Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Quiet Ending: On Not Expecting Applause or Thanks

Six months since my last post... wow. I know all the reasons I've ignored this blog, and don't think I'm going to enumerate them. However, I'm glad this is the last of the tenets to be considered since I don't really have time for two blogs on top of all the other projects I currently have on my plate. My deep apologies to the dozen of you who read this blog steadily in the past when I was writing it steadily. It was helpful to write about these concepts as I grappled with them, regardless.

The last tenet is as appropriate lesson on which to end as I've ever encountered:
Don't expect applause.
The translation adds another layer: "Don't expect thanks." Basically, don't expect any expressions of appreciation of any kind. And their explanation...
"You practice mind training to be free from your own conditioning. Why should anyone thank you? You are the one who benefits."
A few friends have noted the change in me, and I have to admit it felt nice. But I never expected or even asked for it. In fact, I've felt odd when people noted this blog. It's never been the reason for me pursuing or sharing this knowledge.

Judy Lief's take on this slogan pushes it out beyond the bounds of Buddhism, which is going to take some time to absorb. One particular passage really stuck with me:
"The desperation for outer rewards goes hand-in-hand with an increasing sense of inner poverty. If you are successful in your quest for recognition, you may be able to ignore what you have given up to achieve it. If you are unsuccessful, you may simply blame the system. But in either case, since you have given over [your] power to others, you are left empty."
So much of the last six months can be explained in that passage. Really hard to think about how I might have lived differently if I'd only read that first, but better late than never is an important truism.

I may come back to this project and revisit the lojong tenets. I may come back and delete the entire blog. But for now, I'm going to sit with what I've learned, try to learn more, and try to bloom.