My review of the book, Natural Great Perfection: Dzogchen Teachings and Vajra Songs by Nyoshul Khenpo & Lama Surya Das is now posted on Feminist Review. You can read it here.
There are some things this book reminds me of that don't fit in the review, like a bumper sticker I saw the other day that said, "Honk if you don't exist." (Which further reminds me of the brilliant Monty Python skit where Nietzsche was thrown out of a soccer game for telling the umpire that he didn't exist...)
But the most fun aspect of reading this book has been the juxtaposition of it with an experience I've been having at work. I've always believed that sanity is somewhat cultural and subjective, or that, at the very least, it exists on a continuum -- that everybody is a little bit nutty in some way or another. Or as a friend of mine always says, "everyone's normal until you get to know them." But lately I've really been contemplating the fine line between a little out there and like really far gone.
So I have this customer and the first time I talked to him he told me that he knew he needed to get himself "right" because the trees wouldn't talk to him.
Now, most likely, you exist somewhere on the normal/crazy continuum that makes you think, "Wow, that dude is totally nuts."
But not me -- I totally get that, from where I sit on the spectrum. So we had a nice little conversation about talking to trees, the universe and such - he thanked me for understanding and then paid me the highest compliment I've received to date -- he said I'm the Buddha-Master. (Which I'm not, but still... it's a very kind thing for someone to say about you and I appreciate it.)
Time passed... our connection grew... but then it happened. He said that he'd let his robot guard down for thirty seconds and the robots got him. And I suddenly realized that I'm not talking to a crazy person like me, I'm talking to a person who struggles to grasp reality. I mean talking trees - a literary theme as old as story-telling -- everybody knows that trees laugh, whisper, etcetera! As American as burning witches at the stake. But robots? That's just looney talk.
So I asked myself, what would the Buddha-Master do when talking to this person (who is me, of course, if I am in fact the Buddha-Master)?
Alas, my book, Natural Great Perfection, doesn't contain the answer -- or maybe it does: "When one realizes the natural state, the true nature of all beings, there is naturally a welling up of inconceivable spontaneous compassion, loving-kindness, consideration, and empathy, because one realizes there is no self separate from others. One then treats others just like oneself. There is no cause for aversion, attachment or exploitation."
A very fine answer, indeed - wish me luck applying it.