My first thought when I drew the paper with number 32 out of the basket today and read the words associated with this practice was to recoil and to think, “Wait, I don’t do that!” Following which I knew this must be a “biggie” if I had such a strong adverse reaction. “You’d better look closer at this one Joy!” was the next thought.
I turned to the commentary by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche to help with this. I think my problem was that I interpreted the wording of the original root text that read, “…if you point out the faults of another Bodhisattva…” That brought to mind the Dalai Lama or Kwan Yin or even someone like the 17th Karmapa or any of the Rinpoche’s or Lamas or even Buddhist nuns—take Pema Chodron and the like. I revere, admire and venerate teachers of this nature; I can’t imagine ever criticizing any of them. I honestly sat stupefied and then solemn for a moment and deeply inquired if I’ve criticized other Bodhisattvas.
Well, maybe Christians who still tend to irk the jesus out of me, pardon the pun. I admit that I’m still healing the wound from prior life religious persecutions—but of course it is just mind latching onto an identity as one who was supposedly persecuted. I get that intellectually and sometimes emotionally but not when the wound takes a direct hit. Okay, okay—let’s say I’m working on that. It’s a little bit difficult for me to see a Christian practitioner as a Bodhisattva but maybe I need to reconsider that.
Meanwhile, back to what Khenpo Tsultrim says about practice 32… he links this to The Seven Points of Mind Training. The Buddhist seem to have a lot of numbers associated with their teachings: the 3 this, the 4 that, the 6 this and the 7 that. Probably a good way to memorize teachings!
Anyway, Khenpo Tsultrim says that one stanza in The Seven Points of Mind Training directs the reader to think that all positive qualities belong to other sentient beings and that all faults are one’s own. This is the correct attitude. [that will develop humility for sure!] Generally, most people think just the opposite: someone else is always wrong, while they are always right. This attitude is to be given up. Patrul Rinpoche advises students to acknowledge their own deficiency first; and then, when they recognize it in someone else, to pray that the guru grants blessings to them both. It is always beneficial to see that the perceived fault in yourself is greater than it is in the other. Then you know that person is no different from you. [I highlighted what I felt where the most important points there.]
Oh Lordie, I do see how I worry/am concerned about one of my family members and their relationship to money and that this fault is greater in myself.
The Dalai Lama spoke on each of the 37 practices of a bodhisattva and he wrote one line very succinctly which says it all, “We must try to conquer our own illusions rather than those we ‘think’ we see in others.”—pg 101, Essential Teachings
Most of what I come up with while investigating the meaning of practice 32 relates to infighting amongst various schools of Buddhism criticizing each other or student’s critiquing other students or teachers.
DIVINATION ~ MESSAGE
Through examining this practice as it applies to my own life experience I can see how I am repulsed and disgusted with Christians to are always quoting scriptures. Yet, am I not right here and now quoting Buddhist scriptures in the same way?
Buddhist teachings are helping me a good deal but I must remember that Christian teachings are in the same way helping those humans who, like me, are only hoping to be better humans and grow and evolve and become a better compassionate and loving soul—a bodhisattva!
Oh, and on that relationship to money thing… better go look at the bills I’ve been avoiding looking at and work on ‘my own’ illusion!