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Be Fearless About Samsara – Part IV of Series

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By Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

To become authentic practitioners we need to be fearless about samsara. In samsara, we are going to experience dissatisfaction and we need to be prepared for that. As is taught in all commentaries on the preliminary practices, it is simply the attribute of samsara that we are going to encounter enemies, be separated from friends, sometimes fail to get what we want, and sometimes lose what we have.

An authentic practitioner in such a situation needs not to feel that they have somehow been singled out for persecution or victimization by the world; needs not to think, “Why is this happening to me?” We need to remember that this is simply the way it is, and in such situations, when we find ourselves dissatisfied, we should consider how much worse many others have it. And if in thinking of their plight, we can sincerely wish to remove their suffering and to prevent other beings from suffering, then we will succeed in transforming a situation of potential misery into one of great joy.

It is the characteristic of samsara that the way people relate to one another is utterly uncertain. Someone who is your friend today might be your bitterest enemy tomorrow. Someone who is your enemy today might be your friend tomorrow. Really, the dealings between persons are like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, then going back behind another cloud, then coming out from behind the clouds, and so on. It is just not stable.

We need to maintain the type of fearlessness that comes from the perspective of seeing beyond our temporary identification of people as friends and enemies.
For example, the arhat Madgalyayana once saw a woman nursing her baby while eating some fish and trying to keep a dog away that was trying to get the fish. Seeing this, Madgalyayana laughed. He realized that the woman’s parents, whom she loved very much, had died. An enemy of her parents had also died.

The enemy of her parents, whom she had hated during that enemy’s life, was reborn as her child whom she was now nursing and holding in her lap with great affection. Her father, whom she had loved very much, now became the fish that she was eating; and her mother was reborn as the dog that she was kicking trying to keep it from stealing the fish. And so he said, “She is eating her father’s flesh and driving her mother away, holding her worst enemy with great affection in her lap. Samsara makes me laugh.”

Part 1: The Commitments of the Bodhisattava Vow
Part II:
To Never Mentally Abandon Sentient Beings
Part III: How Projection of Faults Works

The fourth blog from a teaching on The Commitments of the Bodhisattava Vow given by Bardor Tulku Rinpoche at Kunzang Palchen Ling in May, 2010. Translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso, transcribed by Alan McCoy, edited by Basia Coulter, adapted with permission by Annie Bond. Copyright 2010 Bardor Tulku Rinpoche and Peter O’Hearn. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint without permission.

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