Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Becoming a spiritual weirdo

Read this news article. It's about Geshe Michael Roach- a once very potential "Western Buddhist monk". But since the day he "fell for this girl" - who somehow has since then become a Lama too known as Lama Christie Mc Nally and after his long retreat practising a combination of Buddhist tantric yoga and Hindu yoga- he has become a "different" person altogether.

Why in the world would you want to not be apart by more than 15 feet if it is not worldly attachment? Why would doing that makes women being 'inclusive' in Buddhist practice?
If our spiritual foundation is not strong, we can be a geshe or have whatever title, we can end up being a weirdo rather than a genuine liberating Buddha. That is why developing the mind of renunciation is so very important, but often overlooked by Buddhists as unimportant.

And why in the world would you want to keep the monastic precepts when externally you donot behave like one? I said not behave like one because no Gelug monks would vow not be apart from a woman by more than 15 feet. And also, if you want to practice consort or yabyum practice, you should renounce the vows of a monk. The vinaya is very clear on this. Je Tsongkhapa was very clear about this. He flatly refused to practice with a consort as long as he held the vows of a monk. In fact, not just gelug monks...any monk of whatever tradition would be expected to disrobe if he wants to have a consort, whether celibate or not.

But nowadays people are greedy. They want to be part of the community of sangha as well as enjoy the more flexible lifestyle of a layperson. These persons are defiling the community of Sangha. It is unacceptable. You should not wear the monk's robes one day and the next day decide to wear normal layperson's clothes, and interchange these 2 types of clothes at your own whims and fancy without critical reason. By critical it is normally understood as health, safety or politically-enforced reasons or other reasons beyond your control. The reason should not be merely because it is allowed by someone else. As a monk, the person owes a greater duty to the entire community of Sangha because he represents the Third Jewel of Buddhism's Three Jewels. The Sangha Jewel as a part of the Buddhist culture and institution must be respected. Even though I am only a layperson, the Sangha Jewel is important enough for me to make this sharing.

BE VERY CAREFUL! Don't be greedy for high tantric practices if you have not even got your foundation a strong base. Many Buddhists with high aspirations have collapsed from lofty heights and please, donot think it will not happen to you. There is a very thin line separating divine pride and delusive pride. The former will enable you to realise Buddhahood but the latter will only make people think you've got "a screw loose somewhere up there". There are plenty of examples of the latter where nowadays we know of "masters" claiming to be "Living Buddha" or reincarnation of "this and that rinpoche" or tulku of who and who. And just because someone gave them the recognition, people automatically assume they are enlightened beings without investigating any further.

Yes - dear me, this blog is especially to remind myself. It is not intended to be a critic of anyone. But if you feel offended, then I am truly sorry and I apologise. But if you feel offended, then I am truely sorry. However, I do sincerely feel sad everytime I find someone purportedly going "off". Often when they do things like what was reported in the news article above or when they make claims of being this and that Living Buddha or reincarnation of this and that great master, they themselves do not feel their actions are weird. Through the years, I do know of persons who had gone "off" mentally in their spiritual endeavour. And I cannot guarantee myself that I won't fall too just like them. I will if I am not careful. But I hope not. I pray not. So all of us must be careful! So, I write this for self-reflection. And a gentle reminder not to mix practices of different religions, if you're not sure what would be the result.

I'll end this sharing with a verse to reflect the state of things nowadays.

"Fake masters are showered with gold and silver, treated better than kings,
While Buddhas walk amongst sentient beings unrecognised!"

- edited Jan. 29, Thurs.

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