24 April 2021

Allowing Ultimate Interference in Your Life - Ngakma Nor'dzin & Ngakpa 'ö-Dzin



In this video from February 2010, Ngakma Nor’dzin and Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin discuss how we allow the Lama to interfere in our lives.


Ngakma Nor’dzin: Often when people are thinking about the Vajra Master they always come up with this idea of, ‘What if the teacher told me to kill my child? How could I possibly do that?’ I think that we have to apply a little bit of common sense here – that we wouldn’t ask our ordained disciples to kill their firstborn child, or jump off a cliff, or do anything like that. There would be no principle or function working there. Usually what one might ask students to do is just view something in a slightly different way that is perhaps challenging – just questioning their rationale, asking them to actually let go of their comfort zone and look at another viewpoint that is perhaps scary and challenging. That would be the most that we would be likely to ask of them.

Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin: To be ordained is to allow ultimate interference in your life in terms of having interference with your entire view of your life. So there’s a theoretical idea of the dreadful things that may be asked of you, but there’s no basis in terms of practice as to why these things would be asked of you. Sometimes the most challenging things are actually the most subtle – just to be asked to be kind to somebody with whom you're having a difficult time could be the most challenging thing ever. Because you have this relationship with your Tantric teacher you take these indications seriously, and apply yourself to them seriously, and this is actually more dreadful and more of a real world possibility than ever being asked to sacrifice your child on top of a mountain or whatever things people think may come from a relationship with the Tantric master.

Ngakma Nor’dzin: Coming out of a teaching one time we happened to be opposite a derelict school and all the windows had been smashed, even the ones right on the high floors. I think it was about five stories high. I just casually mentioned to Ngak’chang Rinpoche what a shame that people have been smashing the windows like that, and it’s going to rack and ruin. Rinpoche paused for a moment– he has a certain look that comes on his face when he’s examining a situation. He said, ‘Pretty skillful stone throwing to hit those windows up there.’ This immediately flipped my view of this situation: ‘Wow! This is vandalism, but there’s also skilful throwing there’. These two seem incompatible and yet one can work with the ambiguity of those two views. It stops one falling rigidly on: ‘These are bad people because they’re throwing stones at the window,’ or ‘These are skilful people because they can hit those very top windows’. Both aspects are there. Rinpoche wasn't saying, ‘Oh vandalism is not bad, it's absolutely fine for people to smash up a building.’ He wasn’t saying that. It was just giving me the opportunity of holding those two apparently conflicting views and seeing how that worked for me – allowing me to play with that. That is the sort of thing that the teacher offers. It is just cutting through our tendency to be black and white, to be prejudiced, to be: ‘Yes it’s this’, ‘No it’s that’⎯whatever⎯playing with our perception, playing with our response. This is what the Vajra relationship offers us.

Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin: And I think sometimes these things can occur without even the intention of the Vajra Master, but simply because we take seriously what they appear to be doing. There was a time when I very firmly had Ngak’chang Rinpoche in the ‘good’ box, and that I had guns in the ‘bad’ box. Then Rinpoche took up shooting. In Britain, at least, this involved going down to the gun range and perforating paper – but I still had guns in the ‘bad’ box and that meant that I had to look at the certainty that I had about who would be in which box, or what would be in which box, and the certainty I had that anything to do with guns was automatically bad. So that re-evaluation and that change of view comes about not necessarily⎯who knows⎯because your teacher has decided to display something, but because you have decided to look seriously at what the teacher is doing and consider that in terms of your own prejudice. That in itself can open up all sorts of possibilities and free us up from a fixed way of thinking and doing things.

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