by Jennifer Fox
The Buddha tells a story about a man who approaches a monk and asks him to explain the dharma. The monk does so in in great depth and detail. The man promptly storms off complaining that the discourse was much too long. The next day, the man returns and asks another monk to explain the dharma. Knowing full well what had happend, the second monk gives a brief, pithy account whereupon the man leaves angrily declaring that the talk was too short to be useful. I think that he returns for a third teaching but is unhappy with it too. The Buddha comments that there is no pleasing some people. Essentially, do your best and then let go.
Last night I watched a sweet-sad documentary called My Reincarnation. It was about the renowned Tibetan lama Namkhai Norbu and his son. It traces their lives forward, with footage from various periods reaching back from the eighties, up until present time. So much of the lama’s story is about trying to meet the needs of his dharma students in Italy, and all over the world. Now the son is feeling the same pressure to meet the community’s needs, being a tulku or reincarnate lama himself. He resists. The story unfolds honestly from here. Can he be himself with his desire for a normal family while meeting the hopes and aspirations of his father and dharma community? Can he make his best effort and then let go?