BUT CLEAN ROLE MODELS WERE NEVER THAT USEFUL FOR ME. My models were the people who stepped outside of conventional thought and who could actually stop my mind and completely open it up and free it – even if for a moment – from the conventional, habitual way of looking at things.

TO LOOK FORSAFETY” IN A ROLE MODEL, someone that will never hurt you and always confirm you — is very dubious. If you are really preparing for groundlessness, preparing for the reality of human existence, you are living on the razor’s edge, and you must become used to the fact that things shift and change. Things are not certain and they do not last and you do not know what is going to happen.

MY TEACHERS HAVE ALWAYS PUSHED ME OVER THE CLIFF, and that is what has awakened my compassion for what human beings are up against. I am afraid that because of where we come from as Westerners, with our Judeo-Christian heritage, that if you get too focused on doctrine, on codifying, or ethics as a major emphasis, it just turns into harsh judgment. And then there is no genuine compassion.

Pema Chödrön, via Lama Marut

11 July 2012, 14:12