El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

Jealousy

March 31, 2011 0

(Taken on Chris’ iPhone)

I’m sharing here a photo I did not take, but it is a photo that has got me thinking about a great many things.

Here’s its context – earlier this afternoon, I posted a picture of myself which had been taken during the greeting cards photo shoot. James saw it and thought it’d be funny for him to imitate the wreath-wearing aspect, and compare it to mine. It really was funny, and that’s the picture that you see above.

James’ joking comment that “we will see who looks better, okay?” got me thinking. I’ve been struggling with some jealousy, and quite a lot of frustration issues over the last couple of weeks. Ultimately, what calmed me down was a conversation with Rinpoche about our expectations of others, and how we can react to disappointments we face.

After all, Rinpoche himself has faced hundreds, if not thousands, of moments of disappointments since he began turning the wheel of Dharma in Malaysia. It’s only natural if you’ve got thirteen departments (and counting!) dealing with all manner of people who need help.

These 13 departments bear testament to the benefit that Rinpoche brings to others, and the way in which he is constantly creating ways to benefit them. With so much going on, you might think that disappointment is not possible. In fact, it becomes entirely more possible…why? With the more methods a lama opens to help others, he also opens more avenues / opportunities for others to hurt and disappoint him.

But still, he continues to do so because never mind himself and how he feels – YOU and YOUR happiness are important to him.

Rinpoche said that the disappointment comes when a lama’s effort in teaching is not met with a matched result. In my layman’s terms, a teacher like Rinpoche can spend years teaching a student who just never transforms. Despite Rinpoche’s best, skilful efforts, the student’s karma and lack of merit often overwhelm their transformation and progress.

So what keeps Rinpoche going despite the disappointment?

The thought that “May I never be like them. May I never degenerate until I reject the Dharma. May I never degenerate until I have wrong view of the Dharma. May I gain attainments, so that I can help you.”

From that, Rinpoche pushes himself to do more. Why? A Bodhisattva, an enlightened Being can NEVER give up on you. By virtue of their vows, no matter how terrible you are, they will never give up on you. Why? Because you are suffering, and it hurts them to see you suffering. So because of their bodhicitta (compassionate) nature, they will come up with every which way to end your suffering.

And if you haven’t got that much of a chance in this lifetime, they will come back to us when we have the merits to receive (then realise!) the teachings.

It’s almost a Catch-22 – because it hurts for them to see us suffer, Bodhisattvas are fated for lifetimes of disappointment since they cannot leave us behind due to our continued suffering without them.

That is, they are fated for such disappointments unless WE do something about it.

You see, what Rinpoche has always taught me about karma and the Dharma is that it is up to me. If I want to be angry, it is up to me. If I want to suffer, it is up to me.

Equally, if I want to be happy, it is up to me.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

I really enjoy that aspect of responsibility. It is in my hands. My thinking is this: “You, as much as I hate or love you, cannot determine my rebirth and future lifetimes. So why should I favour you, or be mad at you?”

From that thought, from taking responsibility for my actions, jealous and anger no longer become issues, because I see the supposed source of such negative emotions as the same as my friends – they are suffering as much as I am, so why should I blame them for mine?

So I will protect Rinpoche and Kechara because they are my chance to happiness. It is my responsibility to protect what will make me happy, and what will make others happy.

How can I leave a lama who wants to build a retreat centre that will offer solace and peace of mind to hundreds of thousands of people? How can I rob that many people of their chance to happiness? How will I ever be able to face the karma of such an action? I’ve already got enough of my own s**t to deal with!

I simply cannot.

That is why I fold my hands to Rinpoche. He helps me to sleep more easily at night, because I know my conscience is clear since it is stamped with the responsibility to spend the following day less jealous and angersome.

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