I was at a teaching in France with Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche last summer, and someone raised their hand during a Q & A and said, “All this stuff about seeing everything as empty—it’s so easy. So what’s the fuss about? Why do we have to do all these practices and hear all these teaching over and over again?” Rinpoche didn’t have to think for very long. He said, “You’re right. It is easy. Until someone puts their hand on your girlfriend’s ass.”
For all my old dharma friends—my vajra brothers and sisters—who are in this stew pot with me, I love you. It’s perfect. Keep it up, whatever it is. Especially the bodhicitta. That’s the teaching. I, personally, will never give up on you.
I don’t like it, but if you want to keep up the gossiping and the toxic vomiting about me, too—mostly about my breakup with Julia—go for it. I’ve had very sad long winter to adjust to this phenomena—adjust to losing especially old friends, or having friendships irrevocably damaged, because of conversations that occur behind my back, and only behind my back. Not many people who have engaged in these conversations—one or two, maybe—have come to me and asked for my input, or inquired about how I’m feeling. Some people have actually come to me and told me what’s going on in my life, and were completely deaf to the fact that I may have a better understanding of that than they did.
That’s the really crazy territory I’ve been travelling in; it would be amusing if it weren’t so unbelievably painful. As a complete stranger at yoga, two ferry rides away, said to me the other day, “I know the WHOLE story.” She swept her hand across the air, encompassing the entire universe when she said it. I wish I knew what she knew. No one has, as yet, told me. I thought the story of my personal experience was supposed to include me.
It’s a lesson for all of us: No one likes the mirror, I know that. But until the mirror is turned on us—especially showing us how we build ourselves up by knocking other people down (and we sometimes do that in a group, which has a bullying quality)—we just go on being arrogant and insensitive and hurting people, and telling even ourselves that we have no idea that it’s happening. That’s not bodhicitta.
I think the rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t say it to the person’s face, then don’t say it at all. If you said it, then you said it. Stand by it or apologize for it or clear it up, any misunderstanding that comes from it. I’m up for conversation, so instead of talking behind my back, and hiding, why don’t you come and talk to me. I’m not just talking to one or two people: I’m talking to anyone who has engaged in this activity. I’m here, and I’m open.