Intimacy as the basis for Compassion [TSK Ex 25]

‘You are me in another time.’ Barry Long

TSK does not directly teach the practice of love or compassion toward others. However, once the narrowness of the positions we hold drops away, we find that we interact more easily with others, and out of this openness love and compassion emerge as natural responses. As we grow more familiar with the vision, we realize that we all share the same space, are related in time, and speak a shared language that embodies knowledge. Any basis for discrimination between self and others falls away. 

Dynamics of Time and Space, Preface, page xx

 For each object encountered or referred to, note it and embrace it in its immediate givenness as being part of ‘you’.

 Extract: TSK Ex 25, Intimacy

 Years ago John de Ruiter spoke of true compassion as being the unreserved willingness to change places with another immured in darkness and degradation and hopelessness – forever. This reminded me of the ancient practice of ‘exchanging self for others’ (Tonglen). [Someone once asked Kalu Rinpoche, ‘But what if I start to become ill doing this?’ ‘Well, then, it shows the practise is working doesn’t it? He replied.] Although this may not be the whole story, it certainly turns some of our usual assumptions about what constitutes success, in a spiritual sense, on their head.

Then there’s the story of the Buddha in a previous life who cut off his arm to feed a hungry tigress. I was profoundly moved when I first heard this, and deeply saddened by my recognised inability to emulate The Victorious One, until a friend pointed out that the Buddha by that stage of his evolution actually didn’t experience his physical body as I do mine. It seems to me that all of these stories relate to intimacy and also to Time.

Sitting in a train last week, I was practising TSK 25 when a dapper Indian gentleman entered the carriage and took a seat diagonally opposite me. He was blind, carrying a white stick, wearing dark glasses and impeccably dressed. How wonderful it would be, the thought arose, if TSK was available in Braille and in Talking Books. Could we start a fund for this? Could CCI instigate a series of ‘charitable endeavors’ which pertain to and spring from our recognition of the value of TSK in the world?

A new project is to search the term ‘intimacy’ throughout all the books. So, like so many of these posts, this continues to be ongoing work in progress.


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