Limping Onto The Buddhist Path
To Begin and Why To Begin
Some vajra brothers and sisters, bodhisattvas leading the way for me, have said that it might be useful for them if I begin to write about how I came to be devoted to the path of Vajrayana Buddhism (also known as Tantrayana, Mantrayana, and, generally, Tibetan Buddhism).
In the past, I’ve generally refused to write directly about Buddha Dharma and the practices I engage with along this path. Although I’ve practiced Buddhism in one form or another since 1973 and committed myself to the Vajrayana path in 1994, I’ve only taken a few shaky steps, so I’m still beginning.
But, despite the fact that the three poisons blaze in me like a spectrograph of delusion, the Rigdzin, Lama Yeshe Jinpa, spiritual director of Do Nga Dargey Temple, Lion’s Roar Dharma Center in Sacramento, California, has encouraged me to roar the Lion’s Roar of Dharma, and so I begin here as an aging lion cub with a lion’s meow.
Solely My Responsibility
Any insight or knowledge expressed on this website is entirely due to the blessings of my teachers, especially to the great vidyadharas who have formally accepted me as their students: my current teacher, the embodied Buddha and exalted lineage holder, Lama Yeshe Jinpa; the great scholar and repository of the teachings of Lord Buddha, Khenpo Gyurmed Trinly; and the unsurpassable Dzogchen master, the Lord of the Dance, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. Any errors or delusions that appear on this website are entirely my own. No lama, much less any of my exalted gurus, has participated in, edited, or reviewed any work on this website unless specifically stated in a colophon and introduction to that specific work.
Though my intention begins with a wish to benefit all beings by helping all of us to achieve complete enlightenment, my intention is often as fragile as my commitment to practice. To be honest, though I generate and sincerely follow such an exalted intention as bodhicitta, this practice of writing begins with benefiting myself. I write publicly, at least in part, in order to be finished with my personal story, which is a burden that I must lay down in order to free myself from endless suffering of saṃsāra – and leaping free of samsara is the only means by which I can help anyone else leap free.
Additionally, I write along these lines to shatter the self-imposed divisions among poet, webmaster, and Dharma practitioner. One persona is already one too many. Three personae is a manifestation of pure delusion.
If, by writing and posting these stories and thoughts I can entertain you, bring even some small relief to your suffering, or help you progress along your path to enlightenment, so much the better — in that case, all of my intentions would be fulfilled. Though I have practiced writing poetry since before 1965 and Buddhism since 1973,
Here I shall say nothing that has not been said before,
And in the art of prosody I have no skill.
I therefore have no thought that this might be of benefit to others;
I wrote it only to habituate my mind.
My faith will thus be strengthened for a little while,
That I might grow accustomed to this virtuous way.
But others who now chance upon my words
May profit also, equal to myself in fortune.
Ultimately, since my life, what brought me to the path, and the path itself are of a single piece, this will become an autobiography. I haven’t accomplished much, either in terms of Dharma or in any other field. But I have met many interesting people and dabbled in a fair number of things. So I hope that you will be entertained even though I’m not a leader in anything. I will do my best to be honest, though if I’m lying to myself I probably won’t know that I’m being dishonest. And I won’t be — overall — linear, starting with my birth and progressing through all of usual stuff in chronological order. The aim is to create a complete work, but I’m putting it before you as I write it without official sanction from anybody. So my birth might come last, as it does every time the 12 links of dependent origination make a full turn. But it might even wind up at the beginning anyway.
Final Warning and Last Caveat
I must warn you once again, in case you thought I was pretending to be humble. I am not humble and I am not enlightened: far from it. Even though I have had every opportunity and advantage – opportunities that I never even fantasized as remotely possible 30 years ago, delusion overwhelms me, attachment petrifies me, and anger burns me to ashes. To make matters even worse, I’m lazy.
This is probably the only time I will say so on this website. Take what I write with a grain of salt, unless you have hypertension, in which case take it with a drop of olive oil. Test it before you accept it. Even better, find a qualified teacher and ask her or him whether what you’ve read is accurate and true.
This website is dedicated to your enlightenment, my enlightenment, and the enlightenment of all beings. If you have read this far, may you be completely free from suffering right now. If you didn’t read this far, may you be completely free from suffering right now.
Dirk Johnson, Sacramento, California, the 16th day of the Third Month of the Earth Dog Year, 2145 (April 30, 2018 c.e.), one day after a Black Garuda Retreat at Lotus Ranch with Lama Yeshe Jinpa