Recently, Betsy and I attended a 3-day Pema Chodron conference at Meany Hall in Seattle. Her teaching was on 'The Way of the Bodhisattva' by Shantideva. The chapter she taught was on Patience.
The primary focus was realizing the value of 'troublemakers'. She explained that troublemakers are our gurus who show us that we still have alot of work to do. With each opportunity to practice patience, we can either get more worked up or we could be led to enlightenment. As long as we are provokable, we have work to do.
There is no opportunity to have patience until we are forced to choose it by the troublemakers. The dilemma of the Boddisattva is, the more we practice, we become more flexible and more open, and we perceive fewer and fewer people as troublemakers, so we have fewer and fewer opportunities to learn patience.
A question; does our Patience, benefit the other who still holds Malice, Ani Pema answers yes, she calls it Gandhi-logic and or Martin Luther King-logic, because our patience, gives the other 'space'. Buddhas and sentient beings are equally venerable. They are not equal in mind, not-confused vs. confused, but they are equal because of the opportunity to learn patience from both. Buddha nature resides in us all. We all have the potential for 'unfettered mind', 'non-fixed mind'.
The idea is to poke a hole in our neurosis, Pema Chodron said, "I can do it for only a moment, Buddha's do it for 24 hours a day"... "Every day we can wake up a little bit more."
Happy Summer, Bo