Photo by Fred Klarer
The following article is reprinted from the Mirror, Issue 134, December 2016
In this article, we explore the importance of collaboration as both a necessary tool for community and individual evolution, and a marker pointing out our progress - or lack of it - toward realization.
As members of the International Dzogchen Community, all together we represent Rinpoche’s mandala. The Community purpose is to help all members experience, stabilize and integrate with their authentic condition, the Dzogchen state, through the transmission, dissemination, preservation and practice of our Master’s Dzogchen teachings.
According to Rinpoche, as members realize this state, egotism, attachments and tensions subside. The ability to collaborate increases. A genuine compassion for others arises along with a particular love and respect for our Vajra brothers and sisters, in permanent relationship with us. It is as if we are all in the same boat, and all are working to get to the other side of a big body of water. In this boat, we share a common purpose and through collaboration, we can do everything needed to reach our goals.
However, all becomes difficult when our common purpose becomes background, personal problems become foreground and we stop collaborating. Rinpoche: “The aim of travelling is arriving somewhere beyond that ocean. How then can they succeed? They must collaborate with each other, but if, after just two days of travelling on the ocean of samsara, they start fighting with each other and creating many problems, then they can never cross the ocean. So each person is responsible for the journey of everyone else; which means that each one has his or her commitment toward all the travelers, not only toward
From what I have been told by a member of the International Gar (personal communication), some of the Gars and Lings are better at collaborating to reach our common purpose than others. In those centers, members hold our common purpose as foreground. When disagreements occur, members work out their differences based on this common purpose. They are not so attached to their views. They find it easy to relax and let go of fixed positions in order to collaborate and work together toward a shared outcome.
What about those centers with more problems and more tensions? Rinpoche tells us: “Whenever there is a problem, the first thing people do is to try to find someone else to blame. They always say, ‘I am innocent. I didn’t do anything wrong. He or she is the guilty one…’ If you are demonstrating that you have a problem with someone but claiming that it was created only by that other person, you should remember the famous teaching of Buddha that everything is interdependent. It is not possible that the other person is guilty and that you are innocent. …the most important thing is to observe yourself to see what you did wrong and what you intend to do instead. There is the possibility to correct and also to change. Even if there are some difficult situations you can modify them… It is extremely important to collaborate and try to be open with each other, communicate and try to help each other.”
Rinpoche goes on to state that at some centers, members discuss and argue and get angry at each other very easily. He says that after a half an hour or one hour, each of us should notice that we were not being respectful. Instead, becoming aware of our own need for respect as an example, we should find ways to pay respect to, and not create problems for, others. What does Rinpoche suggest as solutions when there are too many problems and tensions, instead of collaboration and increased realization?
· Keep our common interest or shared purpose in the foreground as you weigh what is better for the community. Do not take an immovable position.At Tsegyalgar East, we are following Rinpoche’s request that our entire Dzogchen community collaborate more and reduce tensions. To this end, the Gakyil has created a five-year Strategic Plan to align all members with our common purpose and direction. The Yellow Gakyil will meet with members in small groups to present the Plan and get feedback.
· Learn to relax tensions and keep an open flexible mind.· When conflict and anger intensifies, do not blame. Instead, turn inward to notice your ego mind and integrate more with your real nature.
· Learn to work with circumstances within the context of shared purpose instead of ego needs. Ego needs include duality needs for control, for approval, for importance and for security.
· Learn to notice your own disrespect for someone and re-establish respect as a way of furthering the shared purpose of evolution to full realization.
With this strategy, and others, we expect to experience and demonstrate a higher level of collaboration. We will inform the reader of the results in a later edition of the Mirror.
Diane Kramer is a clinical psychologist specializing in marital therapy, a professor emeritus of psychology (retired after 40 years), and owner and founder of a soon-to-be-launched online self-development platform, called the Extraordinary Self. This is her third year on the Yellow Gakyil as Treasurer. Diane has been a student of Rinpoche since 1992, along with her husband, Fred Klarer. Diane and Fred live on Eatons Neck on Long Island, NY. To reach Diane: firstname.lastname@example.org