Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Could Care Less" Doesn't Mean Careless

I came across a most interesting and amusing interview of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche by somebody named Andrew Cohen. It is entitled "Real Gurus 'Couldn't care less:' The dilemma of an Eastern master in a postmodern world." This dates from about four years ago. I imagine many people have already seen this, but it was news to me, and I enjoyed it immensely. Here are a couple of passages:

And you said that the teacher who “crushes your pride and makes this worldly life completely miserable is something that you ask for. He is the assassin, he is the man or woman whom you have hired to completely dismantle you.”

DZONGSAR: You may not realize that's what you're doing, but that's the idea—to dismantle everything: your identity, everything. And it's not like dismantling one big habit. It changes. Let's say today I would like to be stroked. Then a teacher should not stroke me. Or maybe today I would like to be beaten. Then maybe I should be stroked. So that's why this is actually beyond abuse and not abuse. If somebody bites you or beats you and handcuffs you, that's a kind of abuse, isn't it? But what I'm talking about is ultimate abuse. At the same time, abuse phenomena only exist if you are still clinging to transitory phenomena as permanent and real. If you don't, there is nothing to be abused. But that's difficult, really difficult.
COHEN: In that case, the teacher's work would be done.

DZONGSAR: Yes, of course. But the kind of student we're talking about doesn't exist. And that kind of teacher doesn't exist, either. Teachers don't have that kind of courage. I don't have it. I may be a teacher, but I don't have that kind of courage because I love my reputation. Who wants to be referred to as an abuser? I don't. I am a sycophant. I try to go along with what people think. If people think a teacher should shave his head, wear something maroon, walk gently, eat only vegetarian food, be so-called serene, then I'm very tempted to do that. Rajneesh had the guts to have ninety-three Rolls Royces. I call it guts. One Rolls Royce is one thing. Even two or three—but ninety-three is guts! And I don't have the guts, the confidence. I like Rajneesh very much. I like him much better than Krishnamurti. Many of his words are quite good, and I can see why the Westerners would like him."

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Biting, beating, and handcuffing. Sounds kinky. He left out the part about bail bonds and lawyers. Note to Dzongsar Khyentse: watch what you say at interviews. It will be introduced at trial to show predisposition and prior intent.

--- --- ---

People read these things in the slick magazines, or they hear these things in safe, public forums with the lights on, and they think, "O.K., why not?" But, when it comes up behind you in the dark alley of your expectations and blackjacks you over the head, there is always all sorts of disingenuously surprised whining. Ego doesn't like to be dismantled, and in this society, ego has a number of ways to prevent this from happening --up to and including a call to 911, and some tearful, revisionist history sobbed out to a donutasaurus with a radio on his shoulder.

Rub this lamp the wrong way, and out pops the genie, except this genie doesn't grant wishes. Oh, no. Ego Genie starts right in name-calling, and is a lying, ball-kicking, back-stabbing, gutter fighter of the worst possible kind. Ego Genie screams when it dies, and the screams are the most obscene things you have ever seen or heard.

Thanks, but I think it will take a lot more than somebody else's statue.
If teachers are chargeable with abuse, I think students should be accountable for demonic hypocrisy. To avoid being dismantled, students will try bribery and seduction, and when that doesn't work, battery and sedition. Some I have encountered are the sort who kill their parents, and then say, "Have mercy on me, I'm an orphan."
Anyway, who cares?

One of the best bulletins I have ever read on the teacher-student dynamic in the context of Vajrayana is the aforementioned interview, and I wish everyone would print it out and paste it on the wall, right next to the mirror.
"If you really want to know who I am, you have to be as absolutely empty as I am. Then two mirrors will be facing each other, and only emptiness will be mirrored. Infinite emptiness will be mirrored: two mirrors facing each other. But if you have some idea, then you will see your own idea in me."

-- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, 1931-1990

I don't know how well Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche knew or didn't know Rajneesh, or how well he knows or doesn't know the story of how and why the United States government, in all its power and might, so completely dropped a courthouse on the guru that you could not even see the ruby slippers.

But, that's not why I bring it up.

There is an exquisite distance between "could care less," and "careless." The distance is occupied by a rough-house razor witch. The witch is the extent to which you understand that -- no matter who you think you are -- your acts -- regardless of their intention -- are still subject to the laws of cause and effect. The witch has a two-edged spell, and the spell is the extent to which you are willing and able to accept the results of your actions. Notice I say "accept," and not "manage," as between these two is where the confusion arises. Whether the witch is a good witch or a bad witch, whether the spell is beneficent or evil, is strictly up to your vow.

Not the vow you make in front of the illusion of statues.

Not the vow you make in front of the illusion of preceptors.

But, that other vow... the one that makes itself, over and over again.

Strange, isn't it, that the most difficult thing to hold from the study of compassion is simple kindness? Strange, aren't they, the whispers in the illusion of samsara, telling us what is and isn't necessary? So strange, isn't it, the damage we do to each other with the best of all possible intentions? Strange, when we try to manage that which is inherently unmanageable, instead of just accepting the movie as a movie.

Tell the truth... you never laughed or cried at the movies?

Laughed one minute and cried the next?

The flickering screen could care less who are the actors and who are the audience.

It just carefully reflects the projected light.

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1 reader comments:

Kunzang Lhamo said...

Respected Lama Tenpa:
Please do not stop revealing the truth about the false guide who calls herself a "teacher." She is a teacher of hate and broken samaya only. She and her minions will try to throw mud at you in order to silence the truth but you must not let this deter you. The survivors of Alyce Louise Zeoli and her corrupt organization built around the myth of "Jetsunma" will help you overcome this darkness!