Entries in Environment (1)


Lojong 43) Take on the 3 Primary Resources & 44) Don't Allow 3 Things to Weaken

7. Guidelines (37 - 57)

43) Take on the 3 primary resources.

44) Don't allow 3 things to weaken.

These two Lojong sayings have very similar points. I have heard these called the Three Jewels or the three Objects of Refuge. And I have also heard them “translated as: the Buddha, the Sangha, and the Dhamma/Dharma. More simply, the three can be described as Teacher, Environment, Teachings.

Here is a link to a site called Sarlo’s Guru Rating Service (Click on the link to go there)

Many of the accomplished teachers have ended up with reputations that they exploited their “students”. Trungpa Rinpoche married a 16 year old that he hardly knew (see her autobiographical article in the Shambhala Sun (click on the link to go there). Yet he is also revered as a master teacher by almost all of the students who had the great fortune to study with him, such as Pema Chodron.

I have found the writings of Osho to be highly enlightened, but his reputation of taking sexual liberties with female students is well known. What is the point of this discussion? It is never appropriate for a Teacher to take advantage of a student, but the Teacher may not be perfect and still he or she can have great wisdom to impart. Fortunately, some teachers seem to have both the wisdom of a great Teacher and personal qualities that instill trust, such as Pema Chodron. It is highly unlikely that any of us will be able to develop a complete understanding of reality without study with Teachers, as well as study of the Teachings.

If you have the good fortune to be reading this, you probably live a very blessed life. You have access to a computer and the Internet. You have an education and have the time to devote to self-improvement. This is a wonderful environment for self-development. This saying suggests you should make sure you appreciate your environment, if it is conducive to following the Dharma. And you should probably make an effort to remove yourself from environments that are not conducive. I often wonder how people live in Iraq, the West Bank, and other “war zones”. I do not believe you need to live in a monastery or be on permanent retreat to develop. There is something to be said for developing in the real world. When I develop a skill in a retreat, there is always the question of will I be able to transfer this to my real life. It is like the patient who claims he has beaten his addiction at the end of his 28-day program before re-entering his life. Developing in the real world is harder at the beginning, but more likely to produce lasting results. But even our real world must be able to support our practice. If you find yourself in an environment that does not support your practice, meditate on why you have not changed it.

We are so fortunate to have available so many wonderful sources of teaching. There are Buddhist Journals like Tricycle, BuddhaDharma, Shambhala Sun, and many others. And there are also many blog and Internet sites that can help us develop. Even with all of these resources, remember to evaluate the teaching based on whether it makes sense.

If none of these teachings make sense to you yet, consider finding a Teacher.

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