The Spectrum Of Human Experience.

Via Benjamin Riggs
on May 6, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

“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.”

~from Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin: Tantric Buddhist Yogin of Shambhala by Patrick Sweeney

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.”


Elephant Meditation is now on twitter… Click here to follow us!

Elephant 365 is an example of Elephant Journal’s commitment to the Mindful Life. Everyday we will offer a new reading regarding meditation practice and the spiritual path, all infused with a fresh perspective on traditional spirituality. If you would like to follow Elephant 365 on FaceBook click here and become a fan of Elephant Meditation by clicking the “Like” tab at the top of the page.


About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA and a teacher at Explore Yoga. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist and Christian spirituality on Elephant Journal, and his blog. Click here to listen to the Finding God in the Body Podcast. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter.


4 Responses to “The Spectrum Of Human Experience.”

  1. Dace says:

    Emotions makes as humans, and acting mindfully- emotions can heal our souls.

  2. […] stand? Behind your wall, your identity, your ego-you? Come out and meet life. Start a conversation. Make friends…everything is waiting and your experience of every thing depends on how you frame up the […]

  3. […] our thoughts is a powerful support for lightening up, a very helpful way to reconnect with shunyata—this open dimension of our being, this fresh unbiased dimension of our mind. When we come to that […]

  4. […] I would also say this: unless we love the David within us, the part of ourselves that is low energy, sunken, and doesn’t want to be seen, we cannot love those who are dejected in our communities. It begins within your own heart, and before you think that you don’t have those parts, think again. We all do. We are all human. We all have stories and we are all living this vulnerable, fragile, human experience. […]