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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
buddhadharma| 11 |winter 2007 the strawBerry Dilemma Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche explains why it’s so hard to get what we want. Many of my students fall in love, get married, and come to me for blessings. I give them my best wishes, but because they are more eternal- ist-oriented I also explain the idea of the three strawberries. first you have one strawberry, and, of course, it sits well by itself. Then you try to put a second strawberry on top of the first one. There’s a little bit of hardship without glue or toothpicks, but it might work. However, the third strawberry will not sit easily on top of the second. When one tries to position the third strawberry, even the second one falls off. But eternalists just believe that one day the third strawberry will sit on the second. When they wake up after trying millions of times and experiencing many nasty things, they are fifty or sixty years old, but the third strawberry is still not on the second one. This is what I call endless depression. It’s so sad really because there’s not much time for celebration. I think in our lives we try to gather a lot of things like relationships with family and friends, practice, influence, money, and so on. One should learn that if even 10 percent of what we’re plan- ning succeeds, we should celebrate. But eternalists like to celebrate when the third strawberry is on top of the second one. The sad thing is that many movies and books talk about the third strawberry being on top of the second strawberry, making some eternalists believe that one day this will happen. I am telling you that enlightenment should be our aim. But while enlightenment should be the fundamental ground, as a student you must also learn not to look for a result. That’s difficult. The master Gotsangpa said, “As soon as you look for a result, that longing for a result is the sound of a devil knocking on the door.” The “devil” in this case is, of course, nothing external, but rather an obstacle. Longing for a result in meditation or whatever you do is goal-oriented. Remember that the Heart Sutra says, “Nothing to gain, nothing to lose ... no increase, no decrease ...” This actually means that enlightenment is not a result. That’s a very big lesson to learn. If enlight- enment is labeled a “result,” it will hinder you. Instead, enlightenment is basically the final undo- ing of all the knots. Reaching the second bhumi is nothing but undoing the knot of the first bhumi. Then you dismantle the second bhumi and reach the third bhumi. When you undo the knot of the tenth bhumi, I guess it’s conveniently called “enlightenment.” It’s not a result; it’s part of your true nature. Being result-oriented is actually one of the main obstacles; it’s not only an obstacle but it attracts obstacles. In fact, looking for a result is like a magnet for obstacles—it ferments your path and produces very strong, well-aged, subtle obstacles, just like wine. FrOm gentle vOice, a neWsletter OF siddhartha’s intent, aPril 2007. a siDe orDer of Dharma? If you’re trying to pick and choose dharma teachings that fit nicely with your comfortable lifestyle, you’re missing a crucial point, says Ajahn Amaro. dharma on my terms. Is it dharma? It’s a huge issue really. Contrast that to dharma in line with the dharma. If dharma is practiced according to my preferences, it’s not necessarily a gateway to liberation. That’s its danger. It seems to me that for many laypeople in our society who go to the nice retreat centers, the whole role of renunciation is excised from the dharma field. Monasticism is forgotten or seen as a quaint lifestyle that happens off on the edges. It’s not really a central piece of dharma. The fact that the Buddha was a monk gets lost. Of course, people are free to practice as they want. Nonetheless, many Western dharma cen- ters seem to marginalize what to the rest of the Buddhist world is central and historically vital to the whole process of dharma practice and enlight- enment. It’s like opening up the chest, detaching all the veins and arteries, carefully removing the illustrations by hadley hooper first thoughts