Conversations with Kadampas – ordained and lay – on how they integrate Dharma into their lives, and how they work with the challenges faced
Being with others ~
Nat (N) and Maitri (M)
(cooking lunch at the centre for residents and café staff)
(M) How I integrate Dharma? I make sure i’ve got a structure to my formal practice. If I allocate practise times, nothing gets missed. Then it’s part of my daily life; and when i get in a difficult situation, i’m familiar enough with Lamrim etc, to use it.
(N) I find chatting to the Buddhas about challenges makes it personal. I imagine their response – it can be unpredictable! But it’s always something worth thinking about.
If things are moving too fast i don’t like it. Then if I’m getting too stressed, I try to identify the negated object – the BIG ME! Then I can dissolve me and the stress away into emptiness 😀
(M) Things like ‘exchanging self with others’ are good. I try to remember that others feel pain like I do. That’s especially difficult when others seem OK or I dislike them, then it’s hard to think that they suffer. There’s no difference between my and others’ suffering – it’s just how people show it that’s different.
(N) Yeah, coz we’re really all the same deep down, aren’t we. I try to find something about others that i can connect with. It sounds terrible, but it’s gotta be something that appeals to my attachment!
Then I can enjoy talking to them about it.
(J) Nah, that’s cool – better than your eyes glazing over, or you just walking away, I’m terrible at that – I get tired too easily, and normally have other stuff to do -_-
(N) But it’s important that people know they’re not alone; you both have common ground, and you share the same problems. There’s normally something you can find. Even if it’s a related problem…
(J) …or you know someone else who has it.
(N) Right! So the person knows they’re not ‘the only one’.
(J) Feeling isolated is a horrid thing; but it’s important to be genuine about it, isn’t it. Like, don’t say “oh i’ve got that!” if you haven’t, coz that doesn’t help.
(N) No it doesn’t, that’s why you try and find the common ground. You’re not pretending – it’s a genuine connection you’re making.
Sengai – the Importance of Heart Jewel ~
(driving us to the mall to buy empowerment offerings)
In answer to how he overcomes daily challenges, Sengai says he mostly relies on our Dharma Protector Dorje Shugdän
…because Geshe la says it’s an essential practise. And that doesn’t mean optional. If you don’t do Heart Jewel daily, you’re not giving Dorje the chance to help you. Heart Jewel keeps you straight.
(J) You’re so right. Duldzin moves you along the Spiritual Path ‘according to our needs and wishes’. He makes things happen don’t he – helping us overcome difficult situations with Dharma, so that we learn how to use it effectively; and removing obstacles that we really can’t deal with. You know, like it says in Kangso, Duldzin appears ‘as if in a drama‘ as whoever we need. Whether we experience them as ghastly or great – they’re just what we need!
(S) Even therangs.
(J) Ooh! they go with Dorje Shugdän’s planetary maras don’t they?
(S) Vast oath-bound retinue. I got a picture of one here 😉 —>
How do you feel about the points raised – do you have a similar view, or another way of looking at the issues raised?
leave a reply below…
nb. * pictures of baby therangs are rare, but our team of experts think these qualify
Maitri is a coordinator in BANES Children’s Services. Somerset, England
Sengai is a pale, mythical warden of the treasure at Argos. Bristol, England
Therang pictures taken in the UK