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Daily Connect: Cheering Up And Asking the Right Question
Submitted by Ethan Nichtern on Mon, 4/25/2011, 11:15am
After the Earth Day Party this weekend, IDP co-hosted the great Vajrayana teacher Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche at the Tibet House in New York City.
Ponlop Rinpoche, author of Rebel Buddha and one of my personal favorite teachers, spoke at length about the need to engage in quite a lot of questions along the path of awakening, and be wary of those who have all the answers. As he pointed out, the sutras, or early Buddhist discourses, almost always begin with a question. In this way, the path of learning is more about finding the right question, rather than finding someone who knows the definitive answer. The gem quote from the retreat, for me, was this:
"Waiting for answers before we ask the right question is like wanting to win the lotto without buying a ticket." -Ponlop Rinpoche
He also spoke a lot about interdependence, and made the great point that often, the more defiantly independent we try to be, ironically, the more dependent on others we become without even knowing it.
O another note the midst of a stretch of hard work and feeling the truth of solitude amongst crowds of people, I've ironically been feeling really optimistic lately. So i've been also thinking about cheering up as a practice, rather than an outcome.
Cheering up is a strange thing, and hard to do. We usually think we'll cheer up once things get better for ourselves or better in the world. But that's backwards. What really works is cheering up FIRST, before there's a clear reason to. Then things start to feel more fluid, you can deal with what comes and help things get better in the world. Cheering up is how things get better. And if you can cheer up for no reason on a Monday, you're going probably to have a whole week that benefits others.
Have a great Monday!
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by Mike Widman