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Buddhadharma : Summer 2011
winter 2005| 50 |buddhadharma the teacher, we are actually transcending all levels of all of the relationships – the interdependence – in our lives, parents, friends, enemies, what have you. The very fact of having a relationship that is based on dharma and nothing else is very transcendent, without even adding any specific teachings to it. It is the relationship of all relationships. Yet working with the teacher is not that straightforward and not so easy sometimes. Even though you’d like it to be very dharmic, spiritual, and enlightening, it also involves a lot of confusion and misunderstanding – and a lot of emotions. It is human. But when you have emotions like jeal- ousy, attachment, or even anger in relating to the teacher, from a Vajrayana perspective, they take place in a sacred context. Having such a relation- ship becomes the best way of transforming our emotion and our basic relationship issues in life, which means the whole of samsara. If you have a klesha attack in the presence of the teacher or in regard to the teacher, is that a proper state of mind in which to be working with a teacher? PonloP RinPoche: That’s a very common experience. The whole point here is to apply the instructions we have learned up until that point. Then the teach- ings we have been studying become dharma in action – not theoretical understanding but applied understanding. When the emotion is directed toward a teacher or fellow dharma practitioners, it becomes a sacred object. As a result, we have more opportunity and support to work with our kleshas. In ordinary life situations, we don’t enjoy that kind of support. The whole point of being in the pres- ence of a teacher is to work with our kleshas. In the Vajrayana, in fact, when the klesha is very strong and powerful, sometimes the guru gives further pointing-out instructions to look at the nature of kleshas and to see their enlightened nature. When the relationship has evolved to that kind of intimacy, is the teacher there to pull the rug out from under you? noRman fischeR: Yes and no. I don’t have a doctri- nal answer, but just speaking honestly from my own experience, I would say that the rug does get pulled out from under you, but the teacher doesn’t need to do that intentionally. If the teacher is working with you on the basis of dharma, and you’re coming from attachment, desire, and the thirst for accomplishment, you will experience the rug being pulled out from under you just by virtue of the teacher’s ordinary, unintentional responses. When you have emotions like jealousy, attachment, or even anger in relating to the teacher, they take place in a sacred context. Having such a relationship becomes the best way of transforming our emotions and our basic relationship issues in life, which means the whole of samsara. — Ponlop Rinpoche Two Blue Buddhafield, 1996 Oil on linen michaelnewhall