No more excuses please
I received yet another apology from a student. And it has been many times already over the last two years with this person. I care about this person very much, but the situation is nearly the same. So I wrote a reply. I thought I’d share the reply. It might help or be applicable to some of us. I do not profess to know everything or have all the answers, but I do know doing our work well is essential. I am certainly not above it, but I still have to plug on and get things done just like everyone else. This is a private email but I will have it here without the name in the spirit of hoping it will benefit others. Forgive me if it sounds offensive, I do not mean it to be.
It’s very simple, you want ‘in’ or ‘out’? If you want out, you know life and the meaningless drudgery of it you will be going back to. You know your end result like many towards the end of your life will be meaningless death. The very purpose you are in dharma now is you have seen through the fallacies of life’s empty samsaric promises. That is the real reason underlying all reasons.
If you are in, you join an accepting group of people who literally wants to make a difference in the world. It is not by nice words, drinking endless cups of coffee in cafes, bantering gossip about friends and life in restaurants or rubbing shoulders with this or that friends who are just as unhappy as you BUT without a clue to a solution. You are in an organization that I am the head of and will work very hard. We have a philosophy derived from sacred Gaden and we have an immaculate protector(s). We have direction, we have purpose, we have hope and we have AN INCREDIBLE GOAL. You cannot find this anywhere.
Whether you are in or out IS NOT PHYSICAL BUT MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL. You may be in, but if you are still attached to your old life of sleep, deceptive freedom, friends, conveniences, easy life, socializing et al, then you will not perform well here or anywhere. Whether you want to do work in secular or spiritual, it is the same qualities that will get you there. What did the life of secular ’freedom’ you had before Kechara bring you? Got you where? Resulted in what? What have you achieved? Whatever you are failing in Kechara is what you were failing in before you came to Kechara. What your parents didn’t teach you, is left to me to teach you. Whatever insecurities and failures you feel or self-hatred you feel before Kechara you brought into Kechara and into my world and you leave it to me to deal with.
If you are a bad communications person, then you make me and Kecharians suffer now for it. Lots of time spent to find out the real communications, repairs, extra energy and resources to do things over.
If you are not a hard worker, you burden Kecharians to cover for you. They have to do their share and cover what you didn’t do.
If you like to cover mistakes, then you make Kecharians spend more time to talk to you, find out what happened and that time could have been spent better.
If you like the night life, easy life, fun life and convenient life, then you make everyone else around you who want to work with you, work harder to cover for you. To accommodate you. Accommodating you is not the reason you came to dharma. It’s the opposite in fact.
If you are late, undisciplined, not on time, always give excuses and always do your work sloppily, you make Kecharians put up with this, tolerate this, be patient with this and also forgive you again and again and again with your myriad deliciously worded apologies.
If your mind goes up and down and up and down like a see-saw, it is not Kechara who made you this way. You came this way. Staying in Kechara you will see-saw and leaving Kechara you will see-saw in your new environment. In fact in your new environment you will see-saw worse having experienced the blessings of Kechara and our goals. Your see-sawing mind is because you are lazy, impatient and want the easy way out. When you don’t get that, you get sad, depressed, question why you are here. But that is what you have been doing your whole life.
When you make promises to your teacher or your fellow dharma staff and you don’t keep it, you set such a bad example. You reaffirm your failure of before entering Kechara. Whatever you did not achieve before you entered Kechara, you are leaving it to me and those around you to pick up your pieces daily and ‘retrain’ you to achieve… think….
You see, whatever mental or emotional problems you developed before Kechara, the people around you have it also. You, me and all of us suffer variations of the same problems and mental downs…When you show these traits again and again, you make them trigger in other people. Does that mean you can never be unhappy and pretend you’re enlightened? Of course not… but up or down, you still have TO DO YOUR WORK WELL, PERFECTLY AND TO COMPLETION. EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WHETHER THEY ARE UP OR DOWN MUST PRODUCE WORK RESULTS TO SURVIVE TO LIVE.
Whether you are in Kechara or not, you will be up and down and you still have to produce. But outside of Kechara, rarely do others want to or will cover you over and over again. You affect those around you severely… we all do. It becomes a chain reaction. You can cause those around you to have doubts, be depressed, be demotivated, not perform well and when you finally ‘bounce’ back from your current down episode, the people around you are down again… Then they drag others down. Then when they come up, you are in your endless cycle of down again. So it is a chain reaction… and how do you control it? Well there is no magic formula, you just focus on your goals and control it. How would you control it without Kechara? Same, you focus on your goals and control it in Kechara or in the secular.
If you have been a person without goals and now you are in a rush-rush hectic Kecharian environment of goal driven environment, count yourself lucky. Why? Because together with others you can achieve what you couldn’t achieve alone before you entered Kechara. Since you ‘don’t’ perform well, have so many ups and downs and you are not driven, then rather than paddle 1,000 miles on a static lake to get to the shore, you are on a river where you paddle and the river pushes you towards the other end also. The river is likened to many others around you that are into the same goal and work hard. Better to be on a river than paddling on your own. Think carefully of my example.
I receive hundreds of apologies over the years, very few move me or make me believe. I fight being cynical all the time. Why? Because so many disappoint me time and time again. If a few persons disappoint you and you feel down, then you are selfish. Because think of the hundreds over decades that disappoint me and I still have to keep going. Why? Because I am better than you, no not really…but because I focus on the goal and not my emotions as much. I focus on my goals and realize without dharma goals I HAVE NOTHING. My example is all the people around me. They have nothing of worth and value they can take at death yet they live as if there is no death. Silly self deception. Silly selfishness hidden behind depressions, down time and feeling like we can’t do it.
You are mature and older and you have to be double most of the people around you. Age is suppose to confer wisdom, maturity, stability and qualities others may look up to. If you are nearing forty, or forty or older, then you have a sacred responsibility to act forty. And combined with the secular wisdom of a mature person, top them off with dharma and voila you should be a shining light to all those around you.
You should be a person who is stable, does what you say, does not forget promises, tells the truth, works hard, nurtures others younger and older people (some come to dharma late or realize the truth late) and take your dharma work as your saviour which it is. Dharma work is your saviour. What does it save you from?? Dharma saves you from you!
Apologies are the first step but it does not purchase the respect you lost and the loss of confidence and deep pain, hurt and disappointments you have created. Apologies do not mend or make up for all the resources you have caused to be wasted. The single most important resource we have is the friendship/love and support we have in Kechara from those around us. This love and support will NEVER BE FOUND ANYWHERE ELSE.
Apology letters sometimes make me angry. Because you can’t rob someone and then it’s ok with just a letter. How can someone consistently do harm, not do their work well, not do their job well, burden others, make others disappointed, damage others and then it’s forgotten with a letter. People who do not do their work well do not deserve to be here by right. They are here because we have compassion and mercy. We love our people. Having said that, the Kecharians may be kind and forgiving, but your karma is ruthless. Karma is unbiased. What you have done, when it fruitions, will make you lose the most precious things you have. No words, apologies and delicious explanations will help you.
Buck up now. Change now. Whatever you have been failing at, do not expect Kechara or Kecharians or others to cover for you or constantly forgive. If you don’t buck up and constantly burden others, it’s not a matter of forgiveness, it’s that the work still has to get on. It still has to complete.
We all have:
low self esteem
perhaps bad upbringing
feeling sorry for ourselves
wanting ‘easy’ life whatever that really means
attachments, etc etc etc etc and endless variations of the above and more etc…
BUT THE KEY IS:
Since all of us have these, why do some people still do their work well with all their emotional baggage? And some people use the emotional baggage as an excuse for not doing their work well? Either way, we all have the same emotional/disciplinary problems. Why do some people still perform and do their work well even with the baggage still? Because some hold their responsibilities firm and some have had very little responsibilities,’training’ them to be flippant about it most of their lives. Someone has always covered for them. This is the key for some. We all have to produce. How much is if we have had anyone to lean on. But if we have lived a life of not producing anything much or someone covered for us always, then we continue our ways now burdening a new set of people we are involved with. Dumping our excuses on them or dumping our work on them using our emotional baggage for sympathy/excuse for not performing. But you know what, deep down inside all of us, we do not want to burden or hurt others. And we know what to do. So do it. JUST DO IT. WHETHER YOU ARE NEW IN DHARMA OR OLD IN DHARMA, IS NOT THE POINT, RESPONSIBILITIES AND YOUR WORDS OF HONOUR (INTEGRITY) IS THE SAME.
So don’t wait for yourself to become a ‘better’ person. YOU ARE THE BETTER PERSON NOW IF YOU CHOOSE. NOW. Don’t wait for dharma to sink in and you change, that is wrong. We all have responsibilities, so just do it irregardless.
Do not take anything for granted. Do not assume. Do not take anything lightly. Do what you are supposed to do and do it now and well. Excuses had all been said and explained. If you keep failing, my love and care for you will never cease, but will you have the karma to keep the most precious thing in your life?
This is in reply to XXXXX (below), but in hindsight, might benefit many. And also this is not to ‘get’ or embarrass XXXXX. It is for reflection please.
( The person in the photo above is myself. Tsem Rinpoche)