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Lions Roar : May 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2012 72 resentful that life is painful. It’s very hard to relax, to let go of that. But it can be done. It’s being done in the present and it will be done in the future. So how about giving an inch? Just letting go a little bit? Open- ing a little bit? We could be generous and disciplined at the same time. Therefore we should be patient and exert ourselves, be aware of everything that is happening, and be clear, all at the same time. That is the teacher’s prescription. Following this approach is what is called the practice of the six paramitas. These six transcendent actions—generos- ity, discipline, patience, exertion, medita- tion, and discriminating wisdom—are practiced by the Mahayana practitioner, the bodhisattva. This practice puts us in the spotlight, so to speak. We have a general sense of wanting to open, for the very reason that we have nothing to lose. Our life is already a bundle of misery and chaos. Since we already have nothing to lose, we gain something by just giving, open- ing. That step is the transition between experiencing the teacher as elder and as spiritual friend. THE TEACHER AS VAJRA MASTER In the Vajrayana, or tantric vehicle, your relationship with the teacher becomes very complicated, very tricky. Your teacher becomes what is known as the vajra mas- ter, and your relationship with him or her has a different slant entirely. In some sense, the teacher becomes a combination of the elder and the spiritual friend. The process is the same, the line of thinking is the same, but it has its own particular twist. The vajra master is not an elder, a parental figure, a spiritual friend, or a rich uncle. He or she is a born warrior who accepts only a few students. The vajra mas- ter will not accept students who are sloppy and unreceptive. Vajra is a Sanskrit word meaning “indestructible.” The idea of vajra mind is that it is completely well put-together. It does not have any cracks; it cannot be