People often ask how they should relate to me. Likewise, I have the same question. How should I relate to you?
It is challenging, you know, being me in the sense that I am breaking projections. That is a little bit of my job. It is difficult to explain.
First of all, sometimes people say very nice words about me. These people talk in an inspiring way. I want to thank these people sincerely for this kindness! I am very happy that I can be of service.
However, when I talk, I do not feel that I teach. This is because, in my estimation, I am not qualified to teach.
The fact is, yes, I am very grateful to Lama Yeshe. He is my best friend. However, I have difficulty with myself. It is a huge issue, you know, being me. I am working on it, I am honestly working on it.
I am happy to share my small understanding of the way I interpret the teachings of the Buddha. So I am delighted to talk to you like this. I am glad I can be of service. I hope I can make a difference.
I wanted to go back to the ideas we talked about last week when we discussed reincarnation, tulkus, all the concepts like that.
For me, there has been a huge separation in my life. It has been like a dualistic kind of notion. I have been trying to identify myself with what people would label on me. Right?
People would say I am a tulku. They would say I am this. Or they would say I am that. They would tell me I am the reincarnation of such an amazing person. They would say things like this. Then, they would tell me my destiny is to teach Buddhism as a monk sitting on a throne. For most of my childhood, that was what I was told I was meant to be doing.
So, it has been a question for me to kind of say, “Ok, who am I?” You know. Am I what they say I am or am I what I feel that I am from inside of me?
What I feel from inside is that I am a person who has a lot of challenges. I am a person who has a lot of conflicts. I am someone who has a lot of hurts. I have a lot of suffering. I struggle with depression. I struggle with the emotional activities of anger. You know what I mean. I am challenged by all these different aspects that happen to me.
Thanks to Dharma, I try to be aware of all of this. I try to put it in check. I try to recognize it. I try to apologize. I try to change it. I do my best to move forward. I strive to improve.
Even so, it is still happening. It is still there.
Consequently, I do not see myself as some qualified realized or whatever you want to call it reincarnation. I do not see myself that way at all!
You know, maybe, when I was younger, I believed it, but, when I became realistic, I was like you know what? This is not who I am. I am sorry. I am just a normal human being struggling with life. That is it.
I have a different background than others. I grew up in a monastery. I had to study 16 hours a day, six days a week for 13 years. Well, I did not start with 16 hours a day but they began adding on more hours with time. In the beginning, I studied for maybe eight hours a day when I was six years old. When I was 15/16, I was already studying 16 hours a day. Sometimes, it was 18 hours a day. So that is my background. That is the language, the culture, the tradition from which I come.
Regardless, I never accepted people imposing their reality on me in that way. I am not going to fall into a box for you. I am not going to play your game.
This is because I cannot make you happy. I can attempt to make you happy but you are the only person responsible to make yourself happy.
I discovered a long time ago that I could try to play people’s game, “Oh, ok, I am the reincarnation. I am going to act like I am the reincarnation. I am going to fake perfections.” Even if I do that, nobody will be happy. That is because it is just the nature of the mind.
So, a long time ago, I decided I am not going to strive to fall into people’s concepts of what I should be or how I should be. I am just going to live my life. I am going to be who I feel that I am becoming. It is a process. It changes, you know. I am always learning new facets of myself.
Anyway, that is what I decided. I decided that I am not going to play your game. I am not going to allow people to label me. I am not going to allow people to project on me. I am not going to allow people to expect me to do what they want me to do in those regards.
Here is an example. This is just an example, ok? For me, I like to party. I like to go out. Sometimes, I like to drink some alcohol.
You see, my father said, “With moderation, everything is ok. Do not go to extremes. Even water can harm you if you drink too much water”.
Do you understand what he meant? Your stomach is going to explode with too much water. Too much of anything is too much.
So, this is not a justification. I do not need to justify myself to anyone. I am not a monk. I like to enjoy myself. At the same time, I like to learn. I like to have a balance in my life. So, ok, yes, I drink alcohol. I do not drink too much. I rarely drink but I do drink. When I do, it is light.
Anyway, one time, a woman, an Asian woman, a very traditional, Asian woman, somehow, smelled my breath the next day after I had been partying. I did not sleep that night, you see. I was still active within the community going to the teachings and this and that, etc. I wanted to do everything even though I did not have time to do everything.
(I am making myself very vulnerable here.)
Anyhow, she said, “You know, a lama is not supposed to drink alcohol”. That is what she said. Those were her words.
I immediately answered back to her. I said, “If you can find one time in my life that I said I am a lama, I will do whatever you say. I never said I am Lama. Ever! Perhaps when I was a four-year-old child tyrant, I said, “I am Lama. You have to do what I say.’ Maybe, at that time, yes, I said those words. Since I grew up a little bit more, I never have said, “I am Lama”.
On the contrary, I said I am not a lama. I am just a struggling human being trying to improve as a human. I am going to try my best to be able to give the best. You have to understand that I am just one more person with difficulties.
That is what I tried to explain to her but she would not understand. She said, “No! You are a lama! You cannot drink alcohol! It is so bad!” After that, she did not talk to me, ever again. After that, she hated me. She even took me off Facebook. What do you call it? She unfriended me.
It is funny but I cried for half an hour after that. I got on a bus by myself. I left. I was crying for half an hour. It was really sad.
That is part of my life. I have to accept those preconceptions of people being imposed on me even though they do not know me. That woman knew me for two minutes of my life, yet, somehow, she felt she had the right to impose her perspective on me. Not only did she feel she had the right to do that but she felt she had the right to be aggressive about it. I am really sensitive. So, for me, it affected me.
After I cried, I was better. Crying is, also, therapy, you know. I cried. Then, I was like, you know what? That is is her point of view. That is her belief. I respect that. Maybe it is better that I do not drink alcohol when there are these activities of Dharma. When I am participating in Dharma events, maybe it is better that I do not drink alcohol.
I mean, I am a rebel. I have always been a rebel. Thank God! I have always been struggling to try to make sense of this concept of tulku, this concept of reincarnation, this concept of lama just to make sure I will not fall into that box. I made that decision a long time ago. I will try to offer my services but my way.
I am Osel. That is it. That is who I am.
I am not going to try to impose things on anybody because I respect, I love, I care for you. I want to see who you are. I am not going to impose my projection on you. I am not going to be like, “You are this! That is what I am going to believe. That is what I am going to see. If you do not act according to my projection, then, you are a bad person! You are ungrateful! After everything we did for you, you left the monastery!”
I am sorry. Hope you understand. I am not going to do that to anyone else.
I”m simply talking from my heart. Ok?
I am trying to answer the question people always give me. They always ask how they should relate to me. Likewise, I wonder how I should relate to you. These are just my thoughts on the matter.
So this conversation is your fault! You are the one responsible. You asked for it.