Thursday 9 January 2014

Accepting What Is

Chadral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche
(Photo by Lyse Lauren, Kolkata Fish Release, 2004)
During the years (1991-2006) when I used to spend quite a lot of time near my teacher Chadral Rinpoche, I never thought of requesting teachings from him. I had numerous opportunities to do so but somehow in his presence, it did not feel necessary. Just being near him was a constant and unceasing teaching of the highest kind.

People would come and go endlessly, asking all sorts of things and making all manner of requests. Some were trying to cope with tragic circumstances in their lives, many were greedy for favours of a spiritual or even material kind, a few were deeply devoted and occasionally one also spotted true practitioners. Rinpoche watched the streams of people who came to him with all of their different reasons and motivations like an unshakable mountain of grace.

Simply to witness how a 'Jnani' lives and moves in the midst of this seemingly endless throng was utterly compelling and gave me far deeper insights into the nature of reality and non-reality than anything else could have.

Rinpoche played out every scene in the 'drama' of his life in a way that always appeared to me to be absolutely appropriate and yet nothing was ever in the least bit 'contrived.' Life just unfolded around him in a very natural way.

He did not try to make things go one way or another, he simply moved through whatever was playing itself out at the time, from the silence and simplicity of what is.

A good number of us fortunate 'students' had the opportunity to serve him in various ways during these years. Some of these were very efficient and helpful, others were hopelessly unorganized and clumsy.

Throughout it all, i never once saw Rinpoche complain or show any signs of irritation when he happened to be in the hands of one of his 'clumsy' disciples. He accepted whatever was playing itself out with the utmost dignity and grace and with unflinching childlike innocence and humour.

This engendered an atmosphere around him which was always fresh, unpredictable and intensely joyful. No matter how unfavourable conditions might have appeared to be, at any given time, he was always at ease, always able to see the funny side of things.

The way that he moved through life was masterful and set a precedent for all us who hovered within his orbit.

Often, without words and yet enhanced by every move, gesture, and look, he taught us how to let life wash over us; how to be in this world and yet remain unaffected by it. We were given the rare privilege of being able to witness this first hand in his benign presence.

Learning not to fight against life, not to try to change things when they become uncomfortable, not to try to manipulate outcomes or grieve when things do not turn out as we would like them to, is a skill that requires diligence to cultivate; it requires patience and above all acceptance.

When we do not invest all our energy into trying to avoid what is actually happening to us, and most of us do this almost all of the time, we free up immense reserves of inner power.

This ‘power,’ which has been released from its endless dissipation in day-to-day happenings and our reactions to those happenings, is then available for the greater and most urgent task of recognizing who and what we really are.

Simply accepting what is enables us quickly to exhaust our karma and opens the way to true and unshakable happiness and peace.


This excerpt is quoted from the book; Masters, Mice and Men

Volume Three in series Shades of Awareness

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