At this point in the text, we’re bouncing back and forth between limited/lower knowledge, and unlimited/higher knowledge. So that continues on as the chapter comes to a close.
Last time I wrote about stories, positive/negative intoxication, challenges as good, the dance of insight and confusion, knowingness, and “thawing out.” The latter two are terms I have little grasp on, so I’m going to keep them in mind as I keep going.
Rinpoche writes that even in spite of confusion and ways of rejecting wisdom, or rejecting Time/Space/Knowledge, we’ll be provided with “revelations” of these. We’re always being reminded- of what is somewhat a matter of your orientation and tradition. So the idea is, even when lower knowledge, dank and depressing as it is, predominates, higher knowledge hasn’t gone anywhere, hasn’t been harmed at all.
Rinpoche goes on to write that this means that we have access to this wisdom all the time, and can use it to work skillfully in the world at regular task, and “sensitive communication.” Maybe sensitive communication sounds uncomfortably New Agey, or even like some combo of New Age/business jargon, but I believe that there’s a lot to learn there. Ignoring the fact that “communication” could refer to any kind of exchange of energies, “speech” in the Buddhist tradition, just plain old communication with other people is so complex, so nuanced, even when it’s simple. Somehow wisdom can help with this, we’re told. Whether that is a fact or not is a matter of experience and investigation (find out).
Of course, applying wisdom in communication couldn’t hurt, if it is real wisdom. It certainly beats applying stupidity and neurosis and aggression.
“We are able to really take care of ourselves, which is something we talk about but are rarely able to do… [The self] seeks control without really knowing what that means.”
I love this quote. I heard about something called “extreme self-care” in self help. This is very probably idiotic, as is most self help. This is not what Tarthang Tulku is writing about. Selfless self-help is too cutesy, too easy, but the destruction of the ego does play in (a gentle destruction).
Tarthang Tulku finishes the chapter by writing some about knowledge as preventing falling into stagnation and habitual patterns. He writes about the inspiring, or self-inspired quality of knowledge (in that it inspires itself, which I take to mean that the energy and quality of wisdom are essentially strong, vibrant, maybe buyoant). I seem to be enjoying fancy words a lot today. I wonder who is reading this, perhaps someone with a love for words and great vocabulary. Who knows?
Anyway, that ends the chapter more or less. It is feedback loop between lower and higher: pointing out neurosis, and at the same time, the pervasive quality of awake. Trungpa Rinpoche said in a few places, in his writing, that if you have, I’ll paraphrase, a claustrophobic or overcrowded, unpleasant, situation, that in itself is space- the amount of junk or stuff implies space to allow for it. Maybe implies is the wrong word, but to be any bolder there would not be honest on my part. This is basically the same idea as neurosis/wisdom.
To complicate this, the next chapter begins with two ideas:
1. Everything is, in some sense, knowledge.
2. This knowledge cannot be had by a self.
Rinpoche writes that this might seem daunting. It is, but I think it also provides a key to the space/junk paradox. Somehow, the self is what leads to the feeling of claustrophobia, when “too much” is really just a form of space.
I haven’t really tied it all together here, but this is one of my “busy” days, and I want to make lunch, so there you go. To anyone reading, you have my appreciation!
Quotes used with permission from Dharma Publishing. Books available from Dharma Publishing.