By Roger S.
Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi has taught me some valuable lessons:
From reading the Diamond Sutra, I’ve begun to notice how the ego really distorts our way of thinking. I now see every day how so many people are negatively affected by only thinking about their wants, their ego, their self-importance, their reputation, etc. Since late last year, I’ve been trying my best to apply this and let go of my own ego as much as possible. What I’ve discovered is that I was normally a very happy person in general, but now I’m even happier and more satisfied with all aspects around me whether it’s good or bad. When I talk to my co-workers, friends, and family, it seems to always apply. When people are upset or unhappy, it seems they are unhappy that they are not able to accomplish what “they want”. They are so focused on their own desires, attachments, and ego that it’s difficult to let go and yield to others. I notice this all the time during work, where employees compete for the CEO’s attention, and where they are willing to claw at each other for the sake of climbing the corporate ladder.
I also notice that ever since I started to memorize and recite the Buddhist precepts, that subconsciously I become reminded when I encounter certain situations. I.e., if I come across a person that I feel that I feel is rude and I do not like, the phrase from the precept, “Be compassionate to all beings and treat them as your guests” becomes triggered into my mind and I then observe that precept instead of reciprocating rudeness. Memorizing the precepts and reciting them with our heart are really good pills of medicine for our heart. It’s really a great way to break bad habits and to develop good habits in place of them.
Compassion, this is one area which has always been hit or miss for me. I’ve always wanted to help other people if it was within my abilities. The challenge in the past was that I always ended up getting screwed over or taken advantage of. Over the years because of so many bad experiences, I’ve built up a huge wall to shield me from being taken advantage of. It was only until last year that I started to break this wall down and started to become more compassionate and understanding towards everyone. It’s still pretty difficult but I’m finding myself still calculating and analyzing whether or not I should help this person, and whether or not this person has malicious intent. But it’s definitely better, and I’m more open now to helping people for even the littlest things, where in the past I would only do it in exchange for something of material. I think as long as the person that I am helping is not evil or has malice, then I’m okay with it. By the way, compassion has always been a really good offset for battling against anger and hate, since most of the time I notice the anger and hate stems from our own ego.
With the increased wisdom that Holy Master imparted to us, it was the catalyst for me to have a deeper appreciation for the above mentioned. I’m able to calculate and analyze problems, scenarios, situations much quicker and with better judgment. It feels extremely effortless for me to anticipate problem solving much further in advance, to the point where my wife thinks I’m psychic which I am not. I try to explain to her that it’s like I’m playing chess and instead of anticipating 1-2 moves ahead, I can play out 5-7 moves in my head in advance. My emotional intelligence has increased as well as the level of my own self-awareness, further creating additional mental stability with not being swayed or influenced by other people who will pressure others into making bad decisions. This has been especially handy when encountering other Rinpoches who have attempted to educate me on Buddhism, or curiously reading endlessly about Buddhism on the internet only to find that there is a lot of inaccurate information being posted on the web.