Thoughts. Experiences. Inspiration.


April 23, 2011 0

Nothing in samsara is healthy.

Blackmail samsara.

– Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

The quote above is extracted from a short teaching that Rinpoche gave to us earlier today. I love it because it’s so simple and logical, and yet subtly aggressive. Above all, it’s not that difficult to accomplish.

I say ‘not that difficult’ because it doesn’t talk about the higher tantras, or complicated rituals, or esoteric concepts about emptiness and bodhicitta that you and I both know we don’t understand.

So why does Rinpoche talk about blackmailing samsara? Isn’t blackmailing a negative behaviour?

Well – think about it. Aren’t we always blackmailing people into doing what we want? How many times have you heard or said in the past “If you love me, you will…” or “If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t…”? What purpose does that kind of behaviour achieve except to draw us deeper into a downward spiral of rebirths?


So Rinpoche says, use your flaws and excuses to blackmail samsara. Don’t use your flaws against one another.

For example, if you have bad health, you should use it as motivation to do more. Rinpoche said you should reflect on it, and contemplate why you have bad health and not say, “Oh, I’m sick so I can’t help you today.”

Why not think, “Oh, I’m sick so I should help you today”? In doing so, you challenge your initial reaction which is to succumb to your laziness. Isn’t it easier to just say, “I’m sick, take care of me” and fall back into your comfort zone?

Isn’t that easier? Hmmm…easier for who? Easier for the moment, or in the long run? You see, if you do that, when are you ever going to get out of your comfort zone? Isn’t the moment when you’re feeling the lowest, and the most down when you should make the biggest effort?

So blackmailing samsara is about turning samsara on its head, and instead of letting samsara and its characteristics send you into the three lower realms, use what samsara throws at you to propel your spiritual practice.

Easy peasy?

, , Reflections and Teachings

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