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

Brutal truth and honesty

September 10, 2017 8

Rinpoche-3

Rinpoche is the hardest working person I know

I glance over at my laptop’s clock. It is coming up to 3am and a small group of us are sitting here with Rinpoche as Rinpoche goes through the blog for what must be the 200th time tonight. We’ve been here for 12 hours already, writing and clicking and checking, and then checking and rechecking and making sure everything is perfect, and improving what can be made better.

In between, Rinpoche stops to tell us stories, jokes and deliver teachings, and to explain to us why each aspect is important and what points we must remember to convey to others, and how to convey it to them for maximum impact. We laugh, get teased, eat snacks and continue to write the night away.

Tonight is not the first time Rinpoche has done this and technically speaking, there is little difference between tonight and any other night. But it is precisely for that reason that the depth of Rinpoche’s thoroughness is all the more humbling. For years, night after night, I have witnessed Rinpoche exerting the same effort and care into everything he does, so that someone else can benefit. Rinpoche often does it quietly and without fanfare. In fact, if anything, it is the rest of us clowns who love to shine the spotlight on it, so others can rejoice and witness an example of how much one person can care, and how much that care can change someone else’s life.

So tonight, like any other night, as Rinpoche flies through the technological knowledge needed to work on the blog, it is also easy to overlook the fact Rinpoche did receive a traditional monastic education from greats like Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche and Drepung Loseling Monastery’s Geshe Namgyal Wangchen. Question Rinpoche on any of the texts and scriptures, and he will answer you in the blink of an eye. Modern methods, traditional knowledge, both are utilised in equal degrees to help the tradition of Je Tsongkhapa to spread.

Rinpoche in mid-tease of someone. Always working and teaching, Rinpoche even finds time in between teachings to throw jokes and tease students.

Rinpoche in mid-tease of someone. Always working and teaching, Rinpoche even finds time in between teachings to throw jokes and tease students.

Some people may fall into the trap of thinking, “Well, he’s a reincarnated lama, of course he can do all of this. I’m just an ordinary person, I can’t.” Is that a fair thought though, when you consider everyone has a mind and the same 24 hours to work with? If we assume it to be somehow unbalanced to compare ourselves to a high lama, then what about CEOs, successful entrepreneurs and managers? Instead of pooh pooh-ing their successes as secular and samsaric, why not think, “What did they do to make them who they are and how can I extrapolate that to my Dharma practice?

In the safety of our comfort zones, we may think we are practising Dharma and we have done enough but in brutal truth, we have not. We practise Dharma to gain enlightenment and so as we look into ourselves, we have to be honest – how close to enlightenment are we? If we are very close, then yes we are practising but it would be good to practise some more anyway. But if we are aeons away, how can we ever be comfortable with how much we are doing and think we are doing enough?

So when people say they cannot do something, it is not because they cannot. It is because they do not want to, and in the last few weeks this has become very clear to me, not just observing it externally in the environment but definitely observing it within myself.

Every aspect of Kechara has developed under Rinpoche's auspices, guidance, advice and blessings.

Every aspect of Kechara has developed under Rinpoche’s auspices, guidance, advice and blessings.

We limit ourselves and our potentiality, and make excuses for ourselves. We tell ourselves what we can and cannot do and while verbally we may say we want something, mentally we do a lot to stop themselves from getting there.

So being in a Dharma environment under the guidance of a guru helps to break through all of that. The lama pushes us, encourages us, trains us, cajoles us, teases us, jokes with us to break through the barriers of our self-sabotage. He gives us as much as we can handle to distract us from ourselves, so while we are doing something else for someone else, we forget to feed our habituations, hang-ups and mind games. Over time, when we provide less fuel to these demons, they shrink before disappearing altogether. And in the process of engaging in this training, we produce results that benefit others too.

Like today. Today, we produced three incredible, life-changing posts to share with others (here, here and here!). Together, they will help to lift the veil of ignorance that surrounds the Dorje Shugden ban. On my part, I am fortunate to go to bed today thinking I was offer a little bit of assistance to the efforts of my lama to benefit others.

Over the years I have come to see that Rinpoche is never without care and for this reason, Rinpoche is one of the hardest working people I know. How fortunate we are to meet such great, caring gurus in our degenerate times.

Reflections and Teachings, Tsem Rinpoche

8 Comments → “Brutal truth and honesty”

  1. Colin Tan 3 months ago   Reply

    Short but concise thinking on how Rinpoche works push each and everyone working with him over their limiting belief of themselve.
    It is true that most of us always self sabotage ourself thinking we cannot accomplish this or that by not wanting to get out of our comfort zone. And i totally agree with u on how Rinpoche try to encourage us and break our limiting belief through games, jokes and laughter.
    On his own with machines.. he could have accomplished more… but because of his kindness he wanted each and everyone thats with him to break their barriers, and believe they can.

    Thank u for giving us some insight to the daily writers and Rinpoche works.

  2. lewkwanleng 3 months ago   Reply

    A kind and compassionate Guru is someone who work tirelessly for the benefit of others.

    We cannot say “Because He is reincarnate high lama so He can do it and I can’t”, as it is just an excuse for us to stay in our comfort zone. Thank you for reminding us this.

  3. Jace Chong 3 months ago   Reply

    Thank you Pastor Jean Ai for a very good post on Tsem Rinpoche, yes the hardest working and the kindest person I have ever met.

    What you say is so truth that Rinpoche’s love and care to all sentient being is so vast, that every single things that Rinpoche does, it’s to help, no matter how that thing looks in our ignorance view. This level of compassion is the highest of the high among the people I know of. For me he is the living and walking Buddha who willing to suffer in human form, and suffer to live among the clowns to help.

    For me, I want to help others, but when come to the points that my ability can’t reach more to help, I really want to run! However, Rinpoche’s compassion in actions make me think, it’s possible to let go more, to do more for others by training to be more selfless.

    Thanks Pastor Jean Ai for your observations, we are so fortunate to learn from someone who is beside the Buddha!

  4. MC 3 months ago   Reply

    Dear Pastor Jean Ai,

    You show such a deep understanding of Rinpoche. Thank you for sharing valuable insights into how our lama works and may this help more to see the great kindness and wisdom of our lama. Not everyone has the opportunity to be close to the lama but this takes them on a short journey to in crease their understanding, appreciation and faith.

    What is more, I see how you are living the belief yourself and are evolving into remarkable representation of the Guru.

    Thank you

  5. Joy Kam 3 months ago   Reply

    Dear Pastor Jean Ai,

    This point you mentioned here really nail it! “He gives us as much as we can handle to distract us from ourselves, so while we are doing something else for someone else, we forget to feed our habituations, hang-ups and mind games. Over time, when we provide less fuel to these demons, they shrink before disappearing altogether. And in the process of engaging in this training, we produce results that benefit others too.”

    Not many realises this but this is the truth in how skilful Rinpoche is, and how he makes us do good, collect some merits and stop destroying ourselves further all the time. Only a Bodhisattva would do do this. Thank you for sharing and giving the world a glimpse of how hardworking our Lama is and the things he would do to disseminate the truth that may be of benefit to someone out there who desperately needs it. We will never know. Rinpoche is really someone who would take modern technology, embraced it and really use it as a tool to benefit others. Thank you again for penning it down so well x

  6. Edwin Tan 3 months ago   Reply

    Dear Pastor JA,

    Thank you for the wonderful behind the scenes of how we got our wonderful readings on Rinpoche’s blog.

    Rinpoche and all of you writers really worked tremendously hard to give us accurate information and deep insights on Rinpoche’s blogs. We wouldn’t know how much efforts are placed into each and every single article.

    I applaud to you and the other writers for their pain-stakingly hard work, the sleepless nights and the countless amendments to present to the World the right information.

    You are so right to say we shouldn’t limit ourselves and to breakthrough ourselves. It is just up to us, up to me alone in order to grow and improve.

    Thank you very much.

  7. Nicholas Yu 3 months ago   Reply

    Thank you Pastor Jean Ai for this article. What you mentioned here is really spot on. Rinpoche always walk the talk to show us it’s possible to achieve. Rinpoche’s method may varies to different students but whatever Rinpoche does is to make us cross over the hurdle that we set to limit ourselves. Instead of seeing Rinpoche as incarnate lama that able to do everything I would see Rinpoche as an compassionate lama that tirelessly reincarnate back to help the people to be a better person and ultimately to enlightenment.

  8. claudiocipullo 3 months ago   Reply

    Glory to Tsem Tulku.

Leave a Reply