Sunday, December 26, 2010

Beware of the windmill tipping Lamas!

Some Dharma teachers {be they lay or ordained} are on a mission.
That mission doesn’t involve ending the tyranny of suffering,
thereby enlightening themselves and others.

Instead, they’re on a quest to end what they perceive to be as
a ‘degeneration of the Dharma.’

The sad thing is, this is as foolish and useless a task as
Don Quixote’s crusade in the film Man of La Mancha.

Have you seen Man of La Mancha?
It’s one of my favorite films
The book is pretty good too.

Don Quixote is a man who dreams of a fairy tale past
where gallant knights in shining armor fought giants and dragons,
and rescued fair damsels in distress.

Don Quixote is so enamored of these stories that
he dons his grandfather’s rusted suit of armor,
grabs an antiquated lance and treks across the
Spanish countryside looking for giants and dragons to slay.

He doesn’t find any, of course, because there aren’t any.
However, Don Hidalgo Quixote is not concerned with the truth.
He’s fixated on the myth.

And when he comes upon a neighboring windmill,
he conveniently mistakes it for a dragon, and charges it.
And as we know, charging windmills never ends well.

“What does the story of Man from La Mancha have to do
with degeneration the Dharma?” you may ask.

Because there are teachers, for whatever reason of their own,
who have embarked on a similar quest to
rid Buddhism of teachers or teachings that they deem unworthy,
in the guise of ‘preserving the Dharma.’

Hmmmm smell of self-importance!

They, like poor Don Quixote, are lost in the myths and legends of
their own making.

They don’t see a windmill as a windmill.
They see ogres, giants and damsels in distress
when there are NONE.

And like Don Quioxte, who abandons his responsibilities to those who
depend on him, these teachers abandon their students in
a self aggrandizing desire to seek out and destroy what they
consider to be fake or unworthy Lamas.

Thus, the teacher becomes something akin to a Buddhist Joseph McCarthy or
a contemplative Kenneth Starr by putting up nonsense websites and
railing against others on his own web forums.

It’s especially sad whenever those who are in the position of teaching
forget one of the core tenants that the Buddha himself taught.

What is that one tenant?

There is only ONE criteria for determining whether or not a teacher or a teaching is
worthy of reliance… it’s effectiveness.

In other words:

#1 suspend judgment and give a teacher the benefit of the doubt

#2 receive his teachings

#3 apply his teachings twice a day, every day, for no less then 6 consecutive days

#4 and THEN ask yourself, “Have I grown, stagnated or degenerated?”

Not only did Buddha state that the effects of teachings were the ONLY test of a teacher,
BUT he insisted that logic, intuition, fame, reputation, prestige and convention
{such as resume, credentials and letters of recommendation}
would only lead you astray.

Gentle beings, if a crusader wearing rusted armor,
and carrying a crooked lance knocks on your door,
under the misguided idea that you need salvation,
yet knows so little of Buddha’s teachings that he
{in the name of protecting the teachings}
ignores the teachings,
then he is just another Don Quixote wannabe and for the sake of yourself and others,
you should run, not walk to the nearest exit.

May these words benefit you and all beings.

Om Mani Padme Hum

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