My apologies for the late post. Time completely got away from me :).
Tonight we will begin to look at slogans around transforming bad or difficult circumstances. There are several slogans in this section. Its probably best to look at two or three together. But first we need to get clear about the view (or lens) we are using to explore the slogans in this section. If we approach this section with the wrong view – much of the slogans will have a sense of demanding we simply “suck it up and keep moving”. The way I have learned to approach this section is to consider the slogan as a light to help me see through the darkness of delusion. We have often talked about things like attachment to pleasure, opinions, a sense of self, expectations, etc.; all of which bring let downs, disappointment, dissatisfaction – the foundation of suffering. What we need is a light, a warning sign, to let us know to where we are or a bell to remind us to tread lightly. That is how I hold the slogans in this section.
We will start with exploring the first slogan (as a stand alone) – When the world is filled with evil, Transform all mishaps into the path of Bodhi. To me this slogan basically means that everything that arises in our lives can be seen as support for our awakening. This is similar to the conversation we had last week about training with the slogans in everything we do but it takes us to an even more subtler way of abiding. What if the whole point of this human existence was to awaken the mind? It would require us to turn our view from an external perspective to an internal perspective.
To do this we need two assumptions – (1) wisdom comes from obstacles so we need them to awaken and (2) awakening has more to do with how we hold or relate to experience rather than the experience itself. It like welcoming the obstacles in life because they help us awaken. The more we are able to see our life obstacles as generous gifts, the more illuminated our path becomes and the more confidence, courage and capacity we have to move through life. Rather than spinning around worrying about the rightness and wrongness of the obstacles and experiences of ordinary life, we look for the stickiness in any situation first. It’s not that we don’t care about rightness or wrongness. It’s that the our practice (the path of Bodhi) uses the causing of harm or non-harm as it’s gage rather than the judgment that is stuck to rightness and wrongness. Paying attending to the stickiness first allows us to move through life with the least amount of harm even as we stand up for whatever truth we believe.
We’ll let the wisdom of the group bring this idea out more tonight…