I wanted to experience more of him, so I went in search of a video. This was before YouTube, before the day when any inspiration or whim can become an instant reality with only a few keystrokes. This was back in the days when we got dressed (or threw on our bathrobe) and drove to an actual store to browse the aisles for a clunky VHS that appeared to promise some kind of entertainment or edification. Main stream this idea of mine was not, so I went to an artsy, privately-owned video rental place in the U-District of Seattle.
The only video I could find was one of the Dalai Lama addressing Tibetan monks at some kind of conference. I took it home eagerly. A huge crowd of devoted monks filled a large room, thirsting for the chance to have their most esoteric and crucial questions answered and drinking in every word the Dalai Lama spoke. It all seemed like very serious business, indeed. After all, these monks -- and myself, vicariously -- were not here to learn about anything in the temporal world. We were waiting for The Answer. We were here for Enlightenment.
I watched for a while, mesmerized. Monk after monk would get his turn to ask his question. I recognized the language as English, but I couldn't understand a word. Their questions were so detailed, so full of words that were unfamiliar, so intricate in their discussion of what seemed like precise mechanisms of Buddhist thought, each one deeply nested within a hierarchy of prerequisite ideas. After a bit, I still couldn't understand a word, but I began to get an image of an immense and complex conceptual labryinth. These monks were hoping for a guide to get them through the maze.
I remember one monk stood up and began to ask his question. Words flowed out of him like water from a fire hydrant. They flowed and flowed and flowed. It seemed to take forever -- just to ask the question. Finally, the good monk stopped. He waited with anticipation for the answer to what must have been his most pressing question, the one that only the Dalai Lama could answer. I waited with anticipation too: What would DL have to say to all that? Maybe I'd get something helpful, even a snippet of something that might be a pointer for me.
The Dalai Lama paused for a bit, looked lovingly at the questioner, and with a bit of humor in his eyes said simply, "I don't know!"
If they have done her any good, surely they will have become part of her bones by now anyway.
I once heard a teacher say "technique" could only take you so far. For example, if you have a method for crossing the floor, you might measure the space between here and your destination, draw a line half way and walk to that space, cut the space in half again and walk up to the next line, etc. The problem is that there will always be space -- at the micro or quantum level ultimately -- to divide. You will never arrive through technique, methods or concepts.
While ego dismantling was taking place in one corner, spiritual self concepts were being built up in another one...a corner out of view. But something smells funny and I'm on to the game.
It's time to laugh!
I am the happy drop out. I am cutting class, I am tossing the text books into the garbage can. I am leaving the classrooms, the assignments, and the teachers behind.
And now what?
Let the feelings, images, and thought be my tea leaves, my guru. "Study" has been a type of homeopathy, introducing what ails me to cure me. But all this and I don't know a thing -- although do not trust me when I say that, since "knowing" is a deep addiction. I am only in recovery and every moment can be a challenge.
On my good days, I shall let it all look how it looks without concern for directing it this way or that. I shall just Look. If anything was helpful it was the Looking.
I shall sit Quiet. I shall Look and sit Quiet as though satsang were my only profession and the world were my Master.
For they are and have always been.
If my imperfect efforts have any success, you will find me out in the field with all the other drop outs where I will be very drunk on the wine.