November 15, 2010

Rebel Buddha—Making Meaningful Connections

During the month of November, the Tricycle Book Club is discussing Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche's Rebel Buddha! Look for daily excerpts from the book on the Tricycle Blog to inspire the conversation, which is happening here.

From Rebel Buddha:

"We're often quick to label people as being either spiritual or worldly types. People on the street are as likely to do this as meditators in shrine rooms; moreover, culturally traditional presentations of the dharma can serve to support this sense of contrast. However, such sharp distinctions actually close the window of opportunity to communicate with others. The moment we label someone as worldly and they, in turn, label us as spiritual, our communication stops right there, along with any possibility of developing a deeper relationship.

We avoid this distinction when we relate to our path as simply a way of life rather than a journey to reach a certain goal or state of accomplishment, where we're saving people along the way. Instead, our journey becomes our life itself, and our practice is relating with everyday situations as they manifest and play out in our minds and emotions and in the minds and emotions of others. When you operate on such a fundamental level, there is a natural flow of communication between you and your world. When you talk to your neighbors using the language and experience of everyday life, they will understand you. Mention anger of jealousy or passion, and you'll have an interested audience. Many people would be open to hearing how you work with these emotions—and the rest of the seven deadly sins—in your life.

On the other hand, if you leave that level and start speaking like a scholar or a high priest, not many people on the street will understand you or care about what you're saying. You can connect more directly and personally with others if you're simply sharing common experiences of working with your life and not particularly discussing spirituality. That's why it's sometimes easier to connect with people in bars or smoking on the sidewalk than with people in a shrine room. If you don't believe me, look at those people you meet in airport terminals handing out religious tracts and photos of their holy leaders; they're generally avoided like the plague.

When we do make a genuine connection with another person, it's a heart connection. We can touch another heart, another life, only with our own heart and life. We may be the ones to benefit most; you never know what will happen or who will end up liberating whom. When we reach out, we're offering to let go of our own preconceptions about "who I am," "who you are," and what could or should happen. A meeting of minds or hearts is never about just one person; it's like a chemical reaction, an alchemy that can transform both."

Have something to say? Visit the Tricycle Community Book Club to discuss Rebel Buddha!

Also, listen to Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche on Buddhist Geeks.

and Shambhala Publications have joined together to offer Ponlop Rinpoche’s new book, Rebel Buddha, to all Tricycle Community members during the month of November at a 20% discount with free shipping, plus free e-book for instant download.

Here’s how:

  • Join the Tricycle Community at any member level. If you are already a Tricycle Community Member, you are pre-qualified for this special offer.
  • Purchase Rebel Buddha online via the Tricycle site, and receive a 20% discount plus free shipping.
  • Download your free e-book and start reading immediately.

Already a member?

Click here to take advantage of this special offer.

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