Monday, August 7, 2017

Becoming more human.

I'm nothing special, just an ordinary human being.
That's why I always describe myself as a simple Buddhist monk.
His Holiness Dalai Lama

I have heard the Dalai Lama speak on several occasions, and often times he will remind us of this point. It is really a teaching unto itself, a reminder for ourselves in our own practice.

In our own practice, we often find ourselves trying to escape the human condition. We try to get away from all of the pain and suffering, to relieve ourselves of the burden of our anxiety and stress. We can work with our condition in healthy ways, or in way that continue to feed our own neurosis and confusion, that is the challenge of the practice.

I think part of the reason that the Dalai Lama reminds us that he is an ordinary human being is because a lot of people project onto him the notion that he is a Buddha or some kind of god, above it all. They imagine that he is somehow removed from the human condition, that he is different from us.

There is a tendency, that I have often witnessed in so called advanced practitioners, to be above it all. Our practice can lend itself to being the knower of truth, the provider of every solution and the one with an answer to every question. This is a real danger, the work of ego and arrogance. It is something that we should watch out for in our own practice.

The Dalai Lama reminds us that through our practice we should become more human. The goal isn't to become better than human, or some kind of superhuman, but to truly be human. An ordinary human being. Our practice is about embodying human values, connecting with what it really means to be human and using that as the basis for our practice.

Orienting ourselves with human values, our practice should be simple. Simply be present, practice mindfulness and compassion, be grateful and enjoy this life. Don't make things too complicated. Don't be too complicated on the inside, don't have too many wants and needs. Don't stir the pot.

Be simple. Easy going.

And he is a Buddhist monk. This is his job. He takes it seriously. We should take our practice seriously. As practitioners, this work that we are doing is important. Don't be lazy. Don't give way to your bad habits and doubts. This is important work that needs to be done.

Living this way, as a simple human practitioner, we can make a profound impact on the world. We can be makers of change, forgiveness and healing. We can alleviate pain and right injustice. We can enjoy life, appreciate its beauty and tenderness. We can have a peaceful heart and a happy mind.

Don't believe it is possible?

The Dalai Lama is showing us, it is so.

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