Unconditionally Cheerful April the First.

Via on Apr 1, 2011
Laughing by BeWakeful, on Flickr
Photo: BeWakeful

Don’t be afraid to be a fool!

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche [a famous Buddhist teacher] always encouraged us with the slogan, “not afraid to be a fool.”  This always makes me think of the open-heartedness of a child, and the naïve willingness to extend and entrust that open heart to others.

Yet in buddhadharma 101, basic dharma—we are also encouraged not to trust. The logic goes that: given that everything is impermanent and that everything and everyone changes, we should not trust things or people, even friends.  In one of Trungpa Rinpoche’s famous poems he flatly states, “Do not trust.”

The buddhadharma points out that everything is fundamentally groundless. We think we have a secure, stable job, but then there are cutbacks and we are laid off. There are no guarantees. We think we walk on solid earth—but there are earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires, and now man made nuclear disasters spewing radiation. Even if we avoid all of these, no insurance can insure us against our own death.

Yet right from the beginning the Shambhala Buddhist teachings encourage us to trust! Given the above, is this foolish?  Is Trungpa Rinpoche contradicting himself?

It is worth checking out just in what we are encouraged to trust. We are actually being encouraged to trust the spacious aspect of mind, the continuity of awareness. The Shambhala teachings are all about developing our awareness, intelligence, and unconditional confidence—and trusting in that.

This is much better than trusting in things, which tend to fall apart.  And we can trust that they will!

By relaxing into and trusting awareness, the continuity of awareness, the true nature of mind, we discover an inexhaustible source of uplifted energy.  From the very beginning, from the first teachings we hear in Shambhala Training Level I, we are encouraged to connect with the unconditional openness of what is called Basic Goodness.  This is our fresh starting point whenever we get lost or stuck.  Basic Goodness is our unconditional soft spot that is more fundamental than our ignorance of it.  It is the opposite of ego—which is our blind spot.

Basic Goodness inspires us to extend awareness and compassion beyond the reference point of self.  When we open to Basic Goodness, we feel the essence of what it is to be sentient, to feel, to be awake, and to have the willingness to extend our open heart.

In other words, Basic Goodness inspires us to be vulnerable, and to risk being a fool by questioning, offering, and participating in our world.

About Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis met the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and, following Rinpoche’s invitation, immediately moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a part of his young and vital sangha. The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.

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3 Responses to “Unconditionally Cheerful April the First.”

  1. Beth Jinpa Williamson says:

    Beautifully written. Precise and concise. Ms. Lewis has been working and living buddhist truth for many years. Dharma is as close to her as breathing.
    There are so many contradictions in buddhist thought that can be delightfully resolved by going beyond concept (though I used to argue ad infinitum about them). Just today I thought of another one: “Regard all dharmas as dreams” put together with the precision and clarity of awareness. No problem. “Change your mind and relax as it is.”

  2. Beth Jinpa Williamson says:

    I thought of another apparent contraction. The female in the picture has her eyes closed and the title is “Be Wakeful.” Again, no problem. Wakefulness is joyful. The nature of our mind is big enough to hold all contradictions. Chogyam Trungpa was always alluding to and demonstrating that.

  3. brilliant!!! I am linking back to this post from my post: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/04/i-used-to-… absolutely love this!

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