Hope springs momentarily

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I’ve been feeling hopeful the last couple of days.  Pleasant change from some of the sadness and confusion I had been experiencing in the last month or so.

There had been a bad taste left in my mouth from the poor treatment I had received by both my employer and some senior members of my spiritual community.  I honestly was not expecting apologies from anyone, and thought that I had accepted and moved on. So, I was taken by surprise at how verklempt I got when I actually did get those apologies.   Granted, they did not come from the people who had been disrespectful, but rather their proxies.  But, I so appreciated the kindness that came in the form of a simple “I’m sorry you had to go through that. You didn’t deserve to be treated like that.”  Silly, isn’t it?

On Saturday there was a farewell get together for my former teacher.  It was odd.  We merely greeted each other when I arrived and then said good bye when I left.  I thought there might be some acknowledgement of everything we had been through together, but it was a simple “good bye”, no more emotional than saying good by to a pleasant stranger who you had just met at a party.  I view her behavior as somewhat pathological – she has an inability to be close to people in a genuine, heartfelt way.  Yet, by treating me as just a pleasant stranger, could she be demonstrating some equanimity, free from attachment or aversion?  We never truly know what is going on in another’s heart, so I shan’t judge her.  She’s been judged enough.  I hope she finds some peace, and that she finds that happiness can only come when we crack open our heart, exposing all the soft vulnerable bits.  As a teacher, she was able to bring the dharma to life when she was on the throne teaching.  Yet, off the throne, her actions felt contradictory, and she hid behind this false cloak of the infallibility of the teacher.  Dharma is how we live our daily lives, not just the words we speak when we’re in a “spiritual” setting.  And our teachers of all people need to demonstrate that.  People aren’t stupid.  If you aren’t walking the walk, despite how well you talk, people know.

At the same party, I met the new teacher for the main center.  Lovely woman.  Down to earth.  Very approachable and not at all intimidating.  I was able to tell her where I was at, my doubts re: the NKT, and what I felt I needed to be doing now.  She understood.  She simply said that when I was ready to start teaching again to let her know.  No pressure.  No guilt.  I felt accepted right where I was at.

The next night I went to one of her teachings, and my initial good opinion of her was further validated.  I felt inspired.  I feel like the path I’m on – one of uncertainty, curiousity – is the right thing for me to be doing now.   Maybe I’m still coming down from my old teacher and studying Shantideva (who definitely was one hard core Boddhisattva dude), but I’m feeling the need for a  gentler, more organic touch in terms of my dharma practice.  Yet with this new teacher in place, I feel like I can stay on the fringes and be completely OK to take what I like from the NKT and not get involved in those things that disturb my mind.  

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9 responses »

  1. So you get an apology by proxy?

    So no senseless violence?

    Oh well, violence doesn’t solve anything, unless you hide the bodies. Still I’m glad you’re feeling better.

  2. I would like to learn more about Buddhism. I’ve tried to read a couple of texts but get hopelessly lost. Can you point in a suitable direction? I visit temples here, restful places, and have no idea what any of it means.

  3. Welcome Stevo and Paul! Stevo, I’ll try to compile a list of recommended books for you. Are you looking for a basic intro to Buddhism, i.e., history, the different traditions, etc.? Or are you looking for a simple practice and inspiration?

  4. I’m glad to see your feeling better about things. I know you’ll keep plugging away and working at it.

    take care,

    Greg

  5. Hi

    I’m fascinated to have found your blog. I have recently had a traumatic break-up with my NKT teacher in Sydney. She has now also left to become a resident teacher in New Zealand. Our relatsionship also broke up in much the same way you described. Complicating it is the fact that she is a nun and I’m a single male. There was a great deal of attachment. Before she was told to go to NZ, something happened where I too felt that “heart connection” break. I’m still recovering from what is one of the most traumatic relationship breakdowns I’ve ever had, and there’s a sense of loss. So…it’s gratifying to find someone who seems to have had almost exactly the same issues I have. The degree of distance she showed to me last time (in Singapore) was simply too much for me to deal with and I formally and emphatically ended my relationship/friendship with her. I too am torn about my NKT loyalties and it was only after a prolonged inner struggle that I recently decided (under some pressure) to get my HYT empowerments in Singapore.

  6. Hi Ron —

    I’m curious, how did you find my blog? Was it through a search, or a link on an email for the New Kadampa Survivors group? If not the latter, did you know that such a group existed? It’s a yahoo group with lots of people at various stages of either considering leaving or have left all together. I think the problem is that so many people feel that the dysfunctional centers and student/teacher relationships are unique to their situation. I’m starting to learn it is somewhat endemic throughout the NKT.

    I was ready to completely pack it up, but I’m finding new hope in our new teacher. She’s so grounded and down-to-earth, it is refreshing. I’m also good friends with some fairly rebellious practitioners who aren’t afraid to call bull shit bull shit. They are encouraging me to stay and try to fight the zealotry and not buy the excuses for the bad behavior of some teachers.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I completely understand. But, the one thing that all this has made me do is go for true refuge to the three jewels. At times going to class and working for the center had become a joyless obligation. Now, I read and write about dharma because I love it! All this nonsense forces us to go within and realize the teachings for ourselves.

    Best of luck to you on your journey.

  7. Thanks Lazy Buddhist

    Yes, it’s been my biggest teaching so far. I just googled New Kadampa and discovered this blog, but I do know about the newkadampasurvivors. There is a lot of nonsense in the New Kadampa Tradition. However, I feel I’ve gone to Hell and come out the other side. I’ve started to find that dwelling on the problems in the NKT isn’t helping me. I wonder if people feel the need to constantly justify why they’ve left. That’s all godd and well but sometimes you just to move on. I did the same when I left my old country South Africa. You are right – the NKT is a human institution with human problems. I’ve going to use the opportunity, like you, to deepen my refuge. In the end, we’ve taken refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, not in any one tradition. Thanks for your advice. I will keep in toouch with your blog.

  8. on the throne = buddha, off the throne = a pleasantly strange pain in the ass? soundz like real alley tea two me.

    well hell ~ n e x skuice 4 a par-tay eh?

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