This guy (and the vows)

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  • AlanLa
    Member
    • Mar 2008
    • 1405

    This guy (and the vows)

    I'm the director of a graduate program in counseling, and I missed an appointment with a prospective grad student the other day. It was totally my fault. I was working from home on another project and totally forgot about his appointment. He drove in about 90 minutes to see me and I felt really bad about it, but then I went into the office and found out that he gave our secretary such a hard time that she felt she had to write down how he was "personally offended" by my not being there. She described him as very arrogant and entitled. I emailed him and apologized and asked if we could reschedule. He said no, that he knew all he needed to about me about our program, and then I saw the three paragraph email he wrote to our department chair, my boss. The first paragraph was all about how great he was, all his accomplishments. The second paragraph was all about how horrible I was for missing his appointment. And the third paragraph went back to how great he was and that he was taking his talents to Harvard or Columbia, schools that had already accepted him. Upon finding all this out, I didn't feel too bad anymore. Not only is our small regional program probably not a good fit for him, neither is counseling in general. Based on this incident showing so much narcism and impatience, we don't need him, and neither does the field, so I just wrote him an email wishing him well in his future academic endeavors and thought that might be the end of it.

    But the story doesn't end there. Oh no, he kept going. Our department and counseling director both wrote him emails placating him and telling how great our program was and how sorry they were that he had such an unfortunate experience and offered to meet with him. He took them up on the offer and sent me back an email that said he had no desire to talk to me anymore, but was just pursuing the issue in order to "remedy the situation" and that he was also not perfect but believed everyone "deserved a chance at redemption."

    I find this whole scene hysterical (I can't stop laughing about it) yet maddening (I can't stop thinking about it). I'm right, and he's wrong; he's right and I'm wrong; both are true in the context of misbehavior. It just depends on where you stand, sure, but when he takes it so far he becomes my teacher. In one way, he can't let it go; but in another way, neither can I. Who is responsible to let it go? The Buddhism I learned from Jundo and Taigu tells me to just sit with it all, so I have been. Here's what hit me the other day when I said my vows at the end:

    Save the many beings, which includes this guy.
    Transform all delusions, which means both this guy's and mine.
    Perceive reality, which means this guy and I are one.
    Attain the enlightened way, which means I realize all of the above.

    Yeah, that's why I practice.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today
  • Jishin
    Member
    • Oct 2012
    • 4819

    #2
    Good work. :-)

    Gassho, Jishin

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39074

      #3
      Yep.

      My Dharma Bro. Brad Warner just wrote a couple of blog postings about how he got mad at a clerk in a car renatal place, and Brad does some wordy gymnastics to explain and justify it all ... including that his anger was something, on a smaller scale, like Martin Luther King's righteous anger in the face of injustice!

      Hmmm. Frankly, reading the story, I think Brad just get angry and is looking for justifications. To do so is human too.





      Frankly, I have seen lots of living Zen and other Buddhist Teachers get "hot under the collar" at times, and even old Dogen is said to have once tossed a student's Zafu out the door and even dug up the place the guy sat!

      Explores how Soto monks between the 13th and 16th centuries developed new forms of monastic organization and Zen instructions and new applications for Zen rituals within lay life; how these innovations helped shape rural society; and how remnants of them remain in the modern Soto school, now the lar


      I just read a memoire of a fellow's experience in a Theravada monastery in Thailand where the monks sometimes get hot about, for example, someone taking their sitting space during a meal! It is natural for human beings to sometimes get angry, at least until we will all be perfect Buddhas beyond all human failing, I guess we will. (Reading a lot of the diaries of old Masters like Hakuin and such, well, they sometimes could let lose!)

      BUT WHAT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT IS WHAT WE DO THEN, WHAT WE DO WITH THE ANGER!

      Once it arises, do we cling or let go quickly? Do we fan the flames, or allow the emotion to cool? Do we wallow in "he said she said" and "I'm right your wrong" endlessly, or move on? Do we BELIEVE the emotion as the real and irrefutable way things actually are, or do we rather learn to see the emotion as the passing bit of "mind theatre" and mental foolery that is just the temporary junk going on in our heads in the moment? Do we learn to compromise, forgive, build bridges, break bread, water under the bridge? Do we learn to accept?

      Etc. Etc.

      No, getting angry for a bit is human. What we do at that point, however, makes all the difference in the world.

      Gassho, J
      Last edited by Jundo; 05-24-2014, 03:22 AM.
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39074

        #4
        If you want more, here is an old post by me on the difference between anger and pouring fuel on the anger like gasoline!

        I was reading about the precepts on refraining from anger in 'The Mind of Clover.' It appears that the author is arguing that when there is no self to defend then anger can be appropriate depending on the situation. This has got me thinking. Is anger ever justified? Gassho, Simon


        Gassho, J
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • AlanLa
          Member
          • Mar 2008
          • 1405

          #5
          That guy is a buddha, and I am still wallowing in a situation that is now long gone from my control. What anger I have was never directed at him, so where does it go? I sit with it as my problem. (I typed "mu" there instead of "my"; a simple typo, of course, but how freud-i-zen, lol). Whose ego is right is a fruitless point, no zen in it. So is who lets it go first, because at this point it is a bizarre tie. We are both justified in our anger, but for entirely different reasons. i don't know where else to go with this but back to those vows, and they are always different every time I think about or say them:

          Save the many beings, me and this guy
          Transform all delusions, all the ones I have about this guy
          Perceive reality, that this guy and i are more alike than I like
          Attain the enlightened way, how can I do this by letting it/him go?
          Last edited by AlanLa; 05-24-2014, 06:02 PM.
          AL (Jigen) in:
          Faith/Trust
          Courage/Love
          Awareness/Action!

          I sat today

          Comment

          • Kyotai

            #6
            Thank you for this excellent lesson.

            Gassho

            Shawn

            Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

            Comment

            • Myosha
              Member
              • Mar 2013
              • 2974

              #7
              Hello,

              Some not only love the infection but never let the scab heal. Cutters and memorialists. What grand partners.




              Gassho,
              Myosha
              "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

              Comment

              • Joyo

                #8
                Yes, good reminder that these sorts of people are the Buddha also, and our teachers. I just wish there were fewer of them, as I seem to keep bumping into these kinds a lot

                Gassho,
                Joyo

                Comment

                • Kokuu
                  Treeleaf Priest
                  • Nov 2012
                  • 6737

                  #9
                  Thank you for sharing, Alan. Being attached to righteous anger can feel so good! Returning to the vows is a fine idea. It is helpful to have something like this (or refuge or some other teaching, prayer or phrase that is precious to us) that we can habitually return to in those moments when we feel like being swept away.

                  You never know, the self examination part of a counselling course might soften this guy up. If not, the other people on his course may well do!

                  Gassho
                  Andy

                  Comment

                  • Rich
                    Member
                    • Apr 2009
                    • 2587

                    #10
                    I think that missing an appointment is something that happens once and awhile to everyone. The only action required is a sincere apology.



                    Kind regards. /\
                    _/_
                    Rich
                    MUHYO
                    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                    Comment

                    • William
                      Member
                      • Jan 2013
                      • 36

                      #11
                      The unfortunate reality, at least in my own experiance, is that one can be nice for several days and then within moments of getting "hot under the collar," the problem is mysteriously solved immediately. Society seems to reward angry behavior with an immediate result and punish those who are nicer about things. It doesn't seem right.

                      I've been in many situations where appointments have been missed. Some by me, some by others. Many by Comcast. I never knew it to be such a big deal. It sounds like this guy just wants to get somebody else in trouble so he can feel like the big fish in the pond. Everybody wants to feel important. Just ignore him until he goes away. It's only a matter of time before he sets about to punish a coffee barista or fast food clerk, and he'll forget all about you.

                      Gassho
                      William




                      Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

                      Comment

                      • Joyo

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Rich
                        I think that missing an appointment is something that happens once and awhile to everyone. The only action required is a sincere apology.



                        Kind regards. /\
                        I completely agree!!

                        Comment

                        • AlanLa
                          Member
                          • Mar 2008
                          • 1405

                          #13
                          Thank you, everyone. Your replies are appreciated, but they were also extra, for I posted it here as a means to let it go. Such is the function of a sangha.

                          This guy could certainly benefit from counseling, but in no way is he showing the foundations of being a counselor. I find ignorance sad, and lack of awareness of ignorance even sadder. Hence saving the many beings.
                          AL (Jigen) in:
                          Faith/Trust
                          Courage/Love
                          Awareness/Action!

                          I sat today

                          Comment

                          • Heishu
                            Member
                            • Sep 2012
                            • 484

                            #14
                            No, getting angry for a bit is human. What we do at that point, however, makes all the difference in the world.

                            Gassho, J
                            There it is in a nutshell, so many times a perceived injustice overwhelms our normal ways of reacting to other folks behavior. It is so easy to 'blow up' over that perceived injustice than to take a moment to wonder what problems the 'offending' person may be experiencing. Just like the Brad Warner experience, had he taken a moment to ponder his reaction to the rental agency worker, he could have avoided the need for two blog posts over his reaction.

                            Gassho,
                            Heishu


                            “Blessed are the flexible, for they never get bent out of shape." Author Unknown

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39074

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Heishu
                              ... It is so easy to 'blow up' over that perceived injustice than to take a moment to wonder what problems the 'offending' person may be experiencing.
                              Here is a story I sometimes relate from my life, true story ...

                              For several years, my wife and I volunteered at a Hospice for the terminally ill. I was late to get to work there one morning, and took the toll road ... but did not have any small change (I think it was 25 cents), and only a large $20 bill. The woman in the toll booth could not take the large bill, refused to accept my promise to pay double on the return trip, gave me a hard time, filling out forms and blocking traffic too. I got a bit hot under the collar and told her and her rules off a bit. Jerky rules!

                              Not two hours later, I run into the same woman, crying next to her dying mother's bed in the hospice ... True story. And part of my job was to offer some support and comfort to the family members!

                              Everyone's life has many causes and conditions that brought them to that place. The fellow who cuts you off in traffic may be worried about losing his job, or the rude sales clerk may just be having a bad day. I try to keep that in mind now.
                              Gassho, J
                              Last edited by Jundo; 05-25-2014, 01:18 AM.
                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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