Author Topic: Footprints on the Journey: Self-Cultivation -Khenpo Sodargye  (Read 1255 times)

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Footprints on the Journey: Self-Cultivation -Khenpo Sodargye
« on: January 04, 2017, 08:47:31 am »

Before walking into a crowd to bring forth benefit, any spiritual practitioner must first tame his or her own afflictive emotions and gain a realization unshakable by circumstance. Such is the inexorable order in Buddhism.

When negative emotion is still rampant, one is like “a clay statue of Buddha attempting to cross the river.” When one can hardly save oneself, what is there to say of liberating others? Furthermore, selfish greed for fame and money can hide under the guise of benefiting others; such superficial activity is totally meaningless. In fact, without pure motivation, teaching the Dharma is not allowed.

The Omniscient Longchenpa says in The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions:

If one is ensnared by selfish desires while trying to benefit beings,
One is liable to turn into a charlatan, beware of this pitfall!

And again:
Without having attained clairvoyance in the first place, performing the task of benefiting beings is tough.

Master Dro Gompa comments: “Spiritual practitioners must wear patched-up garments and constantly hold a mala in hand. The fronts of their retreat huts are covered with distinct footprints of birds (meaning they do not go out). While one is still at the stage of learning and practicing, it is utterly useless to teach the Dharma to indolent students. I doubt our Geshe will be pleased; likewise I’ll regard this person as frenzied.”

Tsangpa Gayre also left this advice: “Hoping to harvest crops in the fall without having sowed in springtime is nothing but the wishful thinking of hungry ghosts. Trying to tame beings without the coming together of ripening conditions is nothing but a senseless endeavor.”

Geshe Potowa also urges us: “When one starts spiritual practice, the most important task is to direct effort toward training one’s own mind. Other activities centered on helping others are not permitted. One needs only to generate in the heart the aspiration of benefiting others; other than this, it is not absolutely necessary to take actions in body or speech.”

The great master Buton Rinpoche has also taught earnestly and tirelessly the following: “Multitudes of Buddhas of the past have not saved many confused beings of this world, nor have the compassionate great Bodhisattvas tamed them. They harbor resentment of criticism and become conceited when praised, are jealous of superiors and competitive with equals, despicable of inferiors and ruthless in bearing. They do not give up covetousness and hatred even though they have received Dharma teachings. Having no skillful means to tame such beings yet, we should train ourselves first. The ultimate essence of the Dharma is to benefit beings. However, it should be applied according to the need of each individual. Become aware of their afflictive emotions, their past and future tendencies, then teach only when you are capable and have no more self-interest. If you still chase after fame, wealth, pleasure, and praise, if you possess no clairvoyance but want to help others, it will be like wishing to fly freely in the blue sky with no wings. Not only will you fail helping others but also you’ll ruin yourself. Although teaching and learning the Dharma are extremely important, the teacher must have kept pure precepts and genuinely renounced earthly strife. And the students must be earnest, intelligent, have unbiased views and yearn for the Dharma. To teach the supreme Dharma only to worthy ones is the secret. Having a large retinue who chase fame and wealth of this life, having delivered wonderful teachings but lacking faith and aspiration, neglecting actual practices and having a mind full of avarice and hatred, these kinds of teachers and students will be tightly bound by the ropes of samsara.”

Of course, if a person is free from self-interest and feels compassion for miserable beings, he or she is permitted to convey the Dharma even before having tamed the mind. This kind of teaching is meritorious, and will not be harmful.

24th of March
May 5, 2002
At Wu Lau Mountain, Xiamen


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