Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dharma and Samsara

My sister is currently visiting Malaysia after five years of being away. The only thing we have in common are blood ties. It used to be also a love for good food, but this has dropped in priority for me for awhile now. Especially as I am currently vegetarian.

My dear father even drove up from Penang to see his darling daughter and over dinner on Sunday, my dad asked me if my sister could see Rinpoche the next day. I was pleased but it's not that easy, I explained. You have to request if you want to see Rinpoche. Rinpoche has thousands of requests evey day to see him. What is the purpose of seeing him? My sister didn't look very interested anyway, prefering to focus on her foie gras.

My heart sank. Rinpoche is so precious to me and my sister and dad just didn't understand or value who he is. Even though I would love nothing better for them to see Rinpoche, as they would get blessings merely from seeing him, I simply could not bring myself to request on their behalf because I felt my sister didn't even want to. Anyway, it was extremely unlikely for Rinpoche to be able to see them on such short notice.

Strangely enough, and there is no such thing as coincidence, at about 5ish the following day (yesterday), I received an sms saying Rinpoche was going to give a Dharma talk on Setrap that very evening. While extremely happy, I felt a deep heaviness in my heart that my sister wouldn't want to go. And her reasons would be that she has scheduled every mealtime every day in KL on where to eat her favourite foods. Also she had planned to meet her friend whom she hadn't seen for 5 years that night too. However I foolishly hoped.

My sister was sleeping when I went downstairs to see if she wanted to attend the Dharma talk. So I called my dad, who was busy looking at Ferraris somewhere near Batu Caves. My dad just said he didn't think he'd be back in time but we could go ahead. He also said my sister had arranged to meet her friend.

When my sister finally woke up, I asked her if she wanted to come. She looked as if I'd asked if she wanted to go to the dentist.

I had to walk off and gather my things because it was late and I did not yet have mastery over my emotions and I didn't want to show my disappointment. Eventually, I got my stuff together and decided to sit down and share with my sister - whatever you eat tonight, tomorrow it's gone. Your friend who you are meeting tonight, tomorrow she'll go back to her own life and what will you have tomorrow? Tonight is such a rare opportunity and Rinpoche doesn't give public talks often AT ALL.

She looked at me as if I was talking Croatian.

I left it.

I had a sense of failure - Rinpoche has often asked us if our families are in Dharma, if our children, our lovers, our good friends are in Dharma, and if not, it's because we haven't shown what benefit there is in Dharma.

At least I had some influence over Sean, and when I told him about the talk, he came happily, despite his greatest attachment which was also food! He didn't pull a black face or complain but just came. And he was wearing a Setrap T-shirt too!

Anyway, Rinpoche was fabulous as usual - lots more meat to add to my Setrap manuscript which I will be working on once I transition over the website stuff I am doing. I also enjoyed the drive home with Sean after the talk, when he kept asking me about Setrap and giving me a quiz!

Also, I had a realisation that I didn't even think twice about ditching dinner with my dad for the talk, to me - priority was mmediately going to the talk whereas a year ago, I might have wondered how I was going to juggle the Dharma and samsara.

Today, I had a lunch with my dad and sister - I asked my sister, where do you see yourself in five years time. She said she didn't think about it because it was too far ahead. So I said how about in one year's time. She said nowhere and promptly continued eating her cheese fondue.

I really didn't know what to say or even how to help her. How to help someone who doesn't even know they need helping. It's like they're walking in excrement and I want to tell them, you don't have to walk there, you can walk here - it's clean and nice, but they say no thanks, I like walking here. It's perfectly fine.

It was a mere taster of what Rinpoche deals with on a daily basis - we only have a mere glimpse of what people are missing out on.. Rinpoche can see it loud and clear. What must it be like for Rinpoche to see how all of us, out of our sheer stupidity, refuse to change and cling onto our habituations and negativities. He can already see ourresults as we blissfully and ignorantly create the causes.

The only way to help bring others to the Dharma is, as Rinpoche says, to simply work harder to transform ourselves so that people will be inspired by us. If people are not inspired by us, it's our fault.

So I kicked myself up the ass and trundled back to work - and my Dharma family.

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