x begged us to come along. The poor guy had to endure being shoved in the luggage area of a Suzuki maruti jeep, where he sat for about 10 hours. He begged me to swap places with him several times, but I just ignored him. I was pissed that my little world had an ‘invader’ so to speak. This time was for G and me!
Eventually, I relented ( after being asked by rimpoche) and crammed myself in the back, where I proceeded to get ill rather quickly. I only had to survive about two hours of this torture before we finally reached the monastery, only to find more dharma groupies there waiting for the boss.
I was in a rather antisocial mood, so proceeded to sulk in my room.
I didnt know what I was feeling. I was in the middle of my ngondro( prelimenary practices for vajrayana buddhism) at the time, and as some of us know, this can really stir things up. Suffice to say that my compassion levels were running on empty… and I was furious. At what, I didnt clearly know.
Later that evening, Rimpoche sent a monk to come and get me to go over to his house. I refused to go, but eventually made my way over there. Rimpoche was in the middle of holding court, entertaining his guests, which, as far as I could see at that time, involved his students kissing his ass, turn by turn, telling him how great he was, and agreeing with everything he said, and laughing at all his jokes. Rimpoche was also being so kind and loving to Mr x. Well, that was the straw that broke this camel’s back. Needless to say, Rimpoche knew exactly what I was feeling at the time, and had been watching me all day. I was definitely not in the mood for such frivolous activities, and stormed back to my room. This made it apparent to everyone that I was in one hell of a mood. Rimpoche sent another person to come and get me again, and my reply was a curt ‘…. you.’
That night I lay in bed, totally out of control. What was going on? I couldnt figure out why I was so angry. I felt hurt, emotional, totally egotistic. It was a sleepless night. Somewhere in the middle of it, I had a revelation. I had been making this guy (Mr x) miserable for weeks. Why?
I suddenly remembered one of the lessons I had had with Rimpoche where he had talked about sacred outlook. It is one of the fundamental concepts for leading the boddhisattva way of life, and in non buddhist terms, is just a thought to remember when leading a human life. For me, it was still just a concept, and not a reality. Suddenly, I had a glimpse of what it might be about.
To explain it simply, I had made a religion of judging this poor guy and making his life miserable. The very things that pissed me off about him were qualities that I myself had. His thirst for knowledge. His desire to be with my guru. His desire to fit in. His desire to be loved. His desire to know. What was making me angry was that I was looking at myself in a mirror and I didnt like it at all.Who was I to judge anyone?
Reality was, and still is to this day, a reflection of my current state of mind.
Suddenly, humility was reborn again, and I realised what an utter ass I was and had made of myself in front of everybody. And how cruel I had been. Me the super buddhist.
Next morning came, and I could barely show my face as you can imagine. The inevitable call came to take my lazy butt over to see the boss. When I arrived, guests were being shown some amazing objects- Yeshe Tsogyals bell, Jyamyang Choki Lodro’s mandala plate. Yep, I felt like shit again. Rimpoche looked at me and said rather perceptively- ‘you look like shit.’
He dismissed the others and suggested we go for a walk. He said to me ‘ you have no idea how to be angry with me, no idea how to be angry’. And he was right. He asked me if I had anything to say, and I replied ‘ if you expect me to kiss your ass like that bunch did last nite, you can forget it.’ His response was a smile and ‘good.’
It was the look in his eye that said it all to me. He knew that I had changed, without saying a word. He knew I had started to learn the lesson of sacred outlook myself. I saw a look of enormous trust and love in his eye that I can still remember. He had watched me go through this journey myself, and had given me the space to figure it out on my own, then turn around and continue on like nothing had happened.
Nothing really had happened- except to me.
Even today, when I walk down the street and catch myself making a judgement about something or somebody, I stop and ask myself- who am I to judge? Who is making the judgement? For me, sacred outlook means- life is a mirror. The very things i choose to judge are mere reflections of myself or my own state of mind. The wisdom and constant lesson in life for me is to just learn to let them be as they are- perfect.