Jamgon Kongtrül’s Direct Path to Enlightenment – 2

[Allen continues his discussion of Jamgon Kongtrül’s Direct Path To Enlightenment]

Student:  (Sometimes you have to be strict with someone to make them learn a lesson)

AG: Yes, but that’s.. it’s.. it’s like saying … It’s linked with “Don’t make wicked jokes”.  In other words, don’t…Skillful Means (Upaya) may be being blunt but it doesn’t mean being mean – or if there’s meanness to the bluntness then obviously it’s not Skillful Means, it’s not opening up space. “Don’t strike at the heart”, meaning..actually.. in a literal way, you push people in a corner where theycan’t get out, they can’t admit they’re wrong, let us say, or can’t see their own ignorance because they have to defend themselves from such a lethal attack, which is different from.. a lethal attack is different from bluntness

to give advice as to what we have to do..  it’s always don’t do this, or don’t do that. What do we have to do?)
AG: I don’t know – “Don’t strike at the heart”
Student: (Why (not))?
AG: Because.. okay, because, it’s (more) useful this way. It could be.. Actually, it’s for un-kinking kinks more.  It might be.. Actually, this is a translation, so I don’t know..
Student: Yes, maybe that’s it.

AG: But, you know, it’s funny, (Ezra) Pound did that, you know his line, his idea for poetry was – “A Few “Don’t’s” for Imagists” (his essay on poetics was  “A Few “Don’t’s” for ImagistsDon’t say “the dim misty lands of peace” – Don’t use reference instead of presentation – It’s pointing out the.. it’s.. I think this is alright but.. It’s pointing out, it’s not striking at the heart.

Student: (Is everything telling you what not…)

AG: No, no, no – “Drive all blame into one” – that tells you what to do –  “Be grateful to everyone” someone had a (question)? Mark [sic]?

Student: (Can you say if there is a difference between guide-lines and rules? – you know, don’t.. do…)

AG: These are metaphors, these aren’t rules or guidelines. You’d have to interpret them.I mean, they’re so… I mean a thing like “Don’t back the favorite” – You have to figure it out, (and) in the course of figuring it out, in the course of inserting a small slogan like that into your nervous system and trying to figure it out – like “Don’t be consistent” – What does he mean, “don’t be consistent”? – Isn’t it good to be consistent? – You have to figure out what the language means, so I couldn’t quite call it a rule – maybe guide-line?, (metaphoric guide-line, more likely), slogan, like the Mao… apparently, the Maoists slogans were traditional…well this is Atiśa slogan (I forgot (from) what century, but it’s something like four or five hundred A.D, I think)Yes? Glen [sic]?

Student: I think (William) Blake would consider these slogans as limited, in a sense. If you compare these and put them back in Blake’s system, Blake’s things are Auguries of Innocence and (each reflects) Blake’s limited condition, (even if it has its own beauties), and  (each reconfigures) in the world of Experience, they all turn inside-out –  (and) these are subjective points, and, for Blake, an objectivity comes through Experience – you can look back, at great, immense distance on Innocence, which..  I think you’ll find these as, not being given in a logical system, they were given to be criticized…

AG: I’m not so sure

Student: …comparing them to his own Auguries of Innocence.

AG: Well, in this case.. These are actually Mahayana, the boy-scout rules for
mind-training, a long-needed, that is needed rules. In states of confusion, they’re good reference points. What do you do? – what you do, or what you don’t do, or warnings against getting into mind-traps (like being consistent, striking at the heart, waiting for an opportunity, making wicked jokes, discussing defects…)

Student: And one of the things that (William) Blake is doing in Auguries of Innocence is wiping out that eighteenth-century vision of worlds – “the busy little bee gathers up his store” [“How doth the little busy bee”]  and all of those things that were produced in the eighteenth-century ..the little primers and so forth. He’s wiping them out in that practical way. And  he is thinking always in terms of  jumping out of Innocence into Experience.
And so he was find these, I think, to be exactly that – boy-scout rules.

AG: (Yes) Well, it is boy-scout training . However, it’s a necessary training, because you can’t jump out unless you are to have some practical experience with the situation and understand your mind.

Student: No, I was just comparing Blake’s system.

AG: Blake’s are Vajryana and these are Mahayana. These are Mahayana. It’s just that the pith instructions or slogan concept in condensation of…  because we don’t know these in Tibetan, we only know them in relatively unsubtle English translations. But they’re really interesting, like “Drive all blames into one” is a great classic. That would be worthy of Blake, I think.

Don’t fall for the celestial demon 

(this is for Helen Luster! – Don’t fall for the celestial demon! – i.e..

One method will correct all wrong
–which is, dropping everything.

There’s one that I always liked, that I worked at with Rocky Flats, actually, as a…
In order to bring any situation to the path quickly, as soon as it is met, join it with meditation
“In order to bring any situation to the path quickly – the path of enlightenment, or the path of openness -as soon as it is met, join it with meditation”

Train as though cut-off 
– i.e.beyond the veil, train as though cut off from life itself

Don’t expect thanks
– that’s the last of them – don’t expect thanks!

[Audio for the above can be heard here, starting at approximately  thirty-eight-and-a-quarter minutes in, and concluding at approximately forty-four-and-a-half minutes in]

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