September 17th, 2004


Six keys

I am about to go hear Lama Tsering give a talk on the Six keys to happiness. I found out about this from a lab colleague who is actually kin to the Lama.

I go with an open mind but some degree of skepticism; I sometimes feel uncomfortable with religious services, yet from what I've heard about Lama Tsering, I think it will be a useful philosophical introduction as much as a religious service. I will probably write more about it later.

The six keys, according to Lama Tsering

... and as more or less accurately and impermanently transcribed by me.

acknowledgement -- recognition of the world's complexity and suffering, and its relation to illusion and that this suffering -- and the joy -- is reflection and reaction to the world of illusion by the minds which create that illusion
compassion -- recognition that you are not the only sufferer in the world; all others suffer as well
blamelessness -- that assigning a victim and an aggressor, assigning blame, is fruitless inside the dream, because the dreamer is all the parts
impermanence -- that all things in the world of illusion change and vary, including suffering and success
practice -- seeking out learning about the true world, the unchanging world
essence -- reaching that true world; the imperfection of unchanging reality.

Lama Tsering is a good speaker. I found myself wondering about all the discussion on blamelessness how to reconcile this view of the world-as-illusion with any kind of action, especially with a passion for [social] justice, but one of the other querents asked the question while I sat on my hands and contemplated my own ego -- and drive to ask questions -- as a source of trouble. Lama Tsering's answer was excellent: that we act out of compassion. We may know that the world is illusion, but we act from compassion for those who may not recognize it themselves -- their pain is real, even if the causes of their pain are not.

I had the nice surprise that beckyb, a relative of the Lama who brought along the group I went to the teaching with, introduced me to the Lama -- as "this is J-----; he's the compassionate one." That's pretty strong -- and flattering -- language to use after a talk on this kind of subject, and I told her so. Apparently she meant it. Wow. I'm honored.