Spirituality After 60
As I reflect on the eventful day in July 2007, I either smile with bliss or shed tears of both joy and sadness.
It was on the 3rd of July 2007 that I was brought to a Tibetan Buddhist temple (gompa) at Sunwaymas by a friend for a Dharma teaching by H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche. Prior to this meeting, I had read in a national newspaper about this young and modern Tibetan monk and I was very impressed with what was written. So when I heard about Rinpoche, I thought it truly was terrific that a monk could be so modern and unconventional, and yet hold the essence of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings with such purity.
On meeting Rinpoche and hearing his teaching, I knew that my search for a Spiritual Guide was over and that I had found my Guru whom I had been seeking in order to understand the Buddha’s teachings. I wanted to practice to gain peace in my life by recognizing the meaning and our potential in freeing ourselves of “suffering”.
A video of my daring ‘debate’ with Rinpoche during our first meeting.
At that point of time when I met Rinpoche, I had gained a small level of success as a business person and with that, I had also developed a way of life and a mind that was hard and unforgiving because I believed that in winning, something needed to be sacrificed and something lost.
Sad to say, I lost my humanity. The qualities of forgiveness, kindness and care for others, all of which I once possessed, had wilted away. I had built a wall of protection (which in hindsight is more a wall of destruction) and began to lead my life in an unwholesome manner.
The only emotions I would manifest were anger, intolerance, resentment and depression. If I had dared to love, it was a case of being extremely guarded and conditional. In some cases with people very close to me, that love became obsessive due to the fear of losing them. It was rather suffocating for the both of us, I would say.
Coming to Rinpoche with such deeply ingrained perceptions and emotional makeup was indeed a great burden for Rinpoche. Rinpoche’s goal for his students is the path to Enlightenment, not a feel good Buddhist practice. And just like a deep splinter in one’s flesh, removing these mental defilements was surely going to be a painful process.
In the initial stages, I was totally immersed into supporting the Dharma to grow and did whatever I could to fulfill my personal desire to get the job done. Rinpoche noticed that and skillfully went along with me, even though he knew it was not the best way to achieve the true essence of Bodhicitta.
Along the way, my negative karma arose and obstacles came at me with great ferocity. Instead of fully understanding the methods to avert the calamities of my negative karma, I succumbed to them and started to falter in my path.
While I was in great confusion as to my dissatisfaction in my Dharma work and space, Rinpoche manifested my faults and put them in my face, like a great mirror for me to see my failings. Instead of understanding Rinpoche’s skillful methods, I resented what I saw and was unable to relate to the profound teachings Rinpoche was giving me. The fact was I recognized my faults but could not accept the reality of them.
This inability to shift away from my egoistic state of mind made me crawl into inactivity and harbor negative thoughts of the people I know in Kechara.
It went on for a long three years and today as I pen this article, I realize how much my Guru loves me, to the extent that he would risk my negative thoughts towards him just so that I can become a better Dharma practitioner.
My realizations may be late but I know that if I truly practice Guru Devotion and the essence of Buddhism, there is still a chance for me to atone for my wrongdoings that I have inflicted on my Guru.
As my kind mentors advised, I need to surrender myself to my Guru, be alright with whatever is asked of me and trust Rinpoche 100%. I need to realize that what I perceive can be fixed by me is not the correct method. Most of all, to “let go” of all long-held wrong views and perceptions led by my ego of not wanting to fail.
As Rinpoche says, “Dharma is not easy”; so too is finding peace and true inner bliss. If I am so fortunate to have Rinpoche as my Root Guru, to be deserving of Him then why not surrender to His teachings? Life would be so much easier and emotions would be contained within a Wall of Love and Compassion instead of that wall which I built with hate, anger, jealousy, resentment and depression.
May my sharing be of benefit for all those who would read this so that they would not waste as much time as I have in their spiritual journey which brings lasting joy and happiness. Hopefully from reoccurring good rebirths, we will always be near a genuine Guru and the Dharma.
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