The Dharma That is Taught and the Dharma That is Experienced

Dear Sangha,
51bXGTFVa4L._AC_US218_Yesterday we discussed our next book selection, The Myth of Freedom. When I mentioned the other Chogyam Trungpa book I had considered, Work, Sex, Money: Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness, there was considerable interest. So next week, I’m going to bring both possibilities–the one I had chosen, The Myth of Freedom, and this one. The group that shows up on Sunday will choose which one to study next.

Our reading this week was from the chapter that titles this post. Pema calls the Dharma that is taught a precious jewel. “Like bodhiccita (loving kindness) it can be covered over with dirt and yet is unchanged by dirt. When someone brings the jewel out into the light and shows it to everyone it resonates in the hearts and minds of those who see it.”

imagesThe Dharma that is experienced is not a different Dharma, she says, although it sometimes feels different. It’s when the teachings contact the obstacles and problems of our lives that the Dharma lives. “What you will discover as you continue to study the dharma and to practice meditation is that nothing you have ever heard is separate from your life. Dharma is the study of what is, and the only way you can find out what is true is through studying yourself.”

“The Zen master Dogen said, ‘To know yourself or study yourself is to forget yourself, and if you forget yourself then you become enlightened by all things.’

See you next week,