I have spent all of my adult life trying to deepen my understanding of the Dharma. This has led me into being a facilitator of others, making their explorations, following their path, which is never identical to my own. In fact, in the phenomenal world, nothing is ever identical to anything. No two stones in a wall are the same, no two blades of grass, no two flames in a fire.
So, there is a kind of question that arises: How can one person on their, in a sense, solitary and certainly unique, path be a facilitator for another? There has to be some communication, some understanding, some kind of empathic entering into the other person’s world, and this is by no means an easy thing.
The other person is always a mystery and much of that mystery is hidden in the past and the future. So even what appears in the present is not the whole story. The person is on, what in Buddhism we call ‘a karmic trajectory.’
The Buddha saw people rising and falling according to their deeds and, we can say, according to their intentions. But these intentions, even, are not wholly conscious even to the person themselves. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to see them in somebody else than to see them in oneself.
Buddhism has elaborate and sophisticated theories of psychology of the mind, of how the mind functions, of how samskaras build and how these condition the way that a person perceives.
As the facilitator, you try and get some sense of how this is working for the other person, what it is that is driving them, empowering them, inspiring them, defeating them - because all these things are always going on - and then, of course, the same thing is going on for yourself at the same time. And some kind of process of resonance occurs when you open up to another person, when you listen deeply. Buddha is always portrayed with very large ears.
When you listen deeply and fully to another person, then you start to resonate with their life, with their meanings, with their rhythm, their trajectory, you fall into the pattern of rhyme in their life.
So being a facilitator is substantially about arriving at a deep appreciation of the other in his or her otherness. It’s not a matter of imposing some kind of orthodoxy or prior schema upon the other person. You might have such schemas. Sometimes they might be helpful. But more important is to deeply understand what is beating in the heart of the other and to get close enough to that to let it beat in one’s own heart.
This resonance between one heart and another, this is the Dharma. So it is not just a matter of one person helping another person who is not so far along. Each is helping the other when such a resonance occurs. When there is such heart-to-heart meeting then this is the manifestation of the Dharma in the world.
Namo Amida Bu
Thank you very much