This weekend I had a rare opportunity to attend a formal teaching of the Buddhist Monk GESHE KELSANG GYATSO
It’s odd, there are some photos of this fellow in which he looks so much older, that I’m doubting the guy I saw on Friday is the same on in the above photo. But then other photos look the same… suddenly I’m doubting if it was the authour I was listening to or perhaps one of his students. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, the information is the same.
He was teaching about the power of our minds to create our reality, and how our mind can change our perception of suffering. He reiterated the holodeck theory, referring to our life as a dream state, and how we have all incarnated so often in so many different forms that we can view every person in our life as perhaps our own kind mother from a previous life.
Then he went on to discuss Emptiness. This is a concept that people can spend a lifetime pondering… and it’s basically the holodeck concept. All is emptiness until our mind puts something there.
He asked if anyone had any questions… my hand shoots up:
“So, say our reality is this blank holodeck from star trek, and our mind programs that holodeck. What about other people programming our holodeck?” And I related to him the oil pipeline question from my last blog entry.
He seemed surprised at my question and delighted too. What was awesome is he was the first person I ever met who had an answer to offer. This is huge.
One concept he offered in return is that part of the creation of reality is giving things names. We have a name for disaster, and so we can imagine it. We have a concept for it. That’s part of why others can impose their reality upon our own; a shared vocabulary.
The shared stumbling block for most people in the audience was this: If you stub your toe on a rock, how can that rock be in a dream state? How it that rock not real if you just hurt yourself on it?
He replies How do you know what you are experiencing is pain?
That’s a name we give an experience. That’s where reality begins to transform. Begin with the worst case scenario if you must, to assuage your fears. Begin to ask why you perceive this reality as suffering.
It seems obvious, doesn’t it? My toe hurts. Ow. Suffering.
But then he shared a story of a colleague who went to the dentist for a cavity filling and asked the dentist to do the work without anaesthesia. The dentist refused at first, until the man convinced him over the course of a few days, I’m a buddhist monk, I’ll be fine.
Afterwards, when asked how the experience was for him, he said, I did feel the pain, and I meditated through it. I allowed myself to experience it as part of the pain on the earth, and prayed that by taking this physical experience of pain, I might relieve the pain of others. Yes I experienced pain, but I was not suffering.
This reminds me of stories of the first nations people in Ontario, the Algonquin and the Mowhawk, who were warring people. The Mowhawk would torture captured Algonquin warriors to death. The Algonquin warrior, if he was highly trained and strong, would stoically bear the torture in silence, and his death would be honourable.
Sounds fucked, I know. I’ve always wondered how it is possible for some people to endure extreme physical suffering in stoic silence, to die with pride. I think I get it now.
Meditation is training, and I understand now too what George H. was talking about when he spoke about meditation in preparation for death. If your mind creates your reality, you being with your perception of reality. Meditation is a mental discipline which can help you to keep your perception of pain as non-suffering. This corner of reality joins the place where you can manifest reality with your thoughts – our new apartment, our new car. Along there is the reality of devic gardening, and creating composted manure from thin air. (another entry, or just read Behaving as though the God in all things mattered)
After the lecture, the monk suggest to me I read some books describing traditional buddhist teachings, because it would give me the vocabulary to describe these concepts like the holodeck. He honestly wasn’t selling his book at the time, the books were all packed away, and his assistants begrudgingly unpacked them at my request… but hey, I figured that I’d better take advantage of the opportunity.
How often does the universe manifest a spiritual teacher to answer just the questions I needed to ask?
Anyway, that’s all I have time to write at the moment… got to get to work.