Buddhism, Drinking and Sex

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Allison Yarrow offered up this piece about Lodro Rinzler’s class at the Shambhala Center in NYC. I thought it quite interesting and struck me as so congruent with a great deal of our quasi-Buddhist approaches that we celebrate at Infinite Smile.

Rinzler authors a weekly column on Huffington Post and he has a new book, The Buddha Walks Into a Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation. The column, What Would Sid Do, offers an “honest look at what meditators face in the modern world,” reminding readers that “before Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) attained enlightenment he was a confused 20-and 30-something looking to learn how to live a spiritual life.”

via The Daily Beast.

As I so frequently say from the cushion, there is nowhere that the Dharma is not being offered. There is no place that exists without the fullness of the teaching. Ego itself is infused with the magesty of Spirit’s continual grace. This includes alcohol, as Rinzler points out, as well as sex. I couldn’t agree more and I’m glad to see that the Dharma’s application in the “real” world is facing these and other issues fully.

Chogyam Trungpa

On the other hand, I’ve also found that if this approach isn’t treated, ahem, soberly we can find deep divisions can present themselves in our practice. The founder of Lodro Rinzler’s tradition, Chögyam Trungpa, as well as many of his followers, fell into these traps and caused an assortment of problems. So we need to continually remind ourselves that despite the fact that our vices can be met mindfully doesn’t mean that they will not be potentially very harmful to both self and other.

For the record, I’m not trying to moralize. I am, however, pointing out that a certain spiritual finesse is needed in our work both as teachers and as students. Any of us really on the path to awaken continually needs to lean into the notion of “Do No Harm” as we live in the world. Yes, people will get hurt in break-ups. I know this first hand. And yes, occasional overindulgence may tax our bodies unnecessarily. I used to be much more familiar with this kind of pain. Not so much these days. Regardless, it is in the clarity of an individual’s intention that an awareness can unfold which allows her to awaken to a spaciousness that is “grounded” in a field beyond all vanity and all desire. Skipping the steps that get us to this fundamental peace, means that we bypass the very climb that is most needed if we are to truly awaken. Anything short of this often allows for the structures of the ego to stay intact in the most subtle of ways thereby giving rise to a very small self that mistakenly sees itself as Big.

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