Note: This blog is part of a series sharing the teachings of the Atisha's Lojong Root Verses on Training the Mind as shared by Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo in London May 28 & 29, 2016. These are not transcriptions of the lectures, rather a collection of her thoughts sewn together.
11. The Supreme patience is to take the lowest place
This is a place to remember that these teachings were by professionals for professionals. Lamas are used to being up on a pedestal and treated with great respect and love. The reminder to be humble was incredibly useful.
This is not a teaching designed to make us doormats. It is designed to allow us to see the operating system of the ego. If you are suffering from low self esteem, then the first step is develop a strong healthy sense of self.
Our first response to almost everything, especially the difficult situations is, “What about me?” When we are upset and angry, especially because someone has insulted or hurt us, we can really see the ego in its raw and heightened state. As students of the dharma, we are grateful for the opportunities that allow us to find out if our practice is working where we work to do.
Another way of understanding this is the expression, “Give the victory to others.”
We are cultivating the skill of not getting angry when people do things we don’t like. Its very easy to be lovable to people who are lovable and give us what we want.
Jetsumna told the story of Atisha’s awful attendant. The rumor is that he arrived in Tibet with an attendant that no one could stand. Apparently he was horrible, lazy and rude. Atisha’s fans would complain that he should get rid of the attendant and let them serve him properly. Atisha’s response was that the attendant gave him the opportunity to practice kindness and patience. The devotees were too nice to him to be useful.
If nobody pushes our buttons, how can we develop a path? When the ego is upset and the sense of I is outraged, we can see the structure that crystalizes everything. There is such a powerful sense of knowing who I am in these moments, it is addictive.
Can we step out of the way and consider the possibility that we are not the most important person in the universe? Everybody is worthy of love and compassion. For real.