Last night I went to a dharma talk by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche - he is a Tibetan teacher who has recently written a book called Rebel Buddha. I brought the sweet patootie who doesn't usually go to these things. The talk was good enough but the panel discussion took all the juice out of it. I've never seen quite so many people leave a dharma talk before. On the way back home with Ron and our pal, Annie, we got into a discussion about what had happened. Annie loves Ponlop so she really liked the talk - I was not so smitten. I think my problem was that I thought it was going to be a teaching and it was the talk that goes with a book tour. There is quite a difference.
I wanted Ron to be raptured up like I was the first time I saw a tulku - Khyentsé Rinpoche - many years ago. I think the intention is what makes the difference. I have lots of friends who consider Ponlop their root guru and so I know he is the real deal but there wasn't the form that goes with a 'teaching'. There were about four or five hundred people, many old dogs from our centre, and that was nice - schmoozing and seeing people that I don't spend enough time with. But we didn't start with requesting a teaching or any of the other forms we might use to prepare ourselves to receive dharma.
This got me thinking about how I, and others presumedly, prepare to write. Do I invoke the energy that I want and need to write the sort of things I wish to? Do I prepare a sacred space internally and externally, in order to really explore the truth of what I wish to say?
Today, whether you are a writer, a teacher, a householder or a plumber - take a moment to consider your intention before you begin your work. Why do you write or plumb or teach? What is your heart of hearts about this particular path? Get in touch inwardly with your mentors, gurus, heroes, role models and teachers of whatever ilk - be they alive or dead or symbolical - and ask them to help you stay to your purpose. Just a moment is all I'm suggesting. And let me know what it does for your work.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche is seen here with Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche - two teacher who
are very important to me...
and Leonard, of course.