This talk focuses on the lojong commitment “Don’t Rely On Consistency”, which emphasizes how social norms put pressure on individuals to conform, even when such conformity violates the Buddhist principle of benevolent intention. One example would be the pressure to conform with materialistic drives regarding the upcoming holiday season–the perfect party, the perfect gift, etc. Another example is the conformity of ethnic prejudice, that is, the culturally conditioned feeling of aversion around someone who looks Muslim.
The discussion also focused on the struggle of individuals to conform to their own conditioned expectations of themselves, and the frustration experienced when one doesn’t meet a standard of performance.
During the discussions, Peter repeatedly referred back to aphorisms discussed in prior meetings, such as being a “child of illusion” and the importance of daily meditation practice to build the capacity to be mindful and nonreactive to cultural pressures that conflict with benevolent intention.
Here are the notes for this discussion: Working With Unpredictability