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The spiritual path is the same thing we all definitely need. Otherwise you people won’t be here today. There is no reason why you would come here on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, with beautiful clean, pure white snow – a pure land must be something like that. Whatever else purer is there? Pure snow and beautiful sun shine.
But you didn’t go outside to enjoy that, you have come in here. That indicates that all of you have some interest. That interest is for spiritual achievement. It is true. We have such a great opportunity and capability. That is absolutely true. But if we don’t have the lineage, if we keep on going here and there, and try this and that, everything can be wonderful, but at the end, if we have to go empty-handed, then it is difficult. If you are just after the beautiful and wonderful things all the time, they are not going to deliver the goods.
It is very important use a path that people have travelled. They have reached somewhere. They got something. They achieved their result. If one went through and two went through, and ten went through, and hundreds, and thousands, and millions went through, then you know it is safe.
Otherwise, you can make hodge-podge out of everything. In the Tibetan culture we have something interesting. It takes place two days before New Year. We make soup that is a mixture of everything, and which includes charcoal, burnt wood and pieces of broken glass, and everything gets put in that soup. Also, cotton wool is put in.
Then you eat that, and whatever piece you got in your mouth, you are supposed to take it out. The whole family will sit together and laugh at you. If you got a piece of black charcoal, that tells you that you have been a mean person. If you have a piece of broken glass, it shows your hatred is too strong. If you have cotton wool, it becomes soaked and heavy. That means you have a heavy personality and are a burden for people. If you have moon and sun shapes, you are nice and lucky. If you get a little book shape, it means you are knowledgeable.
That is the soup you eat on evening of the 29th of the lunar calendar, two days before New Year. That day they throw all the spirits out. They burn a little thing and shout, “Get out of here, get out of here!” and then after that they have that soup. In there, are all those things you should be discarding. So the hodge-podge is supposed to be discarded, because that may not deliver the goods.
Sometimes you may think, “I put 40, 50 years of my life into the practice and I felt nothing.” But the spiritual practice is not about a physical feeling, it is not meant for you to fly in the air or sit under the ground. Spiritual practice means improving the individual, becoming a better person, cutting your hatred down, cutting your obsession down, eradicating it.
What does total enlightenment mean? It happens when all your negative emotions have gone out of your system and you are replacing them with love and compassion, faith and so forth, all these positive emotions. We are now a bag full of hatred, jealousy, obsession and so on. That will change into a bag full of love, compassion, wisdom and so on. When you have switched that you have done it, you have reached your goal. Your measurement is on the mental personality and attitude, dealing with yourself and others. That is the measurement. Not physical feelings, mental and emotional assessments. You need to know that and think about it.
Following a true tradition with a lineage and the perfect path is the real thing that so far has delivered everything, in Buddhism and a lot of other Eastern and Western traditions. Authenticity is provided by this solid, historical background. It is not as history, but it is alive and living, and it is affecting us. When you have that, you have a solid path. If you mix that with wisdom from the East and wisdom from the Northeast and fire from the South, then we have this 29th soup.
Thank you – and don’t take the soup home. It is meant to be left outside. I guess I have to stop here, and thank you so much.
~ Gelek Rimpoche, Jewel Heart Ann Arbor, January 30, 2011
Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2018