The Gaze of the Guru

For those of you who love Padmasambhava... While sculpting him, I learned so much about Guru Rinpoche and his famous portrait--for a long time, I was simply overwhelmed about what to write. I felt that I was constantly confronted with the veils between the myths and the man. What I first dismissed as metaphor, sometimes brought me closer to the truth than I could have imagined. 

Becoming Mandala-ized

Mandalas are not just a personal fascination of mine. They are the beating hearts of the entire Vajrayana tradition. Every deity (and they are countless) has a unique mandala. So I naively thought, "Is this MY deity mandala? My ticket to enlightenment?"

It Will Take Time

Because the guru-disciple relationship is so new for Westerners, it will take time before it`s understood with any consistency. It is understandable that some Westerners expect the guru to function in ways similar to other authority figures in their society, such as parents, bosses, generals, police officers, or psychiatrists.

Flying Solo

Since my early days in Buddhism, I've often, too often, heard people object to my taking vajrayana seriously. I know it's not about the philosophy because most people don't know much about non-Western philosophy. It's purely an emotional reactions and I'm charged with the crime of being selfish. 

What is Crazy Wisdom?

Although I've been in vajrayana for four decades, I've experienced crazy wisdom (yeshe cholwa first hand with only one of my teachers. This could be because authentic crazy wisdom is rare and also, perhaps it is only displayed for those who can benefit and not everyone? 

In the East and particularly in Buddhism, it's epistemological based. It's all about the knowing, how we experience things. Western thought and our whole philosophical tradition has a more ontological orientation. It's about what is this. What is being? These are questions Buddhism has always skirted, saying, That's just a rat's nest. Don't go there.

EastWest & Forward

There is still a significant learning curve that has to happen on the both sides of the East-to-West transmission. It will take time and courage to find the clarity and understanding we need. Shared wisdom and compassion are the only way forward.