Daily Wisdom / Tibetan Dharma

Absence of Arrogance

Book coverThe second quality of devotion is absence of arrogance. The arrogant approach is to be so passionately involved with our teacher that we become devotional chauvinists and cease to see the rest of the world properly. In fact, we become passionately involved with our own arrogance. We indulge our “devotion” by collecting information, techniques, stories, little words of wisdom—all to confirm our chauvinistic view. It actually reaches a point that the teacher upon whom our arrogance is based himself becomes a threat. The absurdity is that we even end up wanting to use our collection of ammunition against our teacher when he begins giving our “devotion” a hard time.

If our devotion is without arrogance there is not this resentment toward the world or the guru. Absence of such arrogance is absolutely necessary. When courting a teacher, students frequently make a sort of detailed application, listing all their insights and spiritual credentials. That is too arrogant; it is phony, out of the question altogether. It is fine to offer our particular skills or neuroses to the guru as a gift or an opening gesture. But if we begin to dress up our neuroses as virtues, like a person writing a resumé, that is unacceptable. Devotion without arrogance demands that we stop clinging to our particular case history, that we relate to the teacher and to the world in a naked and direct way, without hiding behind credentials.

From The Heart of the Buddha: Entering the Tibetan Buddhist Path by Chögyam Trungpa, page 50

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