Today I went to hear Tibetan Lama, Tulku Tsori Rinpoche speak on the imperative need to embrace compassion. Without compassion suffering continues even though we may exist in heaven. The fluttering of the heart can be excruciating when it is opened and then exposed to suffering and yet how can we climb beyond this suffering without softening and embracing it with compassion so that we may make actions to change it? We are as I have said before in this together.
Rinpoche pointed out that we are eternal beings subject to multiple incarnations and that we may return to this place in any number of millions of forms. I know this is true because I remember my own past lives; I have done so since I was a child. I remember vividly at 4 or 5 standing on my bed with my baby sisters and asking them, “How can I dream what it feels like to be a grown up if I have never been one before, how do I know that?” I had many recurring and vivid dreams of times in a couple of lifetimes just before death. In one I know that were I to walk the coast of England I would find the place of my dream, it was so clear to me then and still is today.
For me there is no question that we have been here before and that we are likely to come back again. Rinpoche also pointed out that we are blessed to be born as a human. We are afforded the rarest of rare opportunities to be born human. It is an honor; the boon of great good fortune. To be human proves a soul of immense worthiness and good karma has descended to take human form and grace this place with the singular blessings of its presence. This is true for every single one of us. None are to be singled out and cast away as unworthy. Think of it; as humans we have so much privilege, a fruit fly lives a day and we may live up to one hundred years. A bat subsists on insects, we may feast on any number of foods; almost any other being on this planet may become our meal. Our existence consists of freedoms, delights, entertainments, feasts and journeys impossible to most other creatures and yet we choose to include in our experience sufferings of cosmic proportions like war, self-denigration, enslavements, terrorism, deceptions, checking out, nihilism, cynicism and disempowerment.
We are all powerful cosmic beings with astonishing resilience. Each of us descends from the same brilliant fire of consciousness, choosing the karmic circumstances by which to know our divine Self better. In one life we may be enemies, in another we may be family. Our karmic contract affords us the opportunity to crack the constraints of our understanding so that we may discover our true nature of oneness. Our understanding miraculously stays with us, imprinting the incidents of our lives, lifetime after lifetime. It is a monstrous or a delicious trap depending on the moment.
We are fortunate though to have the enlightened teachings of the Buddha, Christ, many great Saints of India and a burgeoning of incredible new living Saints here in the US and elsewhere to guide us through this mire.
Tulku Karma Rinpoche’s compelling lesson today contained a foundation block of the teachings of compassion that all may use. He instructed us to honor our mothers, to look to our mothers for the example of unconditional love. To remember how selflessly our mothers cared for us. To notice how interested and supportive our mothers are. He pointed out that compassion must start here, right where we are. There is no sense in having deep compassion for those on the other side of the world while we are rude, judgmental and dismissive of those closest to us. What a beautiful instruction this is and how simple it seems and yet I think we all know how difficult it can be when presented with the reality of the moment and the caustic nature of some habitual interactions. And yet Rinpoche smiling joyfully enforced his recommendation to allow our mothers to be right no matter what to agree and be gentle like he is.
To learn more about Tulku Karma Rinpoche please go to www.ytdr.org.