Friday, June 3, 2011

Fourth meeting

[Dateline: May 9, Dharamsala] Today we had our fourth meeting with the Karmapa and discussed issues dealing with consumption and greed. One question I would like to start out with is: what do you identify yourself with? Many people identify with their occupation or their religion, but there is a large portion of the population who might identify with their social status mainly centered around what they can afford--a nice house, nice car, etc. We create these products. We label them and sell them. This means we should be in control of them since we are their creator, but in reality a lot of the time we are controlled by the objects we own. Similarly, participating in the business world we must have the most up-to-date technology to portray to others we are not only on top of the latest trends but also part of the most evolved network for communicating. What the Karmapa said, that seems so clear and easy, is that we should identify with happiness. We all think that we need these things in order to achieve happiness. This idea reminds me of Kierkegaard's idea of reaching something called Absolute Happiness. This seems impossible with the system we have set up, which has new technology every month whereas you need to disconnect from your attachments to these newer forms of electronics so that absolute happiness can be achieved through interactions and changes to the natural environment. We make machines and machines run us. We are buying in to the exploitations of impermanence. The true wealth is the wealth of contentment. This is something you can actually attain yourself. Once you purchase these newer forms of technology you immediately feel some delight, but how long does that last? We should appreciate the wonder of the ordinariness of things. The corporations who run these systems are consuming with unlimited greed. Having the products give the illusion of unlimited potential and unlimited choice. We have the choices to get what ever kind of product we want and what ever color we want in order to fit the product into our life. Yet it is our greed that is unlimited. Humans need to realize that greed is not our nature.

These ideas were all brought up in the Karmapa's teaching, and I am attempting to share what I have learned form him. Some of these concepts are very easy to realize. They might be better explained by him, but this is my synthesis of what he was saying.

After the talk, we sang "This little light of mine" for the Karmapa. He was given a drum and I played the Banjolin I had brought along. We all joined in and sang it to him. It was our offering of our culture for his wisdom, and I think that the meaning surpassed the cultural boundaries.
I also was able to show him how to play the instrument that I made for him and he learned to play a couple of notes. The entire day was very meaningful for everyone. I look forward to learning from him again tomorrow.

It is amazing how lucky we are to be sharing in this relationship of cultural exchange and especially considering that there are so many people who deserve to hear these words than just the small group here. People come from all around the world just for blessing from him and here we are able to meet with him consecutively for 2 hours at a time. His time is so valuable, that I hope that we can continue to meet with him. Thank you for reading. Hopefully my presentation of the words from the Karmapa retain some of his meaning, and I hope we can all learn from the experience that I and my fellow students are so lucky to be having.

1 comment:

  1. I think its neat if you're actually looking for comments as I have been following this guy around online for the past few months. The underlying motive is simply that I'm a UU philosophy person, so I'm attracted to stuff like that. I was glad that one of you gave him a copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra - as I think that's a model of "Western man as an enlightened being". I liked what you wrote. LOL that he was with other Americans and not just imagining it.