The Ways of Practitioners – Part 2
Being a practitioner doesn’t mean that we go to a place with the intention to practise and do sessions. We’ve all come here to the retreat centre with that thought in mind, but that thought alone is not what makes someone a practitioner.
A practitioner has a very special or unique way of thinking, which you don’t find in normal worldly people.
But that that doesn’t apply to us, does it? We don’t have a special dharma person’s way of thinking. However normal worldly people think, that’s how we think. It’s important that we understand that.
I should clarify what I mean by this ‘special and unique way of thinking.’ I will use examples: Let’s say a practitioner encounters something pleasurable, they will think. “Oh! I’m not so happy about this. This is not good.” Whereas if they encounter something unpleasant they will think, “Ah, okay. That’s better.” That’s the way of a practitioner. That’s how a dharma practitioner thinks, which is very different from the way of worldly people isn’t it.
For a dharma practitioner, if they come into some money, they will feel “This is dangerous. I’m not so happy about this.” If somebody comes along and tells them how amazing they are, they’ll think “I’m not sure about this. I don’t like it. This sort of thing will ruin me.“ But if somebody comes along and tells them how terrible they are they’ll respond with, “Ah! This is helpful.” So these are some of the ways of dharma practitioners.
We have to think about the eight worldly concerns. Somebody who is without these concerns is a practitioner. Even if somebody is not fully without them, if they are going in that direction and moving away from them, then still one has a way of thinking which is different from that of worldly people.
But that’s not us, is it? If it were, then we could be classed among the ranks of practitioners.
But if I’m going to be totally honest with you, I don’t expect any of you to become real practitioners because you are relying on me as your lama and I am not a practitioner. Likewise, I have no expectations that any of you will become learned if you continue to stay with me, since I am not learned myself.
I do, however, hope or expect that some of you will be able to stand on your own two feet and be able to think for yourselves, and in this manner do something of benefit for the buddha dharma and sentient beings. I hope that if you encounter hard times you will have enough substance of character etc, so that you do not need to resort to something external, like drink or drugs or a new partner, to help you get through those tough times. I expect or hope that you will be able to think about impermanence or the workings of causality, and that these thoughts will sustain you through hardships and the like.