using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : November 2019
everything be clean. I remember one of the monks saying, “All you care about is clean. What about people’s spiritual realization?” The kitchen was especially bad. But no matter how much I nagged and bought new products and made staff changes and went in myself to show people how to clean, nothing changed. I would even go down in the middle of the night to organize the drawers. (I didn’t want people to realize the full extent of my fussiness, but once someone caught me at two a.m., which was ver y embarrassing.) But two days later, I’d open a drawer and it was just as bad as before. Finally, after going through a lot of torment, I remembered something from one of the teach- ings I’d studied. The great fourteenth-century yogi Longchenpa said that how we label things is how they appear to us. I decided to experiment with this teaching and see how it applied to my obsession with cleanliness. I said to myself, “I don’t care if the whole place smells bad. I’m going to work on my propensity to label things in negative ways, such as ‘ dirty’ and ‘disorganized.’ I’m going to pay more attention to how I project my own version of reality onto the world. I’m more interested in doing this than in having everything the way I want it to be.” It was hard. I practically had to tape my mouth and tie my hands in order not to say or do anything. Because I was only spending part of each year at the abbey, each time I came back I had a chance to see things fresh. And as the years went by, I started thinking, “This can’t be true, but the kitchen is very clean and orderly. I don’t have to do anything to the drawers.” Instead of my whole being going into a knot of contraction, I felt relaxed and happy in there. It was a miracle. Now I know that some people would say that I just lowered my standards. I honestly can’t say for sure how much the kitchen actually got cleaner versus how much less the dirtiness bothered me. But in a way it doesn’t really matter. I felt much bet- ter, which made everyone else feel less tense, which improved the atmosphere overall. To see that how we label things is how they appear does not mean that we stop working with outer circumstances. Often external situations do need to be changed in a concrete, reliable way. Oth- erwise, there would never have been any civil rights movement, or any other actions by heroic bodhisat- tvas who are inspired to help at the outer level. But if we don’t work with our own mind and percep- tions, no political or economic revolution will really change the deep habits that keep us caught in our own emotional struggles—which lead to most of our struggles with other people. If we don’t notice and work with our projections, we won’t be able to reduce the suffering of ourselves and others. Nor will we be able to fulfill our aspiration bodhicitta— our longing and commitment to wake up for the benefit of all living beings. Thogme Zangpo’s Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva contains a series of verses that deal with how to work with difficult circumstances in your life by changing how you label them. He writes about situations that would normally feel like your worst nightmares, such as getting robbed, being shouted at unjustly, and having your beloved child turn against you. In each of these examples, he gives advice about turning the painful event into an occasion for spiritual awakening. For example, one of the verses goes, “Even if someone humiliates you and denounces you in front of a crowd of people, think of this person as your teacher and humbly honor him.” When some- one treats us in such an unkind way, our natural reaction is to think of them as an “enemy,” along with any number of negative labels. But for the bodhisattva, this humiliator and denouncer can be a great teacher. How could someone who torments you be your teacher? The reason is that in order to wake up, we have to learn to stop struggling with reality. In other words, we have to overcome our ego, “that which resists what is.” Let’s say you have a pimple on your nose—a big, oozing pimple with hairs growing out of it. You’ve figured out a way to look in the mirror LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2019 50