Monday, November 29, 2010

Got Guiltlessness?

"... even though you make a lot of mistakes and you mess up in all kinds of ways, all of that is impermanent and shifting and changing and temporary. But fundamentally, your mind and heart are not guilty. They are innocent."  
Pema Chodron did an interview with Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche in 2004.  She asked him as a senior Tibetan dharma teacher who has been living in the west for some time, what he thought was the most important piece of advice he could give to western dharma practitioners.   He said they need to understand guiltlessness.   

She said, "Guiltlessness?"

And you see his reply above.  Pema goes on to write: "So guiltlessness is very important in the subject of dissolving or burning up the seeds of aggression in our own hearts and our own minds.  Most of the striking out at other people, for us in this culture, comes from feeling bad about ourselves. It makes us so wretched and so uncomfortable that it sets off the chain reaction of trying to get away from that feeling." 

I found this on Pema Chodron's Facebook page, in a post from 2009 entitled Vast Blue Sky.  It is an excerpt from her dharma talk, Practicing Peace in Times of War, published by Shambhala Press.  For more of Pema's interview with Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, click this link:,0

And let me leave you with this further quote-- Pema quoting Rick Fields, a poet and buddhist teacher whom I just discovered was also a fellow traveller on this path with cancer.  (Evidently before he died in '99 he put out a limited edition called Fuck You Cancer and Other Poems, which I would love to get my hands on.)  Anyway here is the quote:

Behind the hardness there is fear
And if you touch the heart of the fear
You find sadness (it sort of gets more and more tender)
And if you touch the sadness
You find the vast blue sky

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