My first thought when I drew the paper with number 32 out of the basket today and read the words associated with this practice was to recoil and to think, “Wait, I don’t do that!” Following which I knew this must be a “biggie” if I had such a strong adverse reaction. “You’d better look closer at this one Joy!” was the next thought.
I turned to the commentary by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche to help with this. I think my problem was that I interpreted the wording of the original root text that read, “…if you point out the faults of another Bodhisattva…” That brought to mind the Dalai Lama or Kwan Yin or even someone like the 17th Karmapa or any of the Rinpoche’s or Lamas or even Buddhist nuns—take Pema Chodron and the like. I revere, admire and venerate teachers of this nature; I can’t imagine ever criticizing any of them. I honestly sat stupefied and then solemn for a moment and deeply inquired if I’ve criticized other Bodhisattvas.
Well, maybe Christians who still tend to irk the jesus out of me, pardon the pun. I admit that I’m still healing the wound from prior life religious persecutions—but of course it is just mind latching onto an identity as one who was supposedly persecuted. I get that intellectually and sometimes emotionally but not when the wound takes a direct hit. Okay, okay—let’s say I’m working on that. It’s a little bit difficult for me to see a Christian practitioner as a Bodhisattva but maybe I need to reconsider that.
Meanwhile, back to what Khenpo Tsultrim says about practice 32… he links this to The Seven Points of Mind Training. The Buddhist seem to have a lot of numbers associated with their teachings: the 3 this, the 4 that, the 6 this and the 7 that. Probably a good way to memorize teachings!
Anyway, Khenpo Tsultrim says that one stanza in The Seven Points of Mind Training directs the reader to think that all positive qualities belong to other sentient beings and that all faults are one’s own. This is the correct attitude. [that will develop humility for sure!] Generally, most people think just the opposite: someone else is always wrong, while they are always right. This attitude is to be given up. Patrul Rinpoche advises students to acknowledge their own deficiency first; and then, when they recognize it in someone else, to pray that the guru grants blessings to them both. It is always beneficial to see that the perceived fault in yourself is greater than it is in the other. Then you know that person is no different from you. [I highlighted what I felt where the most important points there.]
Oh Lordie, I do see how I worry/am concerned about one of my family members and their relationship to money and that this fault is greater in myself.
The Dalai Lama spoke on each of the 37 practices of a bodhisattva and he wrote one line very succinctly which says it all, “We must try to conquer our own illusions rather than those we ‘think’ we see in others.”—pg 101, Essential Teachings
Most of what I come up with while investigating the meaning of practice 32 relates to infighting amongst various schools of Buddhism criticizing each other or student’s critiquing other students or teachers.
DIVINATION ~ MESSAGE
Through examining this practice as it applies to my own life experience I can see how I am repulsed and disgusted with Christians to are always quoting scriptures. Yet, am I not right here and now quoting Buddhist scriptures in the same way?
Buddhist teachings are helping me a good deal but I must remember that Christian teachings are in the same way helping those humans who, like me, are only hoping to be better humans and grow and evolve and become a better compassionate and loving soul—a bodhisattva!
Oh, and on that relationship to money thing… better go look at the bills I’ve been avoiding looking at and work on ‘my own’ illusion!
I have something on my mind… an inner question. Maybe it’s a silly one. I have been dealing with issues in the cellar—a long story that I won’t bore you with involving a dehumidifier and a damp, leaky and unfinished half-basement.
There’ve been salamanders down there—I’ve caught a glimpse of them once or twice in all the years that I’ve been here. So that is what it is—really a non-issue. I just go down there to throw in the wet clothes into the dryer and then rush back up. I have seen this toad though fairly consistently over the past year. Oh, he’s small really and brown and he’s slow and seems old—doesn’t jump around much and isn’t afraid of people. He holds his ground. When the landlord is here or the Exterminator for the mice [which are no longer an issue, thank you] comes, I always ask what they see down there and every answer is the same: just a little frog.
Yeah, I think frogs are green and toads are brown but I don’t know for sure—this guy seems like a toad since he’s brown but we’re seeing the same little critter. I used to stare at him and he at me while I put clothes in and out of the dryer, the whole while saying, “Okay don’t you jump–just stay where you are we’ll be fine—you leave me alone and I’ll do the same”.
Now that I’ve been going down there to deal with a dehumidifier issue–sometimes several times or more a day I’ve been down there lately. And of course, each time I see Samuel. Yeah, I name things and so I call out to him when I’m there, “Hey Sammy where are you?” Or “Sam, what-z up dude?” Now, I don’t know why I think this little brown toad is an old male, but that’s my delusion maybe.
I’ve been thinking about him lately and wondering if he is in a hell-realm there and if I should find a way to scoop him up somehow and take him outside. What’s he eating down there? Maybe crickets or spiders or something and of course the leaky basement provides some water for him when it rains. But now with a dehumidifier down there, maybe I’m messing with his ecosystem?
How would he do outside? He’s been in that hell-of-a-realm for a good while and he’s slow and maybe sick… could the outdoors be worse for him? After all, who am I to interfere with Sam’s karma?
I think of a Buddhist teaching about how our ego/personality mind will create problems where none exist or will worry just to give itself a job to do if you don’t give it something better to do.
And I do have better things to do. I need to get a life, right? I have a lot of home and yard projects and my psychic work and other things that I’d like to call “a life”. I want to get this issue with Sammy the toad out of my mind! I’m going to turn to the tarot cards—believe it or not—to ask what to do about Sammy. Should I leave him alone or try to get him out of the hell-of-a-realm, scooping up and escorting him outside? Maybe ole’ Sam has lived down there longer than I have –maybe he was born down there and maybe didn’t just somehow hop in around a weak cellar window by mistake. Who knows?
The bottom line question: With all things considered, is it best if I leave this toad alone? What should I consider about that? Okay, so I am going to grab my cards because I just want this to be resolved in my mind and I’ve decided that I will go by whatever the oracle says here! So, let’s shuffle….
O boy! 5 of Wands [image above]. A guy in a boat, surrounded by stormy water. My first thought is that this toad got washed into the cellar somehow during a storm. Actually, I am thinking of that year when we had the remnants of Hurricane Irene… there was a lot of water. So, apparently, he’s been down there for years. I was only renting here for about a year or so when the rainy leftover’s of hurricane Irene came through here.
Listen, hold on a second… I have to put some seed in the bird feeder outside. I put a day’s worth in during the morning hours because otherwise, this raccoon that looks like a big dog (I swear he looks like a German shepherd dog size-wise) comes by at night and eats it all. I’ve caught him red handed. I tap on the window when I see him and he sheepishly walks away! Anyway, the birds are calling…be right back.
Aside from the 5 of Wands being about unnecessary hassles, petty annoyances and trivial issues, I still don’t know what to do. However, I do feel the card guided me to an understanding of how the toad got there to start with. It seems that this card is telling me not to worry about it… that it’s a trivial issue.
Actually, I already know that. I just want to know if the toad is suffering I guess. Let me shuffle again. It doesn’t seem like a healthy environment down there… not much light coming in. Don’t toads need sunlight? Maybe I should google toad information but that is going to get my mind in even a worse tangle I’m sure!
I’m going to a yes/no format with my cards now… aces are indicators of a yes. Is the little guy suffering by being in the cellar environment? Yes or No? (I added the words “by being in the cellar environment” at the end because while he may be suffering because all sentient beings do, my question is made more specific by adding the words in quotations to make the question more specific.) Or we could ask: Is the suffering of this sentient being increased by being in the cellar? I like that wording better.
Oh, shoot! Darn. I got a YES answer to that question—Ace in the 3rd stack. And in the other two stacks of 13 cards, the top cards [which can also be ‘read’] are ‘The World’ and ‘4 of Wands’. Gee, the 4 of Wands is about being outside of the home and happy. And ‘The World’ is about ending/completion. I’m starting to get the feeling that I should find a way to scoop up the toad and get him outside. Maybe I will wait until my grandson comes to help me with that drama/trauma. I don’t want to hurt Sammy, you know?
Well, let me ask another Yes or No Question. If this toad’s suffering is increased by being down in the hell-of-a-realm basement, shall I then scoop him up and take him outside? Maybe he’s used to it down there and to take him outside would increase his suffering or a predator could get him; after all, he doesn’t hop much. Geesh. What a can of worms my mind opened up here!
Okay, so shall I scoop him up and out? Yes or No? Well. I get a NO to that one with a very weak, well yeah maybe indicator—an Ace [of Swords] in the 2nd pile. The Ace in the 2nd pile is saying, “Well, you could but really no you shouldn’t.” That’s the way this Yes/No spread works-the rules.
You know I think that this frog’s fate [or this toad trouble] is a doomed destiny either way and maybe we should let him die a natural death where he’s used to his surroundings and where he won’t be beat up worse [9 of Wands]. He seems to be coping down there. The landlord may be sending some workers to clean up some building materials that were down there since I moved in. I will tell them to be careful of the toad if they see him; hopefully he will go hide away from the workers. The other 2 cards I received were 9 of Wands and 5 of Pentacles [Coins]. Yeah, you can see the contemplation that I’m doing about this reflected in the 5 of Pentacles and the 9 of Wands is probably a reflection of the beat up toad [I’m not sure but he may be missing a leg; thus the hopping problem] and also it is me beating myself up over this issue. LOL
I send him love and healing now and am not afraid of him hopping toward me like I used to be. He may have lost a leg when he traveled via the gutter system during the storm. Bless his heart. I’d forgotten that — I had that thought last night when I saw him hop while I was down there; it was a strange hop and he sits tilted. I think one of his legs is gone. 😦
I would like to bring him sunlight as a gift and a green lawn. Last night I did leave a light on down there… I mean what the heck, light is light even if it is artificial. Like I said, bless his heart.
Maybe you will send him a little love. Yeah, I know, he’s only a little brown toad with only one leg but all sentient beings deserve to be free from suffering.
Now, I have settled this issue. The cellar increases his suffering, yet I should not try to scoop him up to take him outside—we should let him remain in his familiar environment because either way, his journey on Earth is about over. There are several indicators — the 9 in the of Wands; 9 indicate endings. And the other indicator of the end of the line for this toad is the card of The World–the last card of the major arcana; the card indicating a completed cycle.
It is more humane not to traumatized him further through my act of scooping him up and putting him outside; he’s used to [accustomed to] his present environment and is probably coping the best as he can–just the same as we all are.
May he, and all sentient beings, be free of suffering!