Sunday, March 15, 2015

Accepting Enlightenment, No Matter How Tough: On Not Making Gods Into Demons

Have to say, I'm quite happy with myself for sticking to the original schedule of publishing weekly. Not sure it will last, but I'm enjoying it while it does.

Regardless, let's turn to the next tenet:
Don't make gods into demons.
The translation isn't too different: "Don't turn a god into a demon." But the explanatory passage gave me pause.
"Mind training becomes a source of reactive emotions when you take pride in what you accomplish with the practice."
The thing is, I am happy about the progress I've made. If I'm truthful, I am sometimes proud. With that dismaying realization, I turned to Judy Lief's piece on this teaching. One particular passage stood out to me:
"At first meditation and compassion practices seem so beautiful and gentle. We feel enriched and nurtured. But as we continue, we begin to encounter a more threatening and provocative side to mind training practice. It makes us feel unmasked and exposed, embarrassed by our own mindlessness and the puny nature of our compassion for others.
As the practice begins to bite or to be more challenging, when it is no longer simply an add-on to our regular way of going about things, but a call for personal transformation, we feel threatened." 
I've had moments like that lately, where I feel my pursuit and study of Buddhism has changed me in ways that I never anticipated. When I first found and started to study, it made so much sense to me - things I'd read prior to Pema Chodron had me ready. But I've recently found a transition between Buddhism fitting into my preexisting understanding of the way things are and how I see it now... I feel like my ideas from before have kind of melted in the face of lojong.

So I'm not particularly worried about this becoming a problem in the immediate future. Seeing each new day as an opportunity to deepen my practice and letting go of old patterns, even when the new day brings "negative" things to me, is part of my practice. And yet, I need to be vigilant. Or, as Lief admonishes, "How can you identify with the dharma without making it into just another credential?"

So, that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that.

No comments:

Post a Comment