A couple weeks ago RO and I were chatting on the phone and I was babbling about something Tibetan, I think it was the way method that Tibetan lamas stopped the Sharmapa from reincarnating for 200 years, and he asked me a good question:
“So Jason, you are always referencing your Tibetan training, are you ever going to be a Rinpoche or what?”
The answer of course is no.
Ten years ago when I moved to Nepal, that was the plan. Learn Tibetan, do lots of retreats, eventually become a Lotsawa Lama (translator/teacher) like my mentor John Reynolds. By the time I moved back to the states, that was no longer the plan.
There were a lot of reasons for the switch, but they all boil down to 2 main realizations that I had while meditating and practicing in Nepal.
1. While I love the tibetan system or rituals and yogas, there is an integral part of my spirit that calls for me to be creative in these arenas. It is not enough just to take the medicine, I feel called to be a doctor, explorer, and inventor. I believe that magic and spirituality need to evolve over time and be relevant to the world that they operate in. Furthermore I believe that the world will keep producing new metaphors to deepen our understanding of magic*. Even if I wind up not achieving Rainbow Body, or even getting the same level of realization as I would if I stuck within the established system, I want, no I need, to be someone that pushes the envelope. besides, I believe that creativity itself is a force in magic.
2. Beyond my personal calling to creativity is my commitment to be of benefit to entient beings. Very simply I can do more good as an independent magical and spiritual teacher than I can as a Buddhist teacher. There is no shortage anymore of western Lamas and Lotsawas. Furthermore to go that route would have taken an enormous amount of money and pretty much insured a life of poverty**. On the other hand, if I took what I had learned and applied it to a new, non-buddhist specific mode of work, I could be of benefit to the people that life had already brought me into contact with – the western occult traditions.
* Things like computers are giving us the metaphors to push the envelope with how we think about magic and psychic potential. The akashic record for instance is much better interpretted and worked with today than it was 100 years ago because of these metaphors.
** In the NZK Sangha we used to have a saying: “Welcome to the Vajrayana, may we have your credit card number please…”. Seriously, the lifestyle can get expensive. most Dharma freaks – including translators and western lamas that are working within a mainstream lineage – are either trust fund/inheritance babies, or don’t have a pot to piss in. Sometimes both.