Stop Biting the Tail You're Chasing by Anyen Rinpoche & Allison Choying Zangmo

Stop Biting the Tail You're Chasing by Anyen Rinpoche & Allison Choying Zangmo

Author:Anyen Rinpoche & Allison Choying Zangmo
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Shambhala
Published: 2018-07-09T16:00:00+00:00

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As we probably discovered when engaging in the exercises presented earlier in this chapter, many of the sights and sounds we encounter during the day can cause strong emotional reactions within us. One example is the visceral reaction we may have to the sound of someone’s voice when he or she says something we don’t want to hear in a tone we don’t like. In a moment like that, how do we practice lojong to relieve our sensitivity toward sound?

As soon as we notice that we are having a strong reaction to the sound of someone’s voice, we can try to kindle patience. We can work with any contemplative tool that helps to reduce our reaction. We can reflect on how the sound of his or her voice is such a small cause for such a strong emotional reaction. We can also reflect on what feelings the other person may be having, or what situation he or she may be facing, that caused him or her to say something we didn’t want to hear. This can help us realize that the person is also facing personal difficulties. Finally, we might also notice the strong sense of self-attachment that we have, how easily we are injured by the mere words of another or the sound of his or her voice. Rather than blaming the other person, we could renew our commitment to place others first and focus less on ourselves. Applying the bodhisattva path is an extremely effective method for cutting through the intense attachment we have to the five senses and the aggregate of form.

Second, the Aggregate of Feeling

Even though we began our reflection on the five aggregates with form, we cannot stop our investigation there, because form isn’t the only thing we identify with. In addition to form, there are four additional aggregates that also contribute to our sense of self: feeling, perception, karmic formation, and consciousness.

The aggregate of feeling brings us inconceivable suffering. As we discussed in chapter 3, the attachment to our feelings is completely overwhelming. We don’t generally have the sense that our emotions are impermanent at all. We see our emotions as being unchanging, real, and sometimes all-powerful. Not only that, but we are also raised in a culture where we are taught that our feelings are important. We are taught to hold on to our feelings, to act upon our feelings, to express them, to resolve them, and to respond to them. The way that we relate to our feelings has shaped our whole culture. In Western culture, as opposed to the culture of an Asian country such as Tibet, feelings and self-cherishing have really become one and the same thing. Whenever we are attached to, or responding to, our feelings, we are expressing self-attachment. Feelings and self-attachment are just like fire and warmth; one has the qualities of the other. We can also think of feelings as being like the water that turns the waterwheel of our self-attachment. It serves as its energy and provides its momentum.


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