Tuesday, 4 January 2011


I know all the details of karma, but I do not really believe in it.
I have heard a lot of Dharma, but never put it into practice.
Bless me and evil-doers like me
That our minds may mingle with the Dharma
 - Patrul Rinpoche
this is going to be one of those "Jon thinks he has something halfway worth hearing to say " type posts, so don't say you weren't warned. over the past few days the issue of honesty has been on my mind, in particular as regards Dharma.

i think a lot of us spend most of our lives trying to get as far away from honesty as possible, because it can be pretty brutal and ugly. that "the norm" within society is intensely self-serving, materialistic, alienating and damaging isn't necessarily what we'd like to square up to and address. so we use distractions - buy more, spend more, drink more, take more. anything to take our minds off all the reminders of that annoying first noble truth. we know these distractions ultimately don't work, but if we ALL TELL EACH OTHER REALLY LOUDLY THAT THEY DO AND THEY'RE FANTASTIC well then, it must be true right?

more than likely, we don't like the honesty of who we really are either. at least, when it comes to our faults. in fact, we're so scared of facing up to them that most of the time we'll wear various masks to keep them well hid when in company. and of course, we all have our Buddhadharma masks. i know i do - mine's the painfully sincere, oh-so-humbler-than-thou one. i also wear the "this guy knows what he's talking about when it comes to Dharma" one rather unsuccessfully it has to be said, but at least i manage to convince myself even if no-one else buys it.

it's tragic really that we persist in chasing our own imagined chimerical ideals of what we feel a Buddhist should be in order to feel comfortable enough to call ourselves one. we learn of bodhicitta and the wish to liberate all sentient beings, then rather than begin by confronting our own utter lack of compassion, instead try to convince ourselves how even people like Hitler we would want to liberate because hey, we're just so naturally bodhisattvic like that (and after all, trying to convince ourselves is so much easier than all the effort actually arousing some genuine compassion would require). or perhaps we hear somewhere that we are already Buddhas and so immediately feel a smug glow of self-satisfaction and pat ourselves on the back ("i always knew, deep down") rather than turn to address the obscurations that hinder such a realisation in the first place.

here's the thing - actually, it's perfectly natural to be fucked up you know. in fact, it's pretty unavoidable - it's called being a sentient being.  sure, we don't want to stay selfish, or uncompassionate, or ignorant, or greedy. but in order to begin work on that then we need to drop all the fake, holier-than-thou posturing bullshit, be honest with ourselves and actually face up to the often unpleasant truths.

namu amida butsu.

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