So, what do we need?

TAB. SHERABNGEJUNG

There are at least three things with which we can start.

Tab would be a method. Compassion. Loving-kindness. Empathy. Gratitude. Consideration. Space. So, tab would be all those things. That is the method.

Then, you have Sherab. That would be wisdom. Understanding. Knowledge. Information.

Then, you have the Ngejung which would be like the renunciation. It is like trying to get rid of suffering. Right? So, it is not about, “Oh, I am going to suffer to get rid of suffering.” Right? “I am not going to enjoy life anymore because I want to get rid of suffering.” Then, all you are doing is suffering. It happens. People flagellate themselves. They do not want to suffer so much anymore, so, “I am going to flagellate myself to purify.”  We do that with our minds a lot. Really. It is a great metaphor.

I do the self-flagellation. Not so much anymore because I have learned but I have been so hard on myself most of my life. I have suffered based on that. I would put myself down a lot. I would be harsh. So, that is not constructive.

Be hard with yourself to a point. You want to improve. You do not want to repeat mistakes. You do not want to create habits that are not good for you. So, in those respects, yes, you must be hard.

Or even sometimes you need to be self-compassionate. If someone is taking advantage of you and just getting too heavy, self-compassion means cutting the relationship. So, there are many aspects. Generating compassion to oneself and others automatically brings renunciation.

Ok. Do not generalize all the time. Each person is different.  You must relate to that person’s life. You must relate to their perspective.  You must relate to what they need.  You must relate to what they do not need.

So, these are different slants. Renunciation is not so much about, ‘Oh, now, I am going to renounce. That is it! I am not going to do what I love most just because I want to be a better person.”

I mean, if what you love most is killing people, it would be a great thing to renounce that activity.

What I am talking about is a normal kind of situation.  I am talking about the kind of view that normal people have. Things that we like means things we are attached to; it does not necessarily mean harming others. If it involves harming others, it is much better not to do it because it is going to end up creating suffering for you and others. It is going to devolve you. Evolution and devolution are the two sides that we have. Moving forward, moving backward, creating habits that are going to be helpful or not.

Renunciation truly means to observe. Renunciation truly means to understand. Renunciation truly means to be aware of the process. In doing so, then, you understand you are not so attached. You do not get so grasping any more. That way, you can enjoy it because you let go. To let go does not mean to say goodbye. It means to be grateful. It means to appreciate it. That is what letting go means.

Two birds cannot fly if they are stuck together. They need space. That is love. That is appreciation. Then, how beautiful is that? They fly perfectly well together but with space.

So, these are just methods for you.  They are methods on how to see life to help you see other characteristics of ourselves. People can copy animals or plants whether it is with their dressing style or dancing style or how to flirt with a girl.   “Oh!  That bird’s dance is cool.   I am sure it is going to work with that girl.” Try it out.

Nowadays, what do we do? We look at one photo that has been photoshopped 20,000 million times. “I want to be like that! Oh, why can’t I be like that?” Then, we believe so much that what we see and interpret is real and valuable. Then, we get so depressed.

However, if you see the ordinary face of the original person who got that photoshop done, you will learn that it has absolutely nothing to do with the photoshopped photo. Yet, somehow, it becomes idealized.  That appearance represents values we admire and grasp at but that does not even really exist.

Study about emptiness. Study about the subtle way impermanence works. Think about it in relation to publicity, or capitalism or about any system. It moves, somehow. But it is barely moving. Barely. It is falling apart constantly. That is because it cannot work like that. It is not the nature of the human. The nature of the human is a warm heart. The nature of humans is consideration. The nature of the human is working together.

That is how we started in the beginning. We started sleeping together in caves every night. We started out listening to each other farting.  We started out listening to each other snoring every night. Believe it or not, that is what our ancestors did for thousands of years.

What is it like now? We go to cities. We share the same wall with someone for 20 years. They do not even know who is sharing the wall with them. So, yes, we are in a golden age, but we must be aware.  We must be careful.

Watch out for misinformation.  Watch out for all these distractions. Use to your advantage the technology but know who you are.  Know where you are going. Know what you want to achieve.  Know how you want to achieve it. Try your best to be a good person.

When I say, “Good person,” it means to relate to what you want to receive.  Relate to how you want to be treated. Relate that way with others. When I say a “Good person,” for me, it is like that.  I mean, of course, there are exceptional cases like a masochist. They like pain so you would not want the masochist to give to others what it is they like.   It is not like that.  Not everybody is a masochist. In general, you should relate to each person like you want others to relate to you.  Just know that not everything works for everybody.

Also, sometimes, spiritual bypass happens. People focus so much on intellect they forget about the actual practice or the actual attitude. So much this. So much that. Blah blah blah… “Oh, this teaching.” “Oh, that initiation.” “Oh, this practice….” Da, da, da… Then, suddenly, somebody talks to them. They make stress. They answer badly.

I have seen sometimes where people get so stressed when the guru comes.   They talk badly to each other. It surprises me. Wow! The guru coming should be an inspiration. It should create even more empathy. It should create even more community awareness. It should create even more love. It should create even more kindness. It should create even more consideration. It should create even more patience. It should create even more humility. All those aspects should flower when the guru is coming.

Why do people get so stressed?  Why do people talk so badly to each other? That is exactly what I am talking about with spiritual bypassing. That is spiritual bypassing right there. That is taking refuge in constantly grasping. “The guru looked at me – oh, I am so happy.”  “Today, the guru did not look at me. I am so depressed.” What? Poor guru. Wow! He must look at everybody. He must look at everyone every time every day. It is true. It can become sad, also. There are so many examples like that. So much grasping.

Look what happened in my case. You did not have enough with the guru, so you put all the responsibility on a baby. He talked for 16 years about impermanence, but you do not have enough.  He talked for 16 years about everything.   You must know it is all already there, but you put the responsibility on the baby.

Not only that.  It is not even the time of the Buddha. During the time of the Buddha, to see the guru, you had to walk for three months.  You could die on the way.  Robbers could steal everything from you on the way. You could get sick on the way. You could get lost on the way. I mean, there was no GPS at that time of the Buddha, right?

You would ask somebody, “How do you get where the guru is?”

“Ah, I do not speak your language.”

After traveling on foot for two weeks, you have reached a point where people do not speak the same language as you do, anymore. How are they supposed to know where you are going if it is super far away? They do not know. So, it is difficult. You really must know that, back in the days and time of the Buddha, for example, moving about was not an easy task.

Then, after, say, three months, you get there, finally. You survived. You get there but, now, you see that where the Buddha is sitting is like waaay over there. You are like, “How am I going to hear him, now? How am I going to hear the Buddha when he talks?”  

You do not hear him. You just hear what a bunch of people say who are expressing what they understood to the next person. Maybe it comes 4th or 5th generation to you. Then, what you understood the Buddha said is just a 4th or 5th generation interpretation of what people understood. You cannot even interpret it from your understanding directly.

Now, what do you do? You just press play. You just keep the teachings on while you drive. Or you listen to them while you have some cookies. Wherever it is that you are, you just press play to listen to the teachings, for example. We have that available to us.  We are never sitting too far away from the teachings. So, we must be grateful for that. We should be grateful for our situation.

It is true, you know, that, with the guru, we really must be careful. You cannot do that. You cannot get so attached and dependent on a concept. Then you forget about yourself. Then, that is the whole point. The more you are searching outside, the less you are going to be aware of yourself.  The more you are searching outside, the less you are going to meet what you are looking for.

What are you looking for? Happiness. Or not unhappiness. Right? So how to achieve that is by really looking within. True happiness lies only within us. We are the only ones who make us happy. Nobody else is going to make us happy. Even though we want to believe that others make us happy, it is like with patience. Patience is not with others. Patience is with us. In the same way, happiness is with us.

The path of practice must be done by us. So, it is quite easy to think, “Oh the guru will save me. He will teach me. Then, everything is fine, now, because I have a guru now,” or whatever.

It does not work like that; I am sorry to say. It is my responsibility to tell you that.

4 Comments

  1. John Carroll

    Thanks 😊

    Kinder than the Buddha of the three times is the Guru. Kinder than the outer Guru is the Inner Guru.

  2. Mark David Vinzens

    „The more you are searching outside, the less you are going to be aware of yourself. The more you are searching outside, the less you are going to meet what you are looking for. What are you looking for? Happiness. Or not unhappiness. Right? So how to achieve that is by really looking within. True happiness lies only within us.“

    Well said. Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi said something similar.

    „O pure people who wander the world,
    amazed at the idols you see,
    what you are searching for out there,
    if you look within, you yourself are it.“

    May we all attain that sublime realization.

  3. Stephie Brennan

    Thank you so much Lama Osel for your honesty, particularly in relation to our relationship with the Guru. It helps us to understand much.
    Also your clear explanation of the three important areas to practice, conveyed in a way that makes this accessible for people who are either new to the Dharma, or who have been connected for a while.

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