I am using Weeping Buddha and the lojong sayings and commentary from Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness by Chogyam Trungpa as a study, together.
I’ve been practicing tonglen for almost three decades, and it is my main practice.
This is the thirteenth weekly installment. To start at the beginning go here.
Not wanting to leave anyone out of the joke, Pema Chodron quoted this slogan in one of her talks, and went on for quite a while about driving all blames into one. Finally a person stood up and asked why Ani Pema was blaming Juan for everything. Peels of laughter!
So, now this slogan “Driving all blames into oneself!”
When I first started all this I was struggling with the idea of blaming myself for everything. My first notes in my tonglen journal under this slogan says “This feels off!”
I was smack dab in the beginning of the New Age Movement with friends all around who gravitated to the idea of creating your own reality. I was not a convert, though being pragmatic (don’t diss it without exploring it), I tried affirmations and so forth. Fast forward many years later I understand the many levels of the psyche or how soul and ego interrelate and think that unless you can master complete enlightenment (and I’ve never met a fully enlightened person, only very very wise people), affirmations are a crap shoot.
I guess I just lost the New Agers.
I was also newly sober, knowing that I was the source of much unhappiness for myself and others. So, I worked with it anyway, trusting Buddhist teachers over many other sages, and being at that time a fan of Trungpa in particular.
I finally interpreted it as taking responsibility for whatever is on your plate. This attitude is helpful when you are looking at the parts you played in a disagreement, a fight, or losing a job for your firm. Was there anything you could have done differently to make the outcome change?
Most of us can learn a great deal just by looking at our part in things, and this may dispel a lot of the yah-yah-yahing “blame” in one’s head, or at least it helped me from grousing about so-and-so who done me wrong. I looked at how my smart-ass mouth had been part of many disagreements, or my hot temper, or my quick-to-judge-ness. I kept meditating and centered and settled my heat, and even worked with a great therapist, all about taking responsibility. I worked the fourth step and asked for forgiveness when I was able and they would hear me. Most would not, even those who were still friends. In my experience, most people don’t want to forgive, which frankly I still don’t understand.
All this taking responsibility gave me a lot of control, which by the way, we alcoholics like to have in our lives.
But there will still the crazy people and the crazy situations.
What about the times when you can’t see things you would have changed?
What about the times when it really appears “they” are to blame?
Do you simply blame yourself anyway? (That feels so wrong!)
This will be a several part series on this one slogan. Next week, part Two, Breathing Blames Into Oneself!
In this weekly commentary on the lojong, I am not open to the feed becoming
a debate for people to nitpick Buddhism or my interpretations of Buddhist concepts.
(There are lots of places for debates.) I am more interested in hearing about
YOUR life or how the lojong affected you or your practice awakening in some manner.
For more info about why, go here.