Fall 2001 Archive
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Beginning a study of the engagement between me and Deirdre. Posted by John on October 22, 2001 at 11:44:17:
I did! I did see a puddy cat!!! Heh-heh. Way to go, Lou! I laughed out loud! Laughter is Nature's way of healing excess anger. If you ever
wondered, "Why did God equip us humans with such an unusual feature as a sense of humor?" it is to dissipate the build-up of anger that sometimes
occurs in the human body.
The dispute with the Dalai Lama's school in Tucson, in brief, went like this: About two-hundred of us attended classes for a year before His Holiness
came here for his week of teaching. This was years ago. These classes were conducted by a special emmisary whose job was to prepare us for His
Holiness's arrival and the teaching he was going to be focusing on.
This Lopon ("Master") taught that the way to deal with anger was to not be angry, and meditate more. I disputed this with him on a couple of
occasions in classroom discussion. Of course, my position was that it takes a little more than that . . . it takes awareness of the anger and processing.
Then, only weeks before His Holiness's arrival, a woman class-member who had recently had a baby stood up and told the Teacher that she was
despairing (and I could *see* she was despairing in the way she described it!) because she was continuing to get very angry at her newborn baby for
crying every night, even though she was meditating more than ever. The Teacher's response to this was that she "must be doing it wrong."
I got up at this point and took issue with this teaching. He in turn asked me if I was being angry with *him*. I said, "Yes, that's the truth. I *am* being
very angry with you and I'm well aware of that." An assistant came over to me and escorted me out of the hall into an adjoining room, where he
reasoned with me about my untoward behavior.
The door to the teaching hall had been left part way open, and I heard the Teacher telling the class (some twenty of the two-hundred people in the
room were past students of mine, and there were scores of other people there from the local meditation community who knew of me as a mindfulness
teacher) . . . through the partly open door, I heard the Teacher telling the class that, according to scriptures, I was going to have to endure kalpas of
suffering (millions of years?) in future lives "because I got angry at a Bhodisattva."
A short while later, I went back into the hall, accompanied by my guardian (a big, husky fellow), apologized to the Lopon, and was allowed to take my
seat. It was *humilating*, Folks, maybe the most humiliating thing that ever happened to me in my whole life! It was sort of like having been "officially
condemned to Hell" by the Dalai Lama's own personal representative, and publicly disgraced among so many people who were probably, at that time,
most of the people in Tucson who were interested in mindfulness. And I had to sit there and keep my mouth shut about it.
On top of that . . . I had cultivated a sort of friendship with the Lopon over the months. We had lunch together a couple of times, and talked in his
office a few times. Hearing of my work, he encouraged me to write a book translating the precepts of the awareness game into Buddhist terminology,
which he said he would show to his teacher (the Dalai Lama) when he came to Tucson. In fact, he even suggested a title for my book, which he wrote
on the back of his card: "A Lamrin for Buddhist Householders." I took this as *quite an honor*. I was *stoked*!!! And I spent the rest of that year of
studies with the Lopon writing this book. I was so excited during this time, Folks!!! I thought this was going to be (ta-dah!) *my big break*, if you get
what I mean. And I appeared to have lost this honor and opportunity, too, in my fateful engagement with the Lopon that embarrasing night.
That's why your posting on this point of anger (the *form* in which you said it, I mean, which I will explain) was such a powerful stinger for me,
Deirdre. I'm sure that you can empathize with me on this. Of course, I *understand*, I really do, that there was *no malice intended* in your posting!
It was an innocent accident—a coincidence—that this button got pushed in me. And yet, as I have said here, I am strongly suspecting that there *was*
anger behind those remarks of yours . . . and, indeed, I think that when we have finished our class study of this here together, what we are going to
be looking at is a perfect example of . . . guilt and anger, back to back! Imagine that! (I know how much you love coincidences, and I have several
really *neat ones* here to point out along the way!)
To all of you students in this class, I urge you strongly to pay close attention to this coaching now. When I urge Deirdre to go back and review the
game-tape of that posting of hers, I am hoping that all of you will do the same. Ask yourselves: "Why is the Coach saying these weird things? Where
does he get these odd ideas? What makes the coach think that Deirdre was being angry?" Press into it! And see what you can come up with on your
own, before I explain my experiences of it tomorrow.
In'ch'a'Allah! ("God willing," in Arabic, phonetically), this week—in our study of "the engagement between me and Dierdre"—this is going to be the
greatest opportunity for learning and understanding the awareness game that we have ever had in Classroom Talk. And that is true whether or not
Deirdre and I agree finally on the observations that we make here together! By that I mean, even if I am wrong in my hunches here (which is always
possible with by coaching guesses!), and even if Deirdre was really NOT being angry when she wrote that posting, I think this is STILL going to be a
fantastic learning experience for all of us here!
Okay, Deirdre! Hang on a bit. Thanks for responding on this. I'm going to start preparing another response to you on this right now, which I'll post
tomorrow morning, Tuesday. After that, I'll be checking in fairly regularly from then on, to see what your responses are—and we can get a coherent
dialogue about this engagement going here, if you have the time and are willing.
Bless your heart, my Dear, for cooperating with me in this effort. You *know* I love ya', even though I lost my temper with you for awhile.
P.S. I *did* get to attend the Dalai Lama's *wonderful* week of teaching in Tucson, after all. I was graciously given an assigned seat (among more
than a thousand lucky people who assembled for this) right exactly in front of His Holiness's podium, in the fifth row! I'll tell you the rest of the story
of this on another occasion. No, I don't suppose he ever did see the book that I wrote for him. I never found out, if he did.
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