Through a Jungian Lens

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Tibetan Buddhism – Part 2

with 2 comments

 Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche and Rigdzin Khandro

Thinley Rinpoche, Rigdzin Khandro & Sangha

I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew in taking on this project. In all honesty, I seriously question whether anything I could say would have validity because of my lack of experience in the teachings, the dharma, of Buddhism. However, following the response of my direct spiritual guide, my dharma teacher, I have decided to venture further into these deep waters. Behind my dharma teacher, the spiritual head of  the sangha who is Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche, has suggested that I use a different text as my base. My first reaction was of pride that my first post generated  interest on his part; but that pride was very quickly replaced by fear as I didn’t know anything about the suggested text. A quick web search resulted in a found translation of the text. After skimming through the first few parts of the text, anger put in an appearance (of course that has more to do with fear than anything else) and I was ready to dump the idea of following the suggestion by Lama Karma ThinleyRinpoche. I knew I would feel more comfortable with my original choice with additions from the writings of Chögyam Trungpa, Pema Chödrön and Khenpo Karthar. I resolved that I would do it my way, after all, this is my blog site.

Then I took time out to meditate.

I know that I need to step back and look at the energy that arose – doubt, pride, fear and anger – to let the energy dissipate. What I found was no surprise, a complex had been activated. I have an irrational resistance to authority which has its roots in my early childhood relationship with my father. That relationship helped forge an internal response that could best be called a father-complex. Realising that my irrational responses to  Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche’s suggested use of foundational text were just that, irrational, I now could re-approach the suggestion with an open mind and heart.

Shantideva's Bodhicharyavatara.

Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara.

I have a long history with my father-complex. When I first considered entering into psychoanalysis with male analyst as my guide and mentor, I had met with this same inner demon. That initial meeting unleashed the same negative energy that had emerged with Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche’s suggestion. My response in the heat of the moment was to decide that this wasn’t going to work out. I abandoned that effort for ten months. I wasn’t ready to confront the complex. In the end, I returned again to this same analyst and we began a serious and nurturing relationship that allowed me to deal with the illusions created within my mind. I knew that I could only grow through the development of trust in my guide. This is the same realisation that came to me after almost a full day of inner turmoil. I could only grow through trust in my spiritual guide. And so I looked again at the suggested text: Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara.

Now, to begin again. I want to look at the idea of authority and how no matter what we believe or think, there is a lineage behind our beliefs and thoughts. I am a Jungian. There is a line-up of individuals who have contributed to my Jungian way of understanding the world. At first there was a stranger on the street I met while walking who pointed me a book that he said I needed to read before he continued on his walk down the street. I had never seen this man before and found it strange that he stopped me and made his pronouncement and then quickly disappeared. Yet, I went in search of that book and discovered the world of philosophy and psychology. I was a teenager at the time. That initial contact lead me to years of reading and studying. As I read and studied I noted those “ah-ha” moments when ideas resonated, the thoughts that “I already knew this.” Somewhere deep within the essence of who I am was a hidden knowledge that was being awakened. The awakened knowledge led me Carl Gustav Jung’s books. The books led me to search for an analyst who had been trained in Zurich at the Jung Institute by those who had been trained by others who had been trained by Jung. Of course there are antecedents that fill in a deeper lineage. But the realisation of lineage and the trail that leads to awareness became obvious to me. So it was natural to see how this idea applied to my experiences with Buddhism.

I am a Buddhist. My dharma teacher is Rigdzin Khandro. Behind her is her spiritual guide, who in essence is also my spiritual guide whether I consciously know this or not, is Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche. The trail behind him through the Kagyu lineage that began in Tibet with  Marpa Chökyi Lodrö a thousand years ago. The lineage behind Marpa Chökyi Lodrö extends back into India all the way to the man we call the Buddha.

It was the realisation that nothing I can say actually has its origin within me, but that it was through the grace of those who came before me and have somehow touched me directly or indirectly that has taken the heat and energy out of my father-complex thus allowing me to listen and learn and give back to you who will read these words.


2 Responses

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  1. Dear Robert,
    Thank you for this Post.
    Great to read that you achieved more consciousness on your father complex.
    Greater still is your explanation in what (strange) manner you became conscious.
    Far more greater is the discovery of the never ending “help” that is always presented and available for us, if we only could become aware – “see”.
    I hope that you will encounter more of these Great Experiences to share with us.

    Opa Bear

    January 11, 2013 at 3:06 am

    • The post has also generated some response from the Buddhist community that is a bit unfavourable. There are fundamentalists everywhere who would rather not see anything other than the numinous experience of classical Buddhism – no challenge, no agitated approached, even should the agitation validate. Oh well, c’est la vie, n’est-ce pas?


      January 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm

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