Friday, February 10, 2006

On the Emotions (Dzogchen, Diamond Way)

[Emotions 3 by Maja]

From: "Seeing into the True Nature of Emotions," by Lama Gendyn Rinpoche

Emotion is the habitual clinging that makes us automatically categorize our experiences according to whether our ego finds them attractive (desire), unattractive (anger), or neutral (ignorance). The more clinging there is, the stronger our reactions will be, until we reach a point where they finally break into our conscious mind and manifest as the obvious feelings we usually call emotions.

The above reactions are termed the three poisons, to which are added those of considering our own experience as predominant (pride) and judging our own position in relation to the object perceived (jealousy), to give the five poisons. The word poison is used because these reactions poison our mind and prevent the appearance of its intrinsic wisdom.

To abandon the five disturbing emotions is to take a less direct path to enlightenment. It is the way followed by the sravakas. But seeing into the true nature of the emotions as and when they occur is not an easy task. If we just allow ourselves to be look at the emotions one after the other as they appear in the mind in the usual way, we are no different than before. Nothing has changed. If we actually enjoy our emotions, deliberately increasing their strength until we feel completely intoxicated by them, we are behaving like someone possessed, with the result that we accumulate the karma of a demon.

If we do manage to look directly at the reality of each of the five poisons as they appear, we recognize them to be none other than the five wisdoms. In the poison of anger and hatred we perceive the mirror-like wisdom that corresponds to the Buddha Dorje Sempa. Looking directly at the true nature of pride, we find the wisdom of equality and the Buddha Ratnasambhava. In the nature of desire we discover the discriminating wisdom and the Buddha Amitabha. If we look at jealousy we see the all accomplishing wisdom and the Buddha Amoghasiddhi. And when we look at ignorance we find the wisdom of the dharmadhatu, reality itself, and the Buddha Vairocana. [
Go here for info on the five Wisdom Buddhas.]

These Buddhas also correspond to the different elemental energies in the body, each of which are related to one of the emotions. Seeing into the emotion produces not only the realization of an aspect of wisdom, it also transforms the corresponding element of the body into one of the five Buddhas.

On this path we do not seek to abandon the five emotions, only to look directly at their essence or reality, upon which they are automatically transformed right then and there into the five wisdoms and we generate spontaneously the minds of the five Buddha archetypes.

BUDDHISM TODAY, Vol.2, 1996. Copyright ©1996 Kamtsang Choling USA.


Anonymous said...

It's an amazing idea isn't it? Lately, I feel this process beginning with my feelings of irritation especially. (Anger and depression are much harder, and in fact beyond me!!) When I look clearly at my feelings of irritation suddenly they flip inside out into humor and affection for whatever I was previously feeling irritation for. It's wonderful, and a very new experience for me.

Kai in NYC

william harryman said...

Hi Kai,

Yeah, it's pretty cool. I'm still working on it, but when I can give an emotion full attention, I am amazed at how it can transform.

Are you Buddhist? It sounds like whatever your practice is that it's working well for you. I'd like to hear more if you're willing to share.


Anonymous said...

At formative moment, I heard the assertion "A clear view of oneself without judgment is the paramount spiritual practice." Something (I want to call it "prior") recognized the truth of that and, since then, that's been my practice. I'm only interested in the rest (i.e., scriptural readings, spiritual endeavors and studies of all sorts) in so far as they illuminate that central practice.

Now, at least with irritation, it's become an instinct to turn and look at that feeling (rather than instantly embodying it) and when I do so I --this will sound wierdly disassociative, but that isn't how I experience it--have an experience very much like a good-humored adult faced with a cranky toddler ("Are you sure, little tyke, that spilling your milk is the end of world? coochie, coochie coo!" ): I can't sustain, and don't want to, the feelings of irritation. It's too absurd, life is too good.

As I said, anger and depression are much less tractable. I can finally view them clearly enough not to act out of them (i.e., inflict my feelings on others; err... for the most part)but I'm like--you know the story of tarbaby?--too stuck in it to be sufficently aware of myself as "not my anger" or "not my depression".

But my breakthroughs with less intense emotions are showing me what's ultimately possible.

P.S. That "without judgment" part is just as important as the "seeing" and "awareness" part. Can't emphasize that enough.

Kai in NYC

william harryman said...

It sounds like you are doing classic mindfulness practice. But it's not important that it have a label, only that it works for you. Sounds like it does.

I'm basically trying to do the same thing. Mostly I try to be aware of my emotions, since that is my weak area. But for some emotions, and anger is the easiest for me (go figure), I am working on the transformation to the flipside. It's cool when I can be that aware.

Thanks for sharing your practice.