Personalization of Meanness of the Three Mind Negativities

We are talking about Songtsen Gampo’s guidelines for Tibetans. The 10 virtuous godly dharmas and the 16 pure human ways of conduct. The 10 godly dharmas are the opposites of the 10 physical, verbal and mental negativities. I covered the 3 physical and 4 verbal ones. I think we covered the first of the mind aspects: being mean. It is not only being just mean, but being very mean. So the thing is this: sometimes old-fashioned politics, like 19th century Chinese style intrigue politics [are mean]. We Tibetans play very much by the Tibetan politicians’ tricks, at least up to 1959-60, even into the 70s, both, inside of Tibet and outside.

A lot of the politics we play are 19th century Chinese intrigue politics. That includes being very mean and thinking when somebody did something a little harsh or hard against you or yours, against me or my, we should not forget, but remember it and continuously challenge it. Which is 19th century Chinese intrigue politics stuck in the Tibetan blood. Particularly, a few people who really have a funny way of looking into life, keeping it almost as part of the personality. That is the personalization of meanness. You want to pay back something, whatever it may be. You think doing that is to be a mature, good person. But, it is not really good. Not only do the Tibetan politicians do that, but even ladies do play that and they carry that for decades, which is absolutely anti-Buddha’s teaching. It is anti-Buddhist and is changing the personality of a kind person, into that of a mean person. If you are told you are doing that, then you should change. You may not recognize and acknowledge that you are doing that.

That’s because we don’t see our own faults. Even when we look into a mirror and find a huge black spot, like I have one under the eye, even if you see this, lucky for me, I see it as a fault. But some people will look at that as a beauty mark and say, “Ha, that’s my beauty mark.” So even if it visible as a fault, they look at it as a positive, good ornament, or beauty mark. That’s not good.

Similarly, the negativity of a bad, angry, mean person becomes twisted into being strong, solid and not easy and not light. They change. [From] recognizing that as a fault, into looking at it as a quality. That is the first mental negativity, meanness. There are many ways of this meanness coming out. This is one of them. We also do it. Some of us think we are being a little more manipulative, and think our behavior has settled into manipulation, rather than meanness. A lot of people do that, even among the Westerners, although the Western people do much less than what I thought earlier, in terms of 19th century Chinese intrigue politics. This is thanks to the good education in the West. That’s Americans, Europeans, South-East Asians, Indians, etc. The education helps tremendously. It is almost basic Buddha-Dharma education, basic goodness. You have that, because of education, based on good thinking of good persons, good teachers, who cut out the bad continuation and teach you about right and wrong, quite rightly.

That’s why that becomes a quality, true education. Education gives you a lot of qualities. I keep on saying that because the word in Tibetan for quality is “yön ten.” Education is also sometimes referred to as yön ten. This word has several meanings, but particularly quality and education. That also indicates that a good education brings good qualities to people. So this intrigue, mean 19th century Chinese politicians’ way of thinking is not quality at all. For generations we have treated that as quality. But it is not quality, it is a disqualification, it is a bad thing, not a good thing. We should not carry it, honestly. Particularly the younger generation, and some of them I heard. You know, this meanness includes racism and sexism. It is part of it. Automatically, racism and sexism looks down on a certain category of people. While I am mentioning that, I might as well say it, just by mentioning it to one or two people in public.

Like in India, the Brahmins look down on Harijans, the sweepers and leather workers, and butchers and slaughterers, and even metal workers. The Brahmins think they are superior. Similarly, in Tibet, the aristocratic families will look down on the service people, who are doing service work, like servants and metal workers, carpenters, leather workers and all those. So they have that. Further, the Central Tibetan people look down on the Khampas, looking at them as rough, unpolished. Just like that, the Khampas look at the Central Tibetans as cowards and lip service people, who are very gentle, with a sweet smile on their lips, but mean – because of the 19th century Chinese intrigue politics they play. So they look at them as mean, unreliable and untrustworthy, and look down on them.

So we have that in our culture, even between the Khampa race and the Central Tibetan race. I have to mention that because some Tibetans brought that into our life even in exile, even in the United States. Some people will say, “You are bad, because you are part of the aristocracy.” Some aristocrats, I was told, say that “You are bad, because you have no traditional, historical relations to old kings and queens.” I was told that there are people who say that. And they are all wrong. Look at the Americans and how wonderful it is. Yes, there still is racism in the United States too. It is still functioning even after all the hard work done by Dr. Martin Luther King and many civil rights leaders as well as civil rights workers, as well as many great politicians. Still there is racism. We can see it. We saw it in the functioning between the police and police who are protecting the people. However, such racism is never encouraged, and the majority of the people will look down on those who are bringing racism and tell them how faulty they are.

Even among the White Americans, if someone says racist things, they will tell them, “How bad you are. This is racism.” That’s why education in America brings good quality. The majority of White Americans have that. And that’s a wonderful thing. So we Tibetans sometimes have to say this too, when the occasion is there, otherwise it will continue, which is not good. So this is part of the meanness of the three mind negativities.

–Gelek Rimpoche

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