March 04, 2007

Truth and Anger

In his blog In Limine, Greenfrog quotes Ram Dass speaking of the instructions from his teacher Maharajji to always tell the truth and to let go of his anger.

“The trouble is, we can only tell the truth when we cease to identify with the part of ourselves we think we have to protect. ... I can never be straight with you if I need something from you. So in order to tell the truth to you, I have to give up whatever that need is inside myself. That's why satya is a practice of renunciation; what we're required to renounce are the attachments that keep us from speaking the truth.”

I thought I had given up my need to understand everything. I thought I had accepted confusion and bewilderment. I deal with them better now, but the truth is not acceptance, but rather apathy. I question less deeply because I am protecting myself. The questioning will lead to frustration, anger, suffering, a self-perpetuating cycle. I fear this.

Gehlek Rimpoche tells a story in his commentaries on Tsongkapa about the Buddha’s nephew. The young man lived a wild life and would not practice so the Buddha abducted him and took him to a heaven realm where he found six beautiful young women who were waiting there for him to be reincarnated. The nephew decided to renounce and become a monk so that he could earn enough karma to reach the heaven realm, but even after he became a monk, the other disciples shunned him. He did not understand, so he spoke to Ananda, the Buddha’s right hand man. Ananda took him to a hell realm when six hungry ghosts were stirring a pot, waiting for the nephew of the Buddha because they knew that he would spend a short time in the heaven realm then end up in the hell realm. The scared the poor nephew even more, but even that was not enough to ensure a pure renunciation or put him on the right path.

Neither desire for pleasure nor fear of suffering can bring about renunciation. When is acceptance apathy? When is anger fear? When is truth confusion? When is confusion acceptance? I would have failed Maharajji’s instructions.

I am angry that I can’t find the truth (even if it bit me on the ass, which it probably did).

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