Maturation into Adult Discipleship


Beitrag ansehen

Maturation into Adult Discipleship

Interview with Regina Sara Ryan and Mary Angelon Young
Triveni Ashram in Arizona 03-03-2019

Q: How does the community live on after the physical death of your teacher Lee Lozowick? What opportunities do you see and what difficulties do you experience? What is the role of a true teacher, a guru, and why are there so few gurus in the Western world? And if there are any, why are they viewed with suspicion and prejudice by most people?

Mary Angelon Young (MAY): I’d like to say something about the difference between a guru and a teacher. There are many people in the spiritual world, on the spiritual path, who function as a teacher, but they don’t necessarily take on the same level of responsibility for the student that the guru takes on. Particularly when we’re speaking about someone who is in the role of the satguru.

In India everybody who has authority in some domain is a guru. Master tabla players are considered gurus, and they are gurus in that particular milieu. But the satguru, the guru who represents truth and being for you, who is a complete mirror for you, this is a different level of teaching and instruction.

One of the ways we can speak about it, that doesn’t get into the devotional aspect so much, is to speak in terms of transmission. Someone who’s teaching you music or who knows comparative religion and can really lead you through and teach you about the fundamental facets of Buddhism or Hinduism or Sufism or Christianity and so on—these people are very knowledgeable, and they can help you up to a certain point. They might be transmitting something in a certain sense, but they are not fulfilling the function of transmission—being to being, mind to mind—that a satguru fulfills.

The guru in that sense is like a stand-in for your true self, until you get it. They take everything, all of our projections, all of our hopes and our dreams, our confusion, our faulty attempts, our false starts, our mistakes, everything, they take it all. And they not only take it in this incarnation, but they are taking on our karmas. They have already.

This question about guru and devotee is a very very deep question. How do you know if someone is your guru, if  someone is that function for you? How do you know? We can’t know with the mind. It is entirely a function of the heart. It is a heart to heart situation. And while we may have a close and deep relationship with teachers in our life, the heart to heart, mind to mind intimacy with the satguru is on another level.

The French teacher Arnaud Desjardin, who has been a spiritual friend to me, used to speak about upa gurus. An upa guru might provide help, might point you in the right direction, and give you some guidance. They are very valuable along the way on the path, but they are not the satguru.

The guru/disciple relationship is not something that one makes a choice about. You meet that person and you might not even be entirely happy about having met that person. Because once you meet the embodiment of that function of satguru for you—and it is a function—then all hell might break loose in your comfortable life.

Q: This is already a part of the answer for my next question. Why is it that, after years of exchange between Western and Eastern traditions, it is still so difficult for Westerners to accept the guru function in our Western world?

MAY: This is very difficult and very complex. Some of it goes like right to the core of the differences in Western philosophy and Eastern philosophy. I don’t want to go into discourse about that, but in general in Western philosophy the focus is more on the individual, on the development of the individual. And in the Eastern philosophy the focus is on the individual realization of union with everything.

Q: Do you think this point is even more difficult to understand or accept in the U.S. than in Europe?

MAY: I could say yes very easily, and, I would say actually it’s different rather than more difficult, because we are all Westerners. I have spent a lot of time in Europe. I lived in Europe for three or four months a year for the last twenty-five years. I have many close friends in Europe; my husband is European. I have some basis of experience to say that we are all Westerners, and we have some core issues that are the same in our psyches, including the Judeo-Christian Tradition.

Here is another fundamental difference between East and West. In the Western tradition there is this problem of original sin. This is a very big problem for Westerners, because deep down in our psyches it is in there, whether we were raised in the church or not doesn’t matter at all. It’s still completely in there, it is threaded through us at a cellular level; it is present psychologically, socially, culturally, religiously. It is in every level of civilization and experience of life for Westerners.

In the East, it is not so. In the East, the teaching of enlightenment or pristine original innocence or true nature—or we might say sajaha, from a Baul perspective—is considered to be already present. It is completely given to us, it is a gift from God, and it is already perfect. What we are doing on the path is working to remember it and to abide in it and to realize it. We are working to actually bring it into a conscious realization, rather than just humming under the surface somewhere deep down underneath our psyches and karmas.

This is a huge difference. If we fundamentally feel bad about ourselves, there is a long struggle that goes on to feel good about yourself, if you are Westerner. That struggle probably involves some really complicated interactions with spiritual authorities in any form, and especially in guru form, because the guru is the ultimate spiritual authority. The guru model is patriarchal, whether it’s a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter. Amritananda Mayi is a hardcore guru with her inner circle. For the masses, she is the wonderful blessed mother, she does absolutely incredible beautiful work. For her inner circle she is a relentless task master. She is the satguru, and she cares about one thing only.

Q: To me the guru is always representing “death.” No one wants to face death. Do you see that as a problem for people, the reason why they don’t want a guru? And how one can be ready to invite death, which means, to me, how to be ready to invite the guru?

MAY: I would agree with this, of course we don’t want to die. And with the guru, we are not going to die one time. There will be layer after layer that is peeled off. And when it is peeled off, then it’s gone.

The spiritual path in general is about the reduction of the personality. The personality is getting smaller and smallerinstead of getting bigger, more adept, more accomplished, more successful, and more beautiful, and so on. It is not really a diminishment, but it can feel that way in the process. In my experience, the guru pushes us and pulls us into experiences of loss, of inner death, or having to let go of something that is precious to our personality . . . aspects of ourselves that we cherish, and we are not aware of how those aspects limit us or can actually be a prison for us.

It’s good to have a skillful guru, who knows what he or she is doing! Not all gurus are skillful or have skillful means, and that may be a tough fact to accept. When we are with a true guru, we sign on to an accelerated process of those small and large “deaths.” But death, in this situation, really means transformation. And of course, all death is a transformation.

After many years of his teaching, Lee used to say, “I don’t do anything at all to my students. I’m not doing anything; life is doing everything.” Lee could walk through the room and people had a small death experience! By the power of his presence, which was transformative in that he was constantly transmitting reality, or we could say the Divine. Inwardly we were saying, “Please don’t take this or that from me, I don’t want to die!” Of course, I’m simplifying it. But essentially, the fact of life and the events of life, as we get older, will put us through these experiences of death and loss and transformation.

When we are committed to the path, the process is intensified. When we are with the guru, the whole process is accelerated. From my point of view, as important as the guru/disciple relationship, is the individual’s relationship to the Great Path. Gurdjieff call it the Work, but I prefer the term the Path. Once you have taken refuge on the spiritual Path, the Path itself will begin to put you through this process of transformation. And the guru doesn’t have to do so much work, he or she doesn’t have to take it all on, because the student or disciple has taken it on. You have to have your own necessity for transformation. And this relieves your guru’s suffering.

How can you imagine that your guru is suffering? Your guru might not say that he is suffering, but he is human being! All life is suffering. The guru has to suffer for and with the disciple until the disciple decides to take up the Path and walk as much as possible side by side with the guru. Then, when the guru tries to “kill” something in you, you are more receptive to it, because you have made the Path your own, you have signed on consciously. Every day you are renewing your commitment to your own transformation. That is a different relationship to the guru.

Regina (RSR): It also has something to do with the difference in how death is viewed or experienced in the East and West. Very early on, Lee took us to India. He took many of our children with him, and they were still very young. He would take them to the smashan, the cremation grounds, and they would sit there while the corpses were covered with ghee and set on fire. The skulls popped and brains came out, and the children would actually hear and see this. Not because we were forcing them to see all this, but because they were fascinated and wanted to be there in this raw experience.

Coming from a culture such as India, where death is right in your face all the time, is a sharp contrast for those of us who have grown up in Western cultures, at least in contemporary cultures. We have denied death so much; we put it so far away. Everything about our contemporary media is dedicated to putting it off, denying it. We have a death-denying culture here in the West. So, people come to the end of their lives and they’re desperate, because they have never confronted the reality of their own death.

So, why would a person go to a guru? They might start off in that direction because they are in pain and they want comfort and relief. But the longer they are on the Path, the more they realize it’s going to take this slow peeling away of defenses, of attachments, of identifications. In other words, it’s going to be a death, a dying before you die, a death every day. And so, coming out of the culture like we are coming out of, we do not want to die, we are grasping, desperate to avoid it.

Q: And then a guru is an enemy.

RSR: Yes, and then the guru is the enemy. Or he or she is completely unconventional because they may suggest things to people that are contradictory to the status quo mind. If I would tell my parents, for example, that Lee didn’t want me to take photographs of the children and pass them around to everybody on the internet, or take pictures of the baby, they would be outraged. For them, that type of rule is so contradictory to what the contemporary culture is about. Even in these tiny little ways, Lee confronted us. It is a death to my will, to my way.

Q: I come back to the question: What could open one’s mind to be ready for a guru?

MAY: I’m not sure this is something that we can control—that is, the timing of when the guru shows up! It is said on the Path that when the disciple is ready, the guru appears. And this is an impulse coming of such a deep source in us, it’s not our conscious will and personality that can create or draw that to us. Of course, we could engage all kinds of yoga, we could pray, we could ask for a guru and ask for help. We can begin to study the great traditions and work on ourselves in terms of increasing our self-awareness, self-honesty, self-knowledge. All of these involve different types of yoga in the sense of linking back with the Divine.

Q:  I would like to ask this a bit differently. How could an interest for a guru show up? What could open the interest and make us curious instead of seeing the guru as an enemy?

MAY:  It doesn’t help the cause of those of us who have gurus and live in the West that there are so many guru traditions under siege right now with scandals and situations of abuse! This must be addressed for people on the Path. We cannot stick our heads in the sand and pretend this isn’t going on. Here in the States, for example, with teachers like the Sakyong and many others. These ongoing situations make it difficult to even talk about the guru to people in a way that may open things for them.

RSR: Well, opening to a guru is not going to come from some logical explanation. For someone who knows you, another person, it may come about because they are curious about you, about what’s happening for you, or about how you are being.  They might begin to wonder about the way in which you are dealing with something, asking themselves, like, “What‘s going on in her life?”

Q: To see the disciples…

RSR: There is a beautiful story about St. Francis of Assisi. Some people met him and as they got to know him they were deeply impressed by his goodness, his kindness, his generosity.  Some of them remarked: “The master Jesus must be a great master because his servant Francis is so good!”

There is another story: A young man sees a Zen monk walking down the street. The monk was actually one of the first great roshis who had come from Japan to the United States. And the man just watched this monk every day, noticing just the way he carried himself, and became so curious that he finally went up and asked the monk: “You walk like… I have never seen someone walk that way. Who are you – what‘s going on?”

I‘m sure some people are looking for answers and looking for wisdom, and really do bring genuine questions, genuine necessity, and certainly that’s another way that people open themselves to a guru. But, a lot of times, what opens a person to the possibility of a more positive view of a guru is that they have seen the disciples. Lee used to say: Look at the disciples to see the truth of the guru.

Q: That‘s an important point…

RSR: So, when I first encountered Lee, I had been with a couple of other spiritual teachers for a period of time and my husband Jere was always holding back from the way I was with them. Then, when Lee found me, Jere became more and more open to this relationship, and curious, because he saw that there was something different in the way I was being. There was not a big drama about the way I was being with regards to Lee and my work with him. Rather, there was something of depth to my way of being, and that was what convinced my husband that there might be something real going on here. And then Jere began to explore it for himself. It was gentle, it was deep, it was soft. All the big radical exclamations of: “Oh my guru is this or that…” –that didn‘t impress Jere at all. What impressed him was my kindness and attention and simplicity and the way I was approaching things as opposed to what I was doing before.

MAY: I think that‘s really important and the most foundation level point: for those who do have gurus, to be able to embody what we receive from our gurus and be examples of that. Arnaud Desjardin has a beautiful teaching from his teacher about intrinsic dignity and intrinsic nobility. A true guru will help you to cultivate intrinsic dignity and intrinsic nobility, which is already in you. It’s your true nature, but it has to be cultivated and brought forth, like a garden.

Q: A lot of my questions disappear now. I have a question about what it is like after the master dies; what it is like to have had Lee living with you for so long, and then his leaving the body. With you, I feel him so strongly when I‘m here. I‘m very touched by the presence of Lee. But I would ask you both, what are the first three words that come to mind for you when you think about Lee.

RSR: Kindness, generosity, compassion. That was a seed of Lee’s essential teaching and I saw that in him over and over again. Those words are like a mantra.

MAY: Beauty, presence, divinity. Lee’s being was very beautiful.

Q: Could you name the core of his teaching? What was coming through him?

MAY: Leewas a great lover of God. His transmission and his teaching both were and are essentially theistic, even though he was a great nondualist and he insisted that loving God rests upon the realization of Oneness. Out of that Oneness blossoms this beautiful relationship with personal divinity. It‘s both personal and impersonal, so it‘s both nondual and dual.

This beautiful teaching was part of what drew me to him, because I wanted that personal relationship with divinity that he transmitted. Lee’s presence of being was extremely magnetic, and I wanted this direct relationship with the Divine. For me, I would say that this is really at the core of his teaching. His poetry to his master, Yogi Ramsuratkumar, is all about this direct relationship with divinity through the form of the master.

Q: This is clearly the way of the bhakti path, which is not better than other paths.

MAY: It is the bhakti path. One of the misunderstandings of the bhakti path is that it‘s just dualism. But it‘s not just dualism, you can only get true bhakti, the personal dimension of God, if you have the substratum, the foundation of nonduality. The personal Beloved is a flowering out of Oneness.

Someone was telling me about a Buddhist book with the title, “There is no God, and he is always with you.” That’s how it is, because we can never capture God. This is Lee’s teaching; as the Bauls say, the divinity is the Unknown Bird. You can’t capture it in the cage of your heart, no matter how hard you may try. Maybe it lights on you for a moment, and you are transformed by its touch, and you are transported…but then it’s gone again. We can’t make that happen, it’s so far beyond us.

One of Lee‘s most important books is The Only Grace is Loving God. This is one of Lee‘s original statements. He used to say that there is nothing new under the sun. He meant that there is nothing new about all of these different arguments of cosmology and philosophy and theology and all of that. There is oneness and unity and nonduality (advaita) and there is duality (dvaita). People have been arguing and discussing or living these questions for thousands of years! But Lee‘s statement of “The only grace is loving god” is a unique approach to all this. You can‘t understand it. It‘s completely nonrational. You just read it the book, and somehow it transmits something of the fleeting nature of this Divinity that is and is not.

Q: What is the bhakti way for you, Regina?

RSR: I guess I was born a bhakta. I just came in with that. Even as a child, I had an exuberance for life. I always felt I couldn‘t get enough. I used to jump a lot; I just jumped for joy. I deeply connected to the exuberance of life-force in me. And, as I began to study the various spiritual traditions I related to many things in each of them. I loved the linearity and the hierarchy and the distinctions of the Buddhist tradition. Like: “Oh that‘s good, now I know, I‘m on level seven,” something like that. But that’s just not my way. My way is to throw my arms up under the night sky and just adore reality, adore creation and fall on my face in awe and humility.

I was raised near the ocean. And every week, sometimes every day, we went down to the edge of the ocean. This was exuberance, this was immensity, this was beyond . . .  and still to this day whenever I get to the ocean it‘s just pure celebration of the divine. For me, bhakti is just a life-force / a “love-force” that wants to express itself.

That just embraces everything.

Q: It‘s beautiful. I‘m very connected with the ocean. What a teacher, like a mother.

RSR: Wordless teaching. Wordless mother. You have been hearing us talk about this man Stephen Jenkinson who has written books about dying and aging. One of his teachers, Martin Precthel, told him about the process of grieving, and Martin writes about this in his own book, The Smell of Rain on Dust. He suggested that if you really want to grieve you get a good friend to come with you to the ocean. And you spend maybe three days there, if you have to. Your friend stays with you but a distance away, just watching you to make sure that you are safe. You just sit or stand by the ocean and you pour out your grief, everything, into the ocean. You say anything, you do anything, you just allow the ocean to be there for you. And your friend must promise that he would just protect you from tourists who come by and wonder what you‘re doing, or protect you if you decide to kill yourself and run into the ocean. I thought that was a fantastic image. It‘s prayer and it‘s pure grief. You have to go to something larger than yourself to hold the immensity that the heart has. The heart has so much love and so much pain and as humans we have the ocean and we have the sky, we have the desert landscape too – but for me, ocean and sky. These are particularly endless.

MAY: What you‘re saying makes me think of your earlier question about how to embrace this dying process that we are in, really from the moment of our birth. Something is always dying. This moment is dying for the next moment to be born. And the relationship with the guru, in peeling away the layers and the buffers and the conditionings, feels like death. It forces us to go toward something greater because there is grief all along the way. It ‘s natural and important to grieve, it‘s part of our humanity. It’s crucial not to lose sight of our humanity along the way.

The Rg Veda says that we should contemplate the nature of the sky in order to know the true nature of our own minds. Of course the clouds pass and the storms come and go and there is rain, but behind and beyond all that is this incredible pristine infinite expanse of sky.

RSR: One of our favorite Baul song lyrics says: “The mirror of the sky reflects my soul.“ 

MAY: So if we contemplate nature—the ocean which is constantly in a state of impermanence, or the rhythms of day and night or the seasons—if we contemplate nature we see that this is what is going on in the cosmos. And then we go to astrophysics and we see that the same thing is happening at the level of the galaxy, that death and birth is happening. This can help us give us the strength to walk the Path and face the disillusion and despair which we come to encounter. Disillusion means that we are going to be relieved from our illusions, and we feel like we are dying when this is happening.

Q: Let‘s do a last question. I would like to ask what was or is changing for you from the moment when Lee left his body, until now, and also what is changing in the community. What changes from “teacher in the body” and “teacher left his body.” You can also share how it was for you.

RSR: One thing that is changing ongoingly for me is the death of the internal Mommy and Daddy and the ways in which I had made Lee into a Mommy or Daddy to answer my questions, to help me along the way and to save me in some way. I remember flying on airplanes with him and thinking: “Oh, we won‘t crash, because he is on the plane with me.“ Not necessarily so… But that‘s the way in which the psyche, in it‘s fear, took the guru: as somebody who could relieve you of fear. And in the deepest most ultimate sense it‘s really true, but not in the sense I was using it, to heal my “boo-boos” as a child might demand.

So for me it’s been an ongoing recognition of an internalized inner parent that has gone away. Well, maybe not gone completely, but the inner parent is fading; it‘s still there but it‘s fading. And now that Lee has left his body there is the opportunity to see: What was the essence of my relationship to him? He is no longer there to be this external reflection of my inner parent. So now I‘m dealing with that. That requires this “growing up” that we‘ve been talking about, and I’m recognizing where I‘m still doing that same thing with other people—looking to others for approval, and to fix my cuts and scratches. I now have this ongoing work to come back to the essence of what I know, what has been given to me, who I am, and to stand in that in every life circumstance.

The deepest thing that I‘ve gotten is that he is no longer so much localized since his death. He is inhabiting space in a way in which my access to him is more expanded. The gift is that I‘m not only experiencing  him in creation but I‘m experiencing him in others. Now, because he is not there to focus all my attention on, I begin to experience that around me in others.

And as far as how the community is doing, many teachers have said things like: “Work out your own enlightenment with diligence.” Those were supposedly the Buddha’s last words. We in the sangha are in a process of questioning and having to work together and feeling our limitations and truths and having to listen to one another. And I think the truth of what Lee gave to us was that he was not going to leave a singular lineage-holder but he was going to leave “enlightened community.” That is the koan. Not enlightenment in each individual, but “enlightened community.”

What does this even mean? We are not quite ten years into the midst of that koan. And it‘s difficult to struggle with. But it‘s so important and so enlivening and it‘s grace filled. No easy answers. Just hard work and also lots of good times, and a lot of joy.

Q: Do you miss him in his body?

RSR: Yes, very much. Lee wrote a poem to his master and I can‘t say those lines without choking up, filling with tears again, because he wrote to his master: Even though you are everywhere “…still we miss the irreplaceable joys of your bodily presence” and now your body is gone. We miss your laughter, we miss your touch.

MAY: The summer before he died, Lee said: “I‘m sure that my death will be my greatest utility to my students.” In other words he was saying: my dying is the most useful thing that I‘ve ever done for you. And this is a huge statement with many different levels to it. Regina was speaking about the inner parent. I agree with that, yes, and I would also put it a little differently. In the Tarot, one of the major arcana cards is called the Hierophant. He is the archetypal spiritual authority, and he is standing there with the keys. He is the preceptor, the one who is both going to initiate you into the next level of reality, and he is also standing in your way.

Of course for me there was and is an immense and deep process of grief that started before Lee died and only went deeper and deeper and deeper and is still present. I would say that grief will always be with me, be a part of me. Lee was the center of my life for over twenty years, and I lived in Lee‘s personal company. Yes, I will always miss his form.

When Lee died, his friend Arnaud Desjardin said to us, “I‘m sure that this the beginning of the most beautiful part of your relationship with Lee.“ One way to understand that is to realize that sooner or later we have to withdraw our projections, and we have to take responsibility for our own being. Lee wanted us to be walking the path beside him not clinging along behind him and pulling him back, like, “Take care of me! Fix it for me! Save me!“

Lee really wanted us to be with him. He considered the two poles of the guru and devotee relationship to be equal. Not—one is higher and is the spiritual authority who has all the power. This is a wrong conception, and if the teacher is looking at it this way than there might be some problems there, because we are in it together. It doesn‘t mean that we don‘t fully respect the guru and have humility in the face of the fact that the guru has gone further than we have, and that he or she is teaching and leading and initiating us. But at the level of being, we are the same.

This is a paradox. What did we hear last night in the dharma talk? Paradox is the gift of life. But can we get big enough to hold duality and nonduality at the same time? The death of the personal Lee, and Lee being reborn into this vastness in which the guru became everything—it throws the devotee into a whole new sadhana. Right after Lee died, for the first several months, I felt like I was starting over. I was beginning a sadhana that I had never done before, and I had been intimate with him for decades! I had been on the spiritual Path since I was nineteen years old. I was involved in the spiritual Path and practices and study long before I met Lee.

But now he is no longer in the physical form. He is everything, he is not Lee Lozowick anymore—and yet there is continuity, there is great love, there is recognition at a much deeper level. And he is speaking to me through all these different appearances, including friends, nature, the weather, the next book that might appear, which catches my eye, that I‘m going to study. That book will have some, maybe one, little piece somewhere in it that will contribute to my sadhana. Somehow, he gave it to me. Do you know what I mean? That book showed up in my world, and he put my attention on it.

That‘s the guru speaking to me, because he is not talking to me face to face any more and saying, “Here, read Inner Yoga by the Baul master, Sri Anirvan.” In fact that is one of my all-time favorite books, and it is the last book that Lee gave to me before he died.

Now he is guiding me in all of these other ways. And I have to get more and more clarity and deep sensitivity and strength to cultivate this inner life and these inner sense organs. Those sense organs of the soul, we could say, can feel him and know him and recognize the “scent” of him and how he is guiding me.

So this is a big piece of work, all of that, and taking responsibility for it. It‘s a different sadhana. In the Sufi tradition, when your sheikh dies, you get another sheikh. It‘s the same in Tibetan Buddhism: if your lama dies, you get another lame to guide you.

Well, that is not the way it is in our tradition. We do not get another guru or guide. We have our lineage; we are working with the living divine influence and blessing power of our lineage which is not in the body at present. During Lee‘s lifetime, until his master died, he was really adamant on the point that you have to have a living guru to progress on the Path. Here is another paradox: that is true when that‘s what is happening for you. But when the living guru dies in the body—and he didn‘t die, he transformed; as you say, you feel him here, he is alive!—but, what is required to perceive or receive the guru’s transmission out of the body is a different sadhana.

The relationship continues. And the inner work continues with a different intensity because it‘s much more internal. Now we are no longer engaging in the wild madcap projects that Lee threw us into, whether it was writing projects or bands and music, or raising children, running publishing companies, traveling all over the world with him, starting and running ashrams, all the crazy kinds of things that we did. We are still extremely busy and working all the time here on the ashram. For me, the alchemical fire of the sadhana is still happening in here. [Touches her breast.]

Q: And are there people in the community who came after Lee left his body?

MAY: Not very many so far.

Q: Because I think that‘s a big difference between when you were with a living teacher and then he left. Because what I saw so far with disciples of teachers who are not living any more, often it seems to me like there is really something missing because there is nobody to confront you. You can think what you want about what he is telling you.

MAY: That’s true. In our case we are not doing so much of the kind of confrontation or interaction with each other, but we do give each other feedback…

Q: …the sangha is a part of the teacher.

MAY: We take refuge not only in the guru. We take refuge in guru, dharma and sangha, in the three jewels. And this is crucially important—this is what I mean about making the Path your own. You take refuge in all of that. I think that most of us, as a spiritual community, are actively taking refuge in our guru lineage.

I will speak for myself—I cannot speak for others. If we are making the path our own, and our sadhana is alive and there is a fire burning in us, then we are also taking refuge in the dharma in countless ways including through study and an ongoing deepening of our understanding. Do we really think we can read a scripture like The Bhagavad Gita one time in our life and have understood the teachings of Krishna? He instructs in the yoga of everything in there! That is just one example. And then, we are also taking refuge in the sangha.

Q: I think these three parts are a very important point. That‘s a completely other place than these people who are saying: I don‘t need a guru because the teacher is in me. It‘s so far away from what we are living.

MAY: I have a guru, and he is very alive. He is just not in his physical body.

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