Special, ordinary, noble


Gakyil courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Much suffering and confusion comes from the idea that people could be either ordinary or special. This is a mistake. No one can be either one—no matter how hard we try.

The belief that we must be either ordinary or special obscures the reality of what we are, and the reality of what we can become.

In Buddhism, attempts to be religiously ordinary or religiously special can both be major obstacles. Neither one is possible, necessary, or desirable. Once we understand that, another, better possibility appears. That third alternative might be called nobility, or heroism. According to Vajrayana, this is an aspect of enlightenment.

Because we believe other people must be ordinary or special, we misunderstand them, too. We can only properly relate to a teacher of the higher Buddhist yanas if we understand that they are neither special nor ordinary.

What I have to say in this section is not an Aro teaching particularly. I think it’s implicit in all Vajrayana lineages, but you should be warned that I don’t know of a specific scriptural source. It may be inaccurate.