autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

The secret friend, hidden bodhisattva

The secret friend, hidden Bodhisattva, is the one who, from all appearances, is nothing but trouble and unrest; often belligerent, many times intrusive, sometimes passively aggressive, ever frustrating, but always, always, the “bringer” of disruption and distractions.

In the Buddhist tradition, they are considered the most precious and valuable presence in one’s life. Any appearance is a gift, a chance to learn important lessons on the path.

The lessons of the hidden Bodhisattva are cloaked in the afflictive emotions – ignorance, hatred, and desire. The western mind balks at two of them, apologists and elitists alike willing to pardon ignorance and mistake it for stupidity, content to cast desire into a plethora of more palatable guises and give to it everything from homage to devotion, while the gap between desire and its attainment is made over into an almost gleeful, cannibalistic feast of heart and mind.

The hidden Bodhisattva brings home the truth of suffering that rests in the core of these three poisons: Ignorance which causes repeated mistakes that squander and spend precious life to muddle through, Hatred, which embitters any trace of delight and turns the most delectable of moments rancid, and Desire, which, in every moment of being unmet or unfulfilled, increases unhappiness.

With the appearance of unknowing precision, the things which most frustrate, annoy, anger, wound, or impede are laid like treasure at one’s feet and the silent question, posed over and over again — Will it be seen, understood, and overcome?

Buddhist tradition asserts that all instances of negativity are self-inflicted, that any appearance of conflict is a reflection of inner impediments yet unresolved. It is somewhat difficult to explain to a solidly western mindset, but the visceral sense of meaning is delivered, even if usually denied.

It is not the person who cut one off in traffic who is the asshole, it is the part of one that thinks, feels, and believes that one’s interests and wishes should never find resistance or impediment that is so.

It is not the person who behaved or spoke thoughtlessly who hurt one, it is the part of one that held the expectation that all things of that person should conform to one’s needs and wants that created the circumstances by which the hurt could be born.

If one has no expectation, no sense of the entitlement, no part of oneself that puffs up and demands it be somehow superior, considered first, consulted and coddled, these things would be impossible to feel.

Not that I am in any way remotely approaching Nirvana anytime soon, mind you. All the same, it is helpful on occasion to remind myself of these things, because the intellectual process of cognition is a step upon the path to embrace, which is, in turn, a step toward assimilation, which, perhaps, will someday lead to the moment in which I can stop being so wrapped up in “my” wants, “my” needs, and “my” thoughts and, instead, do some service or part in making the world a better place by not insisting it pay even a shred of attention to “me”.

The point of this piece being mostly to put this reminder in the front of my head, to render recent experiences into softer and more soothing shapes with which to assuage my heart, and to do what I can manage to credit and honor the secret friend, the hidden Bodhisattva, who has most recently given me cause to remember any of this.

Namaste, my secret friend, I do remember, and for it, I thank you.