• Lama Jigme Gyatso

When SELF feels Tangible

*NOTE to the reader/ viewer:

It seems inevitable

that there will be some conceptual overlap

between this and previous lessons.

And so if you’ve mastered

the Buddha’s teachings and techniques

and find my lessons too redundant

to continue enjoying them

I’ll completely understand

if you leave for other prose:

more intellectually stimulating and diverse.

A. asked:

I am struggling

with feelings of SELF.

I have some triggers

that release feelings

that seem almost real

to the touch.

I realize

that they are feelings

but have a hard time

letting them go.

Any suggestions

on helping me release these

would be appreciated.

A., my friend,

I completely understand

I’ve stood where you stand,

I’ve felt what you feel,

I’m here to help you.

The frustrations and turmoil you’re enduring

are not due to one set of problems

but rather two.

The FIRST set of problems

are quite obviously

the triggers and their consequences.

The SECOND, far more insidious set of problems

is the misinformation you’ve been fed

my a genre of teachers that I like to describe

as stupid white people.

For greater clarity

let’s consider academia:

What the difference between

a masters degree and a doctorate?

Well other than time, effort,

and crushing, student debt;

The recipient of a master’s degree

has successfully regurgitated the expertise of others,

whereas a doctor of philosophy

has performed unique experimentation,

submitted it successfully

to the rigors of peer review,

and have, ideally, contributed

to the advancement of their field.

Now, back to the wide, world

of Dharma.

Most stupid white people

who posture as teachers

have not: gathered ten thousand hours of formal study,

nor collected ten thousand hours of formal practice,

nor mastered their emotions,

no less the Buddha’s teachings and techniques,

nor accomplished full enlightenment

no less the tenth Bodhisattva Bhumi

yet they persist in spreading disinformation.

Why? Sometimes they find it profitable,

Sometimes they find it prestigious.

Sometime they do it out of malice.

But often they do it out of lazy mindedness.

Regardless of their motivation

the consequence

is that they multiply the stress

of good hearted dharma-practitioners

such as yourself.

And on their behalf

I sincerely apologize.

I shall now roll up my metaphoric sleeves

and attempt to extricate you, my friend,

from the morass of others’ disinformation

that is needlessly multiplying your stress

like bunnies in the spring time.

Let’s break it down

into bite sized chunks:

I am struggling with feelings of SELF.”

The Buddha’s teachings have been around

a VERY long time

and over the centuries

scholars began FIRST to blindly accept the teachings

of any text that claimed to be the actual

words of the Buddha,

despite that fact that they were written

centuries after his death

and differ wildly in content, theme and style

without submitting them to the test

that the Buddha himself devised:

namely that the test of a teaching (or its teacher)

is not their age, reputation, prestige, nor popularity,

nor their credentials,

nor letters of recommendation,

nor one’s intellectual

nor intuitive reaction to them.

The Buddha taught that the only test

of a so called teaching

were the effects one generates

by enthusiastically applying them

perhaps twice daily

for seven consecutive days.

In essence the teaching that evolve us in so little time

are worth relying upon

and the teachings that don’t

are worthy of disregarding.

After generations of scholars

blinding accepting every sutra that crossed their field of vision

folks’ spiritual attainments became increasingly more

flaccid, impotent, worthless, and weak.

In their frustration and confusion

SECONDLY they began relying upon mere commentaries

to the sutras

and then commentaries to the commentaries.

And like thirty-five children

standing in a line playing post office,

the message whispered in the ear of the first child

differed wildly from the message uttered by the thirty-fifth.

Over time folks began to rewrite the earliest teachings

such as those of the four noble truths

to harmonize with the later so called teachings

such as those that fetishize emptiness

who’s origin could be traced back

to the influence of neo-Taoism upon Buddha-dharma.

As such it was taught

that all suffering was caused

by a belief in a self.

But the Buddha never taught that.

On one level the above statement

infers that one must believe in the non-existence

of a self.

Sadly both belief and disbelief

share two things in common

they are the product of grasping

at the rigidity of idea AND emotion.

Allow me to shed some light on this.

From a certain point of view

the FIRST noble truth is simply:

there is Stress and plenty of it.

The SECOND noble truth observes

that we humans have the unfortunate

talent of taking whatever stress life tosses upon us

and exacerbating it by grasping at our impulses

to strive to shove some things away

and strain to reach for other things.

It is the fundamental duality

of pushing and pulling,

dread and desire,

fear and hope,

hate and greed,

that exacerbate our stress.

Luckily the THIRD noble truth

is that there is a state

wherein one is free NOT of the presence of Dread and Desire

BUT merely their tyranny.

The FOURTH noble truth

teaches that this is attained

NOT by the caprice

of some real or imagined celestial being,

BUT by practicing and then mastering

eight sets of techniques.

My friend I am delighted

that you are experiencing

feeling of self.

For that means you are practicing

the SEVENTH fold of the path: mindfulness.

There are so many foolish teachers

who infer that such experiences

are a spiritual failing.

But that myth

could not be further from the truth.

So what then are we to do with triggers

and feelings that feel almost real to the touch?

First we are to persist in noticing them

from a courageous place of vulnerability

which is the practice of Mindfulness:

the SEVENTH fold.

Then we are to harness the raw energy of the experience,

first by practicing the active contemplation of letting go:

the FIRST fold of the path,

second by practicing the active contemplation of wishing-love:

the SECOND fold of the path,

and third by actively physically relaxing

into the passive mental release of the experience

which is called Meditation:

the EIGHTH fold of his path.

All these techniques will be explored momentarily

in this, and every, livestream.

The beauty of applying the same techniques

to ALL that we perceive

is that is undermines of dualistic habit

of shoving somethings away

and reaching for other things.

My friend, as one who has also struggled

with profound triggers

due to numerous physical disabilities

and many mental traumas…

I know it can be difficult to feel

that the aphorism:

Whatever comes

let it come,

whatever stays

let it stay,

whatever goes

let it go!

is remotely grounded in reality.

But I assure you,

the techniques we are about to play with

are Mary Poppins’ spoon full of sugar

that makes the medicine go down.

But don’t take my word for it.

Put it to the test

by practicing with me momentarily.

Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action

In the Tibetan tradition Lamas are supported

not by monasteries but by students

as such the production of these livestreams,

blogs, and class materials is supported

by the generosity of viewers, and listeners, and readers

just like you.

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