Really Tiny, Really Old Tibetan Ladies- Rock!

Today I tell you a true story about two tiny little, skinny old Tibetan ladies dressed in their best clothes standing in a crowd waiting for his Holiness the Dalai Lama to pass by in his automobile. They arrived late and found themselves standing all the way at the back of the crowd with all of these nice tall people like you guys standing in front of them. Everyone is looking up the street waiting for the car to arrive except the old ladies. They can’t see what’s happening because they’re only maybe 4’10,” very tiny.

Their desire to see His Holiness must have been fueled by their concern that they we so old this might be the last (or only) time to see him. However, Tibetan people are not aggressive, or we can say not in holy situation by shouting, “Let me through, let me through.” Most of the people were Indians or Western people so shouting at them in Tibetan would not have worked anyway.

So, what these two old Tibetan ladies did was just lean gently on the person at the very back, almost imperceptibly. They just leaned, and leaned on them, and suddenly that person lost their footing and as they did, the ladies scooted in front of them. Then they began to lean on the next person in front of that, and it didn’t take them very long before they were at the front of the line and able to see perfectly.

Like that, when we are working on something as profound as developing deep wisdom ability, we don’t torque the mind, twist it or torture the mind. This come very common, torturing the mind, running this way and that way to think of something that is unthinkable. We lean gently on the mind! Over a great length of time we lean!

When we are working on developing deep wisdom, the mind needs a level of pleasure, a level of pleasurable associated with understanding and developing inner experience. This come very important - the unadorned nature of the dharmakaya vision is beyond words and beyond thought. However, should we dash back and forth to try and not think of anything in a rough way, so that you can think of that, which you can’t think of, it could destroy or damage the very sensitive inner mind that is the one being trained to participate in the most glorious practice. Your mind is a delicate instrument, like an electron microscope. Scientists are very careful with their electron microscopes as the very tools they need for their work.

Books and other written materials on emptiness are very available in the West– much more than in Tibet. These texts, translated into western languages and commentaries by psychologists and western trained philosophers increase in numbers more every day. These abstract principles of emptiness, Dharmakaya sphere and wisdom truth body, are very stimulating and many deeply resonate with them. In practical application of reaching and owning the knowledge it seems to some that the only way that you can get at the abstraction is to run away from your own mind, and the sooner you do that, the sooner you’ll gain enlightenment. Like this? Not at all.


  1. This is a perfect metaphor for the actual experience of inner learning of the Dharma and wisdom. The outer methods of learning train the mind to make gross movements, to poke and prod itself, to be forceful. These methods are not only useless, but damaging to inner learning. It can take many errors and missteps to unlearn these methods and find the more subtle methods of leaning and slight movements in mind that naturally attracts wisdom to it. Thank you for these words.


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