Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fulfilling the Bodhisattva Vow by Staying Put

One view from my practice tent in my backyard.

You should take everything I say with a grain of salt, because I am not a teacher of any kind, and I lack realization.  I’m just rambling about what is on my mind.

In Mahayana Buddhism, including Vajrayana, we take a vow to attain liberation for the benefit of beings so that we can place all beings in that state. Technically, Awakened Ones can’t wave their magic wand and grant everyone enlightenment, like a fairy princess. If they could have, they would have. They lead and inspire, and are a source of blessings for those who have faith in them. I have faith in that, because I have been lead and inspired by awakened beings for many years — actual flesh and blood teachers. I have faith, too, than there are Sambogakaya emanations also helping me, but I can’t see them as an ordinary person.

Based on my faith in these things, which cannot be proven, I want to apply myself to awakening.  I don’t know if it will happen in this life or afterwards. 

I am a very inattentive person, with many interests. Left to my own impulses, I would start several hobbies every month, and travel a lot. So, I have to be mindful of these tendencies, and remind myself of that my primary goal is to awaken.  I remember the advice of my lamas, which has always been to focus on practice, and within that, to focus on the daily continuity of the core practices they recommended for me.

I have built in interruptions in my daily practice few times a year, because I need to help out our Dharma centers, to the best of my limited ability.  I don’t enjoy group practices much at this stage in my life, but I’ve been asked to help, so I do them for the benefit of sentient beings and the Dharma. This takes me away from my house, usually, and reduces or eliminates my personal practice time. I’m relieved to get home afterwards, honestly, and resume the continuity. No one is ever going to affirm that we have continuous practice, unless we are in formal retreat.  Right?  Even lamas need help with their projects. I have more than enough teachers.  Honestly, I stay away from new teachers, because projects ensue as soon as you affiliate closely.  And rightly so, there is a lot that needs doing.

As much as I would like to do pilgrimage to Asia, I have never been. I’d also like to go on trips to beautiful, tropical locales. I come close to signing up, and then I think about my need to practice in solitude each day, with the right kind of physical set up.  How is that going to happen on a group trip? In other words, I remember my Bodhisattva vow. Someday I’ll probably go, but it will have to be imperative.