Gypsy Gossip and Other Advice by Thinley Norbu
By Thinley Norbu
Younger practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism from Asian and Western cultures have related questions and matters, akin to the conflicts among conventional values and the effect of recent materialism. In 4 considerate commentaries, Thinley Norbu addresses contrasting cultural views on issues starting from daily perform to esoteric Buddhist philosophy.
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I ask them to reflect on what’s necessary and what isn’t, and to dispose of the garbage. Of course, we don’t have to wait until it’s New Year to take out the trash. Why not do it now, and start again? We should check our inventory and give it away. Clean up our house and clean up our life. What should we dispense with? Well, there’s an important distinction that we can make:What do we absolutely need and what do we only desire? If we look at what we have with such a distinction in mind, we’ll be amazed at just how little we need to live with.
When we need more, no matter how rich we are, we’re always poor. When we need less, no matter how poor we are, we’re always rich. The hungrier we are for stuff, the more stuff we need; and when we’re self-contented, then we can lose everything and still feel we have enough. Now, we should be careful not to glamorize poverty. There is, of course, genuine need and desperation in many places around the world. However, beyond the basic necessities of life, and the ability to fulfill our potential and maintain positive relationships with our family, neighbors, and community, our attitude to material things becomes a matter of perspective and our sense of who we are as individuals.
Conversely, someone may feel poor even though they have many possessions simply because they don’t have as much as some other people. When we need more, no matter how rich we are, we’re always poor. When we need less, no matter how poor we are, we’re always rich. The hungrier we are for stuff, the more stuff we need; and when we’re self-contented, then we can lose everything and still feel we have enough. Now, we should be careful not to glamorize poverty. There is, of course, genuine need and desperation in many places around the world.