On Releasing the Need to Blame Others

blame

On the Formal Practice, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche writes:

You can experience that dreamlike quality by relating with sitting meditation practice. When you are reflecting on the breath, suddenly discursive thoughts begin to arise; you begin to see things, to hear things, and to feel things. But all those perceptions are none other than your own mental creation. In the same way, you can see that your hate for your enemy, your love for your friends, and your attitude toward money, food, and wealth are all part of discursive thought.

In Buddhism, we recognise that this aggregate of systems and senses we imagine is our “self” is merely an illusion. One of the principal benefits of this practice is that it restores a sort of gentleness… a soft, comforting reminder of what our True Nature, which is Consciousness, or Śunyata, or Love, or if you prefer the primitive metaphors, God(dess), etc., already knows. It’s about the process of rediscovering truths that we already possess, which might have been obscured by the dreamlike state.

blame2Everything that appears in your experience is a manifestation of your mind. And it is also a reflection of something within you that needs your attention.

While we dream, the events in our dreams seem really to be happening: we find ourselves in another location, conversations takes place, we experience pain or pleasure, fear or calm. Anything can happen in your dreams. All the appearances are there. But despite these appearances, no such events have really occurred while you slept. And so it is with what we imagine to be our “waking state”, which is but another level of dream-consciousness.

The first instruction is very simple, yet profound. We should not lay the blame for anything on others. Now, as simple as it sounds, I know that there will be, for many of my readers, a momentary rolling of the eyes, because this sounds rather absurd on the surface. After all, if someone attacks us on the street, why would we not say that they were to blame?

You see, all our attackers would have provided, would be the momentary circumstance for injury to occur. This returns to what we call 100% responsibility, as I discuss in my book, Śunyata – the Transformative Power of Emptiness in the Esoteric Buddhist, New Thought & Ancient Hawaiian Spiritual Traditions.

We must recognise that every experience begins in our minds. And if that is true, and if our perception of this “self”, which is really nothing more than an aggregate of senses and systems, then it is also true that we are responsible for bringing forth the misery in samsara from beginning was time. To the degree that we continue this self-cherishing, self-cleaning attitude we will experience suffering and harm in this lifetime.

Now it’s also very important, to understand that we don’t mean instead of blaming other people, we blame ourselves. Our objective, is to take a closer look at what blame feels like altogether, and then to guard ourselves against the temptation to engage in that hurtful, meaningless, and immature practice.

When you really think about it, it takes so much energy to place blame. I believe that most occurrences of placing blame have their roots in fear. When we are afraid that someone is taking something from us, doing something that will hurt us, making us look less important, less honorable, less “good”, then the ego self, begins the process of pointing fingers.

The very moment that we begin to take 100% responsibility, when we begin to say, “I have chosen this experience, these are the seeds I planted, and now I am reaping the crop at harvest time,” everything changes. When we realise that the ordinary mind throws responsibility on someone else, and that the perception of the other is an illusion, we return to the point of power within ourselves. Pure Awareness.

I like to end this section of the commentary by sharing something Albert Einstein wrote, which might have just as easily been written by a great Dharma master:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

Nothing exists independently of consciousness or mental designation, therefore it becomes easier, and in fact, essential, that we release the need to place blame.

Consider All Phenomena as Dreams

brain-connectivity-130802One of the teachings in the Tibetan practice of Seven-Pointed Mind Training tells us to consider all phenomena as dreams. This enables us to better understand that our perceptions are not always accurate, and helps to break the habituation of being reactionary, based on false-perceptions.

It’s about learning to recognise that at any given moment, our idea of reality is being interpreted through the cloudy, muddled lens of our dualistic perceptions, our fears, and chaotic data, stored on the hard-drive of our subconscious minds.

Think for a moment about someone you dislike a great deal. In your mind, you’ve probably created an idea that this person will be permanently bad, or distasteful, or even evil. Am I right?

As a result, your every interaction with that person is coloured by that perception. But your perception is no different that if you perceived that interaction while you were sleeping.

You see, while we sleep, the dream seems quite real… but the moment we awaken from the dream, we realise that it wasn’t so. These appearances, which make up our everyday experience, are simply our mind’s manifestations of confusion.

Dreams sometimes appear to be totally realistic, and have the ability to cause our pulse to race, our bodies to sweat and shake… even though they are not anything more than our thoughts.

In the same way, as practitioners of Zenkondo, we can train our minds to recognise that those experiences that play out in our ‘waking dreams’ are simply the result of our thoughts… illusions deeply rooted in our subconscious minds.

Viewing each phenomenon as existing by itself, completely independent of its surroundings, causes, conditions, and our mental labeling of it, is the same as regarding dreams as real. By learning to see every experience as a dream – whether good or bad – we organically lose our attachment to them. We relax into the moment, and allow Pure Awareness to arise within us.

Understanding the Two Witnesses

mzl.uaswqpwaUnderstanding the Two Witnesses is a term that might be new to some of you, which I first encountered in the study of the Seven-Pointed Mind Training.

In any given situation, there are always what we call “two witnesses”, or as I prefer, “two perspectives”: the perspective others have of you, and your own perspective of yourself.

Your principle witness is always your own insight.

What others think of you is irrelevant and none of your business.

Instead, start watching your thoughts, desires, dreams, motivations and agendas. Create a new kind of awareness within yourself. Become a Silent Centre, which goes on watching whatever is happening.

If you become angry, you simply watch it. Suddenly, you are no longer just angry… a new element has been introduced into the equation: you are watching it. And the miracle is that if you can watch that anger, the anger disappears without being repressed.

We call this witnessing the witness itself.

From this place of deeper awareness, we can begin to quiet the mind, and return to a place where we exist as Pure Awareness. In this deep state of awareness, the external world dissolves and the monkey mind of the ego ceases to be.

You realise that truth… the Dharma… is not something outside of you, waiting to be discovered. It’s something within you, to be awakened.

I like how Noah Levine puts it, when he says:

“Waking up is not a selfish pursuit of happiness, it is a revolutionary stance, from the inside out, for the benefit of all beings in existence.”

Medicine Buddha Mantra

Sangye Menla is known as the Medicine Buddha – a bodhisattva, who made 12 great vows. Sangye Menla sadhana is not only a very powerful method for healing (both for oneself and others), but also for overcoming the inner sickness of attachment, hatred, and ignorance.

Thus to meditate on the Medicine Buddha can help decrease physical and mental illness and suffering. The vibrational qualities of this mantra is said to ameliorate those conditions and obstacles, which impede our happiness.