Friday, August 31, 2007

Lesson 14 - Trouble Makers

Today I will try to relay a wonderful teaching given by Pema Chodron. Have you ever thought what do "Trouble Makers" in my life have to do with my spiritual development? You should know that in the Vajrayana tradition when you really start working closely with a teacher, that teacher becomes the greatest troublemaker in your life. The Rev Rimpoche is famous for a quote "the job of a spiritual teacher and friend is to insult you". If you ask why that is so it is because in order to become a completely loving person, a flexible person, you have to see where you are "hookable". You have to see where your shempa arises so that you can work with it. So in the Vajrayana tradition there is actually a whole practice in teaching that you can do that is called "heightened neurosis" where the situation is created by a set of practices that you do where the neurosis is heightened to you, because if you don't see "it", if you don't first see where you are hookable and where you get provoked with complete honesty and directness without guilt but just a great look at where you get stuck then you are always going to have that blind spot and it's always going to be there to drag you down. So if you really want liberation, really want freedom you need people around who will be provoking you to show you where it is that you still have work to do. I love this teaching and I do try to see life in this way...this does not mean that I like these people anymore than you do but that I actually see the value of what they are showing me about myself no matter what their intention is. There is an old story about a revered who had a spiritual community in France, it was a beautiful spiritual community and there was one man living in this community of about 35 people that there was not a single person who liked this man. This was because this man was so irritable and it didn't matter what you said or did he would go off the handle, he was very very grouchy. Just a very mean spirited person. So the spiritual teacher use to have the students do meaningless tasks, I think to sort of test them, to see how much they could endure. So on the particular occasion they were moving a lawn from one side of the road to the other by cutting it into small pieces and moving it from one side to the other. What a task! and this was just too much for this one individual. He threw down his sod of grass and he screamed that this was stupid and declared he wasn't going to stay another minute, he stormed away and got in a car and drove away and everyone cheered. They all screamed with joy, the whole community was so happy to see him go. When the spiritual leader heard what had happened, he got in his car and drove off after this fellow and brought him back. That night when the leader's attendant was helping him get ready for bed, the attendant who was a young boy said "sir why did you bring him back?" and the leader said, "this is a secret, just between you and I but I pay that man to be here!"

I hope you found this story funny and entertaining yet filled with the truth of the dharma. Namaste

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