“Neither suppress nor act out intense emotions…
In terms of how to embody the collective imprint of the Vajra Regent’s transmission, I always come back to his pith assessment of how to understand the path of dharma. After the Vidyadhara’s death, a curious and somewhat aggressive student tried to put the Vajra Regent on the spot by asking a confrontational question, “What is the ground, path and fruition of buddhadharma?” Without hesitation the Vajra Regent shot back, “Maitri, death, and sentient beings.” Then he went on to explain.
Maitri is loving-kindness— in this case unconditional friendship. Death has everything to do with the experience of shunyata. Sentient beings has to do with relating unimpededly to the quality of consciousness that is directly in front of you. As I have contemplated how to understand the guru principle, how to take the Vajra Regent into my own heart, I have done it through internalizing this teaching. This teaching describes how we can relate to the entire path of dharma. It describes how we can relate to one period of meditation, and it describes how we can relate to each moment of relational interaction that occurs in our lives.
Maitri, death, sentient beings:
The ground is to make friends with the situation as it is, to make friends with our life. We make friends with our body and mind as they are – not as we would like them to be, not as we have been told they should be, but as we actually experience them, making an unconditional friendship with them.
The second phase, the path phase, has to do with dying to the resistance to what is actually there. We die to all of the supporting storylines that keep pulling us away from what is actually occurring in a given situation, whether it is relating to our own mind and heart or relating to other. Dying means taking that mini-mind moment we discover in our shamatha and vipashyana practice, where we are able to let go of the solidification of a given mental event as “me”, and turn that into a way of life. In any interaction there is always a need to make friends with a situation and accept it as it is. And then to go further, we die to any conceptual expectation. We die to any conceptual imposition we try to lay on the situation. We open nakedly. We open in such a way that, as it is said in the traditional Buddhist teachings, the two veils of conflicting emotions and subtle cognitive, dualistic setups collapse.”
The only obstacle to making friends with yourself, as you are, is surrendering your aggression. Here is a brilliant talk from Osel Tenzin’s teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The talk is entitled, “Surrendering Your Aggression.”
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