Imagine that you are an avid poker player. You hang out with a circle of people who enjoy playing poker, a circle that extends not only through your home town but to other towns within easy driving distance. One night you are playing with a group of friends and the dealer drops the cards. Everyone helps pick them up and the dealer deals the next hand. You end up with really good cards. The betting begins, and it's quite exciting. The stakes rise. It's by far the biggest pot of the night, but you are confident in your cards. When the dust settles, you are the winner. Big winnings! And then someone at the table says, "You cheated. When the cards were dropped, you picked up a couple of good cards and that's why you had such a good hand."
The silence around the table is deafening. You start to protest, but before you can do so, another person says, "Let's check the deck." The deck is found to be two cards short, and then two cards are found on floor near your chair.
Nobody says anything. They just look at you and quietly leave. You know you didn't cheat, but what can you do?
The next day, your Twitter account and Facebook page are filled with postings about the card game and what happened. Your friends won't speak with you and your colleagues keep their distance. Your relationship with your circle of friends has changed dramatically. Yet moving away isn't an option for you.
What does mahayana mind training have to say about this situation?
In Mind Training in Seven Points, it says, "Make adversity the path of awakening" and "Don't make practice a sham."
In Mind Training in Eight Verses:
When scorn and insult become my lot,
Expressions of some jealousy,
I alone accept defeat
And award the other victory.
In The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva:
Even if someone broadcasts to the whole universe
Slanderous and ugly rumors about you,
In return, with an open and caring heart,
Praise his or her abilities -- this is the practice of a bodhisattva.
In all these instructions, you are encouraged to work with taking and sending, taking in the pain of being falsely accused from others and sending your own good fortune, happiness and well being to them.
Obviously, the practice of taking and sending is not going to help restore your reputation among the poker players or how your friends and colleagues see you. There may be a way to change all that, but that is not the purpose of taking and sending practice.
Reputations and how you are regarded by others are strange beasts. You don't own your reputation. Most people think they do, but the reality is different. Your reputation is the accumulation of what other people think about what they think you have done or said. In other words, your reputation consists of other people's projections. You don't own that and you don't control it. You can influence it, but only up to a point. We see this clearly in the lives of politicians.
The questions I would like you to consider are:
What is the purpose of the practice of mind training in such situations? It doesn't help directly with the situation of your relationship with your friends and colleagues. What does it do? What does it do for your social relationships? How does that sit with you?