DZONGSAR JAMYANG KHYENTSE RINPOCHE ON LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS
A talk in Singapore on 8 April 2012… (Part 1/4)
I believe that we are going to talk about relationship and love, and all those stuff today. And probably I‟m not the right person to talk about these things. But on the other hand, I maybe the very right person, because, mmm, this maybe a little bit uncomfortable for some of you to hear. But I have many teachers that I have received teachings from. They are I would say, really, eh, Buddha in person – their kindness, compassion, their tolerance, and, and in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, it is believed the guru comes in many different manifestations. So, in this context, I would say that I have also learned some, something so precious and awakening from a girl whom I fall in love – madly.
Eh, I tried to call her last night, but I could not mention her name; but she‟s not available. So right now, all I could say she‟s a Dutch – very beautiful, free-spirited; eh, and her parents are kind of Bohemian hippie, you know. So this was when I was around early twenties; and with the permission of my main teacher, and I decided to go to London to study. And for the first time, I left the traditional surrounding where there‟re things like brocade as a table cloth, high thrones, eh, attendants; basically, mm, almost like godly life in one way.
I went and; I went to London and I was alone. And I learnt a lot of things like making breakfast, for instance. And going to supermarket and almost buying a cat food thinking that it is for human beings. So it was a big lesson. Actually I dare say this, but many younger generation lamas, Rinpoches, really, you know, extreme, eh, esteemed high lamas – I think they should go through this. So this is what I suggest actually; it should be in the part of Rinpoche‟s training curriculum.
They should fall in love; and of course, they should make toast and go to supermarket, so on and so forth. But they should also fall in love and then this girl should reject him. Because then we know what is suffering. Because until then when we talk about the truth of suffering, we are always talking about things that are written in the books, like death, old age, sickness, all abstract stuff. Most of the lamas don‟t know what is meant by paying bills, you know, the pleasure of living in a modern society.
I have learnt a lot, but most importantly this girl taught me a lot. I have, because I was completely, madly in love, I think; and because she was very free-spirited – really, extremely free-spirited, I would say. Growing, I think she grow up in a hippie community, so for her; like she was, like amazingly free-spirited. Sometimes she; we would travel in the subway and then she would, you know, nudge me and say “What do you think of that boy?” You know, like somebody travelling, you know, just ordinary passenger. And before long she would be talking to him, and then after a few days they were already together – a night or two – not long. You know, she discarded him also. She, in her own way, she was very loyal to me and, but it was so PAINFUL!
And here I‟m supposed to be the lama who‟s supposed to teach the free spirit, non-attachment, do whatever you want. And there‟s this girl, jolly, all the time happy, and really giving me a really precious teaching. I must really consider her as one of my awakening teachers; so special, I would say. So, I can, I think, in some ways maybe I could, I could talk about relationship. (Pause)
In Buddhism, I‟m sure many of you know we talk about love and compassion. But when we talk about love and what we‟re supposed to discuss this time, the love – they are different. In Buddhism and especially in Mahayana Buddhism, but not only in Mahayana actually; in Buddhism we talk about metta, karuna, but this kind of love taught in Buddhism is what we call limitless love. Some of you who are familiar with the Buddhist concept of Four Limitless Thoughts, you would know. In fact, love is the first thing out of four limitless practice we are introduced. (Tibetan phrase) And definition of the love is wishing all sentient beings to be happy and not only to be happy, but to have the sense of gathering the cause of happiness.
And such kind of love is aimed at ALL sentient beings. Therefore the object is limitless. Such kind of love has no personal agenda. So from the intention point of view, it is limitless. Such kind of love is not only aimed at acquiring happiness in the sense of, you know, mundane happiness. But this kind of love is really, eh, aimed at true happiness which is enlightenment or in other words, to awaken from net of delusion. So, eh, it is limitless. It is not limited as how we, mm, you know, the ordinary concept of love.
Eh, those who are coming – no need to do prostrations – okay, yeah, please. We could have done this in the same place as last night – in front of the holy shrine. And the purpose of moving to Post Office is so that we can talk some unwholesome stuff. And the prostrations and all of that, kind of, it‟s a, maybe not necessary; and besides that, it distracts me.
So, love and relationship; what‟s the time now? Okay. Love and relationship that we are, you know, expecting to discuss, is really not taught in Buddhism. I have to tell you that. This is why I always think Buddhism is not going to grow so much. Buddhism deals with the truth. Truth is something that generally people are not that interested. Buddhism talks about things like impermanence, eh, illusion – not many people are interested in those things. So with this, if you go through sutras or shastras; (attendant talks to Rinpoche about the mike) no problem – okay, can you hear now? Eh, what was it that I was saying? Oh, yeah. So in the sutras and shastras there is no mention of marriage ceremony, for instance. This is; Buddhists don‟t have marriage ceremony, I tell you – this is true.
Many, many traditional Buddhists like in Korea, Japan are becoming Christians now because they don‟t have a good marriage ceremony. It‟s nice to wear wedding gown, bouquet, the music – and all of those are important but Buddhists don‟t have. And I always say this. If I make one; a Buddhist marriage which actually I‟m trying to kind of gather some ideas, something related to Buddhist marriage; but if I really do it authentically, it‟s not going to work. It will be something like; the couples in front of me and I say “Oh well, you know, things are impermanent. (Laughter and Applause) It might not work like after a few days”. More, more likely, Buddhists would have a divorce ceremony, actually.
So love and relationship are not taught as it is an institution that you need. But love-an-relationship kind of love is, of course taught in the Buddhist teachings, but as a problem; not as something that you, sort of, you need to establish. It is sort of; the attitude of the Buddhists talking about love and relationship – always there‟s a little bit of suspicion, you understand – if you like, some kind of suspicion. But of course, the Buddhists know the people, no matter what; people will still keep on falling in love; people will still get married; people will still strive for relationship. So one could give some advice on how to have a proper love and relationship, I guess. There‟s a question regarding access. One could kind of, you know, relate to some of the Buddhist wisdom. We could discuss these things here and there. And this is what we‟ll attempt to discuss today. And then; I went through the questions; there are many. I don‟t know whether we could finish all of them but we‟ll try and see.
I think it is a Korean film. Koreans are so good with their love story movies. They‟re really good. I think it‟s a Korean film. I don‟t remember the name of the film or the director. It‟s quite a good film I saw a long time ago. It‟s about two maids; well, a servant and a maid; a servant from one family and another, a maid from another household. And they both serve very affluent, rich families. You know, they do all the house, household chores. And they; these two are madly in love. And they, they‟re poor but what they decide to do; both families – they‟re kind of like yuppies so they have no time staying at home. So many times, eh, both families – they‟re overseas, you know, not at all at home anyway. You know the real human beings who actually stay in the house happens to be the maid and the servant; from both, different households though. It‟s such a good film.
And then they use the house of their boss, maybe not the right thing to do, but you know, there‟s the flower, there‟s the big, big bed; you know, like champagne, wine glasses, candle-light dinner, all of that. They, they kind of like, they exercise their love making, relationship, all of that, you know, in a borrowed place basically. In many ways, our love and relationship is a bit like that. And the reason is, this is where the Buddhist wisdom comes in. We are all dependent on condition. None of us have control over anything. Forget external things. We can‟t have control over what we‟ll be feeling or thinking the next minute. When it comes, it comes. Then it will just blow you, push you, pull you, stretch you, flatten you – we are totally conditioned. We are so dependent. And it‟s not getting easier. Modern life, modern structure, infrastructure is making us even more dependent on different things and even faster.
A rejection from your partner could come instantly in a SMS, you understand. In the past, you may, it may take like a month to walk, but this is no more the case. So our emotions, the stressful life is like a rollercoaster, but anyway, the point is conditioning, we are ruled by conditions. And trying to have; this is good to be aware of. Trying to have a love, romance, candle-light dinner, relationship within this situation where everything is dependent on so many things. Now think. I think it‟s quite a good awareness to have this because one of the biggest problem with the love and relationship is something called „taking things for granted‟ – isn‟t it?
When a couple meets; a week, two weeks – fantastic, you know; and then a month for those people who are kind of slow in their thinking; a month, even a year. Then due to all kinds of situation – stress, responsibility, morality, eh, I don‟t know depression; mm, you end up taking things for granted, especially your partner. You expect, you know, if, if your partner SMS you every half an hour. And one day this partner, I don‟t know, maybe she or he has a diarrhea problem or something, I don‟t know – forgets to SMS within half an hour. Then it bothers you, it bugs you. Then you will ask “Why do you do it? What happened?” – All of this. So I think to have awareness of this fact that we are so dependent on cause and condition, everything; that awareness might create a space and a boundary; but fundamentally though this leads to another point.
Love and the intention of having a relationship is very much based on insecurity. Love becomes a complete love when you feel; you are satisfied with this notion of being loved by the other side. You know, I write sometimes film, so there‟s a different genre that you can write, you know, like comedy, thriller, whatever. You know, romance, this is something interesting. If you like, if you want to read, if you want to write a romantic film, the core, sort of, the – it has to work right, the romantic film has to work – what works a romantic story is it has to have a failure. It has to be, you know, it has to have that, eh, what you call it – the love should not work. Only then the love works. This is interesting. If you look at all the great romantic stories like Romeo and Juliet, the only reason why we love it – it was a tragedy. So the love has this tragic…If, I guess, this is why; eh, maybe I shouldn‟t say this. Let me think about it. I still have to go and do my, eh, things. I still, I don‟t want to be fired from my job. So I, I have to place limit in what I say too.
Yes, insecurity – that is like a, like the blood of love, I feel. (Pause) You know, we like, we love our pet dog, you know, dogs. Do you know we kind of love our dogs, pet, cat, whatever; kind of much more than, sort of, eh, successfully than our human pet. Because dogs don‟t talk to us; I mean they do but, you know, you don‟t understand. They do a few things like wagging the tail and stuff like that. So then, you know, we do, not complicated. But our partners – they talk and then, of course, you listen and you hear, or you don‟t listen and you don‟t hear.
This is, this is a big one – communication, ah. I was just telling to some of my friends – there is no such thing as communication. This is actually said by the great, one of the great Nyingma masters, Jigme Lingpa. He said “The moment we think, it is a confusion; and the moment we say something, it is a contradiction.” There is no such thing as communication. There are only two things. There is a successful miscommunication, and unsuccessful miscommunication. And when you have unsuccessful miscommunication, you are having a good time. When, when misunderstanding is not working, then, only then, you are having a good time. Of course, when the real miscommunication happens, of course, you are – communication between two partners – so difficult. What they are assuming, what the partner is assuming or expecting or afraid of, we don‟t know. We can sort of gather, we can sort of guess based on some of the things that happen in the past. But emotions, the mood is like the weather. It changes all the time due to all kinds of things – hormone, too much sugar in the tea, I don‟t know; endless, endless cause and conditions, as we talked earlier. Because we are all dependent on conditions; we are ruled by conditions.
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche: “ON LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS” A talk in Singapore on April 2012…
(Transcribed from YouTube video “Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on Love & Relationships”)