Ogyen wrote:I wouldn't cut you short of purity or inspiration. In effect, you are as pure or as inspiring as the opportunities you take to be kind. People aren't made pure and inspiring magically. They are made such by one simple choice at a time, in that when confronted with a situation where there is a way to be wise and kind, they are, and for others.
Yeah, perhaps I have some good qualities, but don't possess any sort of "magnetizing"/"mesmerizing" siddhis to influence people who I wouldn't normally be able to influence. I guess I'm trying to say that I lack "spiritual charisma."
Ogyen wrote:So for example, the fact that your family is your family and you are Buddhist already puts them in relation to dharma. This is very good karma for them. And for you. It is your puzzle to solve. Perhaps not immediately, but think of how much karma has gone into these exact conditions you call your family.
That's an interesting point! I think it's also a puzzle to solve for them. They think, "How the hell can an intelligent, fairly young westerner be intensely interested in Buddhism?" Some of them can dismiss it because they think I've just been brainwashed by a cult, but for the others who realize I'm thinking clearly, I think it becomes like a koan for them to reflect on. And maybe when they read things in the future, they will pay more attention to Buddhist news, such as stories about HH the Dalai Lama.
Ogyen wrote:Most importantly, learn to relate to them in what matters to both of you.
Yeah, I try to. We run out of conversation topics and common ground quite fast these days. I guess I'll make my visits with them very brief in the future.
Ogyen wrote:So sometimes I look at my dog and sigh that he is so slave to his nose that he would be reborn a dog for 30 lifetimes because he loves food THAT much.
I never think about dogs like that because I'm blinded by my love for dogs. I find their physical forms so pleasing to look at and to touch that I suppose part of me wishes that they would be reborn as (well-cared for) dogs for a long time.
Ogyen wrote:In the end, you have very little influence on others, but sometimes your actions can inspire a little fire in someone next to you, and that desire to know truth can spread like fire too.
Maybe. Although I'm not so powerful yet as to make it "spread like fire." Right now I think I make it spread more like "grass growing."
Occasionally, I'll meet a person who is interested in things like yoga and who seems pretty open to eastern things, so I'll start to talk to them about Buddhism a little bit, but even these people seem quite scared off by the thought of visiting a Buddhist center. Perhaps I'll have had some tiny effect on them, but it seems like it will be a long, long time before any of them ever walks through the doors of a Buddhist sangha. I guess many people are scared of organized religion and are scared of the thought of having an actual human spiritual teacher who will observe and judge and point out their faults.
Ogyen wrote:I'm also not saying people are dogs, I'm simply saying no matter what the level of difference is in communication and with a dog it's pretty drastic as language is a one-way street in that relationship, you can still give and love kindly.
Hehe. You love humans more than I do. I love dogs more than you do.
The lack of language ability can be a boon as well as a flaw. Since dogs can't speak, they can never say the hurtful things that humans can, and for this reason, I can assume more positive things about them. I suppose I am one of those people who trust and like animals more than people.
Ogyen wrote:So really, any bit of kindness helps! You cannot go wrong by being a good person to your family regardless of who or how they are or aren't, if you get what I mean.
I know what you mean, but I think the kindest thing for me to do right now is to stay the hell away from my family for a few years (they are family members I was never that close to and saw only seldomly in the past anyway).
Ogyen wrote:compassion in all things is dharma.
True. My compassion could use some work. It feels a bit strange to me not to do the Kagyu meditations on compassion that I used to do, but these are my Guru's instructions. I have faith in him and am doing things his way now. Hopefully, I'm setting the stage for compassion to blossom in me in the future. After doing my Ngondro for a month, my mind feels very calm and clear and I feel a very small, general sense of love, but I don't yet possess the compassion for difficult situations.
When I see you, all I see is a very pure person experiencing being human, not the other way around, a human trying to experience purity. So perhaps we are both right, but perhaps being right is irrelevant too.
You're very sweet, Ogyen. Please give your dog a massage, a treat, and almost embarrassing amounts of love for me!
Maybe one day you'll love dogs as much as I do, and maybe one day I'll love humans as much as you do.
P.S. Here's a dog who can almost speak!