DAY Nine: Monday, 29th March 2010
Today has been a very special day.
I had the most wonderful surprise in the evening and that is, a private audience with the Living Buddha (aka our Guru: H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche)
There are many reasons why I love being in the company of Rinpoche, but one of the most important reason is that Rinpoche never fails to give a Dharma Talk. And usually, Rinpoche will use 'skillful, creative means' to teach us, the 'munster' students. And tonight, the spotlight was on me.
As some of you may know and have read, Rinpoche has been leaving messages in his personal Blog and Facebook about how he is waiting for me to do Dharma work 100%, and he will keep waiting for me. (Yes, our Guru blogs, tweets, and has his own Facebook. Rinpoche's blog is written by himself. Yes, Rinpoche is very hands-on in everything that begins with the words: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha and students. Just check out his personal blog at http://tsemtulku.typepad.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/ and you will know what I mean.)
Infact, I am constantly in awe and amazed at Rinpoche's energy, attention to details and people, and at his own endless capacity to always think about helping people, animals and making the Dharma easily accessible to everyone.
This is why Rinpoche would blog and tweet. So, anyone can seriously write to him or send him a comment or question in his blog and Rinpoche will answer. This is literally Dharma at your finger tips and brings a whole new meaning to the words: Digital Guru.
Now, let me get to my being in the spotlight before I digress too much.
Rinpoche has hundreds of students as it is. It is incredible how Rinpoche makes time, remembers and keeps track of everyone's progress, not to mention having to customize his way of teaching to each individual so that his message does not get lost or be misinterpreted.
I always appreciate it when Rinpoche takes the time to tell me the truth about what I need to work on, directly. To me, that is already a huge blessing and most auspicious, because my faults and flaws are pointed out to me in plain view so that I can immediately work on them, or just begin addressing them. To me, that's the fastest way to improve.
I'll share some of things that Rinpoche has highlighted to me on this very night. Ok, I shall share 3 main things.
On top of the list is my laziness, of course. Second on that list, is what an anti-social I really am deep down inside. And finally, how it is time for me to do Dharma 100%. After which, Rinpoche shared some of his own personal life stories with me. Some of these are things I was hearing for the very first time.
Rinpoche said that the two most difficult things in his life and that he dislike them most, are teaching the Dharma and raising funds. In fact, Rinpoche said, he hates it.
I was shocked and I think, even my eyes widened with disbelief.
How can Rinpoche hate teaching the Dharma?! That would mean that Rinpoche does not like being a Dharma Teacher as well, but, but, but...isn't that the whole reason of being for Rinpoche though...to teach the Dharma? Well, he is a Guru!
So much internal dialogue was going on inside my head. Sensing this, Rinpoche smiled and said to me, "Let me explain why."
" Teaching the Dharma in countries like Malaysia, where the people are not that acquainted with the real meaning of spirituality and spirituality is not ingrained into their culture or lifestyles, it is most challenging. Moreover, the people here simply do not really understand what Dharma is all about, and what is the significance of a Dharma Teacher, and how all of these are relevant to them. It is not like in Tibet or Nepal, whereby Dharma is part of their way of life, if not, it is their way of life."
Rinpoche proceeded to explain that he had endured many pains, grief and suffering just to teach Dharma in Malaysia. Not only did he have students who fought against him, some even tried to threathen him, others have attempted to con him, and did. I guess, the most unimaginable were those who went to as far as treating Rinpoche very much like a "performing bear in a circus".
Yet Rinpoche is not complaining.
If anyone has seen the old pictures of Rinpoche when he first came to Malaysia with a small suitcase, you would not find it hard to believe the above statement.
And on top of all these, Rinpoche gets disappointed, saddened and even, heart broken when he sees that some students could not or would not transform. These students would continue in their self-destructive path and refuse to adhere to the advice from Rinpche's heart. Until it becomes too late, then they all come crying and begging to Rinpoche. But there is little Rinpoche can do for them by then, because their Karma was already done in by their own actions and decisions. All Rinpoche can do is make extensive prayers for them.
But then again, there are some students who never return.
I often suspect that they may be too embarrassed. Because most often than not, the realities of what Rinpoche has said or predicted, would manifest and have come to be. And they would have to suffer the consequences, as such is life.
It always pains Rinpoche to have to watch his students go off into this self-destructive mode, and yet he can't do anything to stop them, because they themselves do not wish to listen. Everyone has freewill and they like to believe that they know how best to exercise that freewill.
Imagine that you can see how a person would deteoriate deeper and deeper into their 'illness' and yet because they refuse to take 'their medication', you already know that they are, in actuality, killing themselves. How would you feel if you have to sit through and watch the entire movie of their own 'death' being played out by their own misunderstanding of life and Dharma?
I am sure you would not be sitting at the front row with a basket of popcorns and saying, I told you so. You would most likely put a bucket right on your lap, because tears would not stop streaming down from your face and your heart would be bleeding away from the pain.
Which sane and caring Teacher would want to witness another student's life being wasted away or perished?
Hence, yes, I was beginning to understand that being a Dharma Teacher is not an easy job and teaching the Dharma is not all that rewarding when we have just too many examples of students gone awry.
I am pretty sure that Rinpoche's heart must cry a great deal on a day to day basis.
Yet, Rinpoche said that he must do what he promised his Gurus that he will do, because the whole monastery is depending on him as well. Guru Devotion is of the utmost importance to Rinpoche. He dare not go against his Guru's words. It is against his DNA to even think of it.
Unlike us, the lucky ones, we can quit our jobs or Spiritual practice anytime we want to and give some lame excuse of why we quit and attempt to justify it at every family gathering, or social events with friends. And in time, everyone would forget anyhow and be more concerned with the latest gossips.
But Rinpoche does not have that luxury of choice. When he doesn't teach the Dharma and when he doesn't raise funds, the monks in Gaden Monastery in India will literally suffer, if not, die. They are all depending on him to help sustain the monastery and sustenance of the monks.
So, inspite of his own likes or dislikes, or even his own personal issues, Rinpoche must continue what he does. Rinpoche said that his own personal preferences are unimportant because he is insignificant. However, Rinpoche said that everyone else is most important and significant. It is about them, not him. It is for them, not him.
Here, I began to feel ashamed of myself.
In some ways, Rinpoche and I do share the same dislikes and 'anti-social' issues, but our results are very different.
My own personal issues have ended up crippling me, or even damaging me, and have even helped me in causing harm and injury to others.
Rinpoche, on the other hand, has risen above them all, and even used them to help him to relate better to the people he is trying to help. In the end, Rinpoche's preferences or personal issues do not stop him from doing his job in the best way he knows how. He still gives his best to every student, each and every time. In this sense, the 'quality' of his work does not diminish or fluctuate.
Yes, most of us would have used all our pains and suffering as excuses and reasons to stop, to quit or even to just continue in our bad behaviour. But not Rinpoche. Never. I guess, that is what makes him a truly great Dharma Teacher eventhough he always say that he is such a lousy teacher.
Rinpoche always give all of himself and he never holds back. And all he wants to do is help people become better people, regardless of their creed, faith, culture and age. Above all, he sincerely cares about his students and people in general, even when they have displayed little or no care towards him. Rinpoche does not stop caring just because others have stopped caring. Most of the time, he continues to care even more.
In truth, Rinpoche has given his whole life to the Dharma, in every sense of the word.
What have I done with my whole life?
How have I used up all my time, talents and resources in this lifetime?
Now that I know Dharma and have Rinpoche as my Guru, I will have to make some real changes to my life and my own mind set. Above all, I must start contributing to Dharma as I said I would and not stop until, finally, I am in Dharma 100%.
For now, here is my Day Nine's Summary -
Weight: still 54kg *rolls eyes*
No. Of Prostrations: 25
Daily Sadhanas: Check and Done!
Physical Exercise: 1 hour and 45 mins. Yes I am working hard to bring the weight down and making up for the days that I have missed.
Daily Reflection from "IF NOT NOW, WHEN?" - Ok, let's see what is in store for us today. Ok, here I go. My eyes are closed my eyes and I picked out page 051.
Quote from Page 051 for Day Nine:
“Speech is the cause of war as well as peace.
Assumptions make war, clarifications lead to peace.”
Personal Thoughts and Feelings:
Short and profound.
The above quote actually reflects my day’s event. Because I had the most wonderful surprise – I had a private audience with my Guru, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. And Rinpoche gave us a truly moving Dharma talk, directed at me and my spiritual path.
As with everything else in life, actually, whatever we do or use - be it words, be it our talents, our status in life, power, money or authority and even our weaknesses and flaws - everything and anything can be used to help others, with the right motivation, of course.
However, if the intent is self-serving, then whatever resources we have available to us, and are accessible to us, will be utilised for selfish aims and objectives.
So, where you want to be and how you choose to be can only be defined by you.
Here's wishing and praying that we all will use all our gifts and talents to creating greater peace, harmony and unity for all humankind.
Thank you for reading and sharing your comments, as always.