entrusting/Green Tara

I noticed this comment by Roy, from Return to the Center;

It would be very helpful to me to hear more about entrusting. I react with worry to this encouragement. I think “entrust myself to what? How do I know if I am entrusting myself to my own delusion?” and things like that.

Actually, I had a very similar feeling after reading No River to Cross. I asked Chong Go Seunim at Saturday Sangha one day how to know if it’s truly intuition or your desires that you are following. His answer was to ask deep within and listen to what your true feeling is. Usually we know if we’re doing the right thing or not, we just don’t always listen to ourselves.

My wife and I decided that we would get married only three weeks after we first met. It sounds crazy even to us when we think about it now, but at the time, we just knew. I’d never had a relationship that I didn’t drive myself half crazy asking if it was right (because deep down I knew that it wasn’t, I just didn’t listen) but when I met my wife there was never any doubt. Three weeks isn’t long, but I looked as deep down as I could in that amount of time and didn’t hear anything but “Yes!” It’s only been a couple of years, and I can’t pretend to know what the future holds, but just trusting that everything will be okay, even if it doesn’t work out as planned, makes it seem okay. If there’s ever a time that things just can’t be worked out, I trust that I can find the strength to pack up (within) and become a monk!! ^ ^

Also, I wonder whether or not entrusting yourself is very separate from some devotional forms of Buddhism. Personally, I see the Amitas, Gwan Sae Eums, Taras, or which ever you prefer, as manifestations or projections of expressions that are also within yourself.  Honestly, it’s not a topic that I’ve given a great deal of thought to, my practice is decidedly not very devotional, but I’m sure Chong Go Seunim or Marcus will be willing to add something to that (and it doesn’t have to be in accord!).

I am reminded, though, of taking a night bus from Kathmandu to Lumbini. I usually travel entrusting that nothing bad is going to happen to me, but even the locals kept worrying we about the risks of traveling on the night buses. One of the shop keepers, from whom I’d bought a number of castings, gave me a small Green Tara amulet to hold on the ride. He reminded me of her mantra, said to remove fear, and then told me not to worry, even the daytime buses tend to get hijacked in Nepal…

A little short of reassuring, it still made me realize there was no point in worrying.  On the bus, however, my nerves were shaky. I clenched the Green Tara amulet in my left hand and my mala in my right hand and repeated the mantra until I lost count of how many times I’d thumbed through the 108 beads. I visualized Tara above me, shinning her light down. I visualized the green light hitting my forehead, spreading out to the others sitting around me, the others in the bus, and everyone else traveling on the road that night.

At one point, I opened my eyes to see the entire bus bathed in green light. I noticed a green plastic cover over the light at the front of the bus. I had to giggle to myself as my mind toyed with possibilities.

What I realized later about the mantra is that it doesn’t necessarily protect you from what you fear but more from the feeling of fear itself. It might be a stretch, but maybe what it’s doing is actually giving you the trust within yourself that everything will be okay.

9 thoughts on “entrusting/Green Tara”

  1. Even after reading “No River To Cross” I have some questions about entrusting – so I don’t want to pretend that I understand Kun Sunim’s teaching on this point.

    But, in my own experience, entrusting differs considerably from devotion. Devotion, to me, has a kind of “blind faith” aspect to it – a belief that things will work out. This is problematical for several reasons, not least of which is that beliefs often lead us into the alleyway of suffering.

    My sense of entrusting is that it’s a kind of investigation of mind – diving really deeply into how “things is” (to use Suzuki Roshi’s curious phrase) and uncovering everything in the moment. In this case, entrusting becomes a kind of by-product to the revelation of how “things is.”

    Again, this is probably not what Kun Sunim has in mind and I look forward to clarification from Chong Go Sunim, Marcus, or anyone else .

  2. Thank you Barry,
    I pretty much feel the same way about devotional practice, which is why I struggled when I started to learn more about the practices I’d first learned, but before I discovered other paths, I got the sense that any Buddha or Bodhisattva that I invoked was actually representing an aspect of myself.

    From that point on was it no longer devotional? Is it possible for the two to meet somewhere?

    Really, it’s not an issue in my own practice, but it’s come up recently in a conversation with someone else, who I’m sure will have something to add, later! I thought maybe I’d throw in the idea and see what comes of it…

  3. ‘entrust myself to what?’

    what about to ‘see things as they truly are’ ?

    aren’t we always looking for that ultimate piece of security that we can rely on – definitely? (that’s the point we become rather devotional – hoping and looking around for somebody to help us)
    your wonderful example might be the answer itself: ‘when I met my wife there was never any doubt’ – so, it seems she’s your dakini, Joseph! together you are complete, wisdom and action, inspiring each other on the path of Buddha-dharma. that’s what I feel about you both;
    ‘and I can’t pretend to know what the future holds’, is your little doubt nevertheless…^^
    and then you go on, ‘but just trusting that everything will be okay, even if it doesn’t work out as planned, makes it seem okay’ – right!!! we’re livin’ and lovin’ here and now…
    be happy and make others happy; that’s what we can work on. even when we ‘see things as they truly are’: changing.
    and maybe that’s the moment when our devotion changes or ‘transforms’ into entrusting, how would you like this?
    be sure to never be sure, relax

    1. Hi Evelyn~
      Thanks for catching that little contradiction… ^^
      What I was thinking about was, what about the people whose lives go terribly wrong?
      It’s easy to say, yeah, I trusted within and everything is great! But will that always be the case? I hope so!!!!! LOL

      I keep thinking about the quote from Rumi:

      Trust in God [insert->Inherent Nature], but tie up your camel!

  4. Hi Joseph,
    I’ll go ahead and put up a separate post about this topic.
    We all, too, were amazed at how fast your relationship developed. It seemed a little worrying, but you both seemed really settled and at peace about it.
    “Don’t worry, even the daytime buses get hijacked.” LOL! Um…, how is this supposed to make me feel better…? Probably not as reassuring as he’d intended!

  5. Hi Sunim,

    I look forward to your post on entrusting. I’m not certain at all about how to discern entrusting to my foundation / Buddha-nature from entrusting to my ego-driven storyline. Trust me on this – I have a very convincing storyline…

    I’ve had the same questions about Quaker practice and Centering Prayer (in the Catholic tradition).

  6. Hi Joseph,

    that’s really a great quote ^^

    at another place Marcus ‘shortened’ the Samadhi Treatise to the ‘do’s’:
    1. Let your suffering become medicine.

    Perhaps we all needed a wonderful little reminder like Amy has one, to bring us back to the point as quickly as possible, not wasting energy in things we can’t change anyway.
    Last year our evangelic pastor had been ill and me too at the same time, but she had even to undergo surgery. when we later met again i told her i had observed quite a gap between my spirituel theorie and praxis ^^ just in that time i’d needed it most to practise NGalSo i had been to weak to do, i could only think on it. and she said, that’s not so bad, i could only think – God, where are you?

  7. Hi,

    Thank you Joseph for such a great post, and to everyone here for the wonderful conversation! I see that Chong Go Sunim has already addressed most of this in his latest post but I’m sure that this fascinating conversation will, and deserves to, run and run!

    But, you know, I think of lot of it is right there in that first paragraph of yours: “Usually we know if we’re doing the right thing or not, we just don’t always listen to ourselves.” So true!

    With palms together,


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