We recently had a blog chat discussion and the topic was on one of Rinpoche’s previous teachings called Tendencies. I highlighted a few points which I thought was really important to keep in mind, but this particular point got me thinking even more as it made me realise how very lucky and blessed I am to be surrounded with positive influences.
“Our friends can trigger our negative karma/our positive karma. If you are surrounded with your positive friends, positive teacher, living in a positive environment, they will trigger your positive karma. Because they always reinforce your positive mind until it is habitual. Once it is habitual, the negative karma becomes very difficult to open up and positive karma opens up till you do more positive things to a point the positive store of merit is so big, the negative karma is so small, it is ERASED/PURIFIED.”
Yes what Rinpoche says really makes a lot of sense and now I appreciate as well as understand it even better; why we’re often advised to stick with our Dharma brothers and sisters sangha community. It is not so much that our non-spiritual ‘samsaric’ friends are “bad”, it is more to safe guard ourselves, our minds from swaying back to what made us unhappy in the first place which pushed us to seek a spiritual path. Being with the wrong kind of friends can sometimes drag us down further without us even realising it, especially when we ourselves are not strong enough, and in the middle of battling our own demons of attachments. It is like someone who is in rehab trying to kick off the habit of being an alcoholic, the last people they need having around them are drinking friends. This is just simple logic. So the Dharma centre, temple or monastery is the rehab centre for our mind. To help our mind detox (purify negative thoughts), re-habituate (learn to re-learn) and for the cultivation of our natural clear mind that is true compassion and wisdom. This is why Rinpoche created Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR), a place to discover our true nature.
Having contemplated on all that, I really feel so lucky that Rinpoche allowed me to work in Kechara Forest Retreat and be surrounded by this positive environment, with positive people. This is indeed such a precious blessing I am so grateful for. It made me feel even more appreciative of the people in KFR, my dharma brothers and sisters I work with day in and day out. Yes dharma people have their ups and downs and flaws too, who doesn’t unless we’re all already Buddhas. So let’s be practical and like what Rinpoche said at least most of us are here for the same reasons; because we believe in Rinpoche’s vision, to learn the dharma and do something useful for this and future lives.
The wise and the elders, our teachers and our parents have always advised, emphasised, and even warned us to be careful who we mix with, who we surround ourselves with and who we call “friends”. There certainly must be some truth in it as even the enlightened ones tell us so. In this day and age of social media, it’s rather easy to get friends or call someone a friend. All it takes is a few clicks and request, and tadah you have a few hundreds or even thousands of “friends”, but we all know only a hand full are really true friends. I can count them with my five fingers. It is extremely lucky to even have one true friend that one can count on… true friends who are there, not when everything is fine and good, but when I am at my worst, kicking my butt up when I’m down.
One person who is far more than just a true friend is my spiritual guide, H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche. When I think about it more, if it wasn’t for Rinpoche bringing the Dharma to Malaysia, starting a Dharma shop (Kechara Paradise) and then a Dharma centre, where would we all be? Where will there be any dharma brothers and sisters or sangha for that matter? What will we be doing, chasing, or indulging in now? It is so true what is mentioned in the scripture by Lord Vajradhara – everything comes from the Lama, all the blessings and attainments. Hence even the positive good company I am in is because of the positive good teacher. For this I am extremely grateful… thank you Rinpoche!