Saturday, April 30, 2011

Substance over form - Applying Accounting Principle in Religion

I got to know that there are people who is of the opinion that we generally do not say "Rinpoche has had a stroke" or "Rinpoche has suffered a stroke". This is true. However, my readers come from all over the world and not necessarily only from FPMT and may not even be Buddhists. The profile of my readers are wide ranging and they may not be able to understand what it means by "Rinpoche had manifested illness". For people within a particular Buddhist group, who are sending messages to their own e-group, then it would be appropriate to phrase it that way. And I would have phrased it that way too. 

However there are those of us who are only reporting the news in a general sense and it does not mean that we have any less devotion to the guru than anyone else. It is completely absurd to think that if it is said that way, it means we do not see Rinpoche as a Buddha. Guru devotion is a deeply personal experience and it is only between you and the guru. 

Nobody else should be the judge of whether you are devoted to him or not, at least I believe we cannot judge merely on a superficial level, i.e. merely on the external behavior or written or spoken words only. We need to go deeper and understand the context and circumstances of the action or written/spoken words. Even though I have not used the word "manifest", it does not mean on a personal level I do not know or cannot see Rinpoche as Buddha. If you check Ven. Roger's first email (the 1st paragraph) on the matter, he was also not using the word "manifest". It does not mean I am any less devoted. That doe snot mean he did not see Rinpoche as a Buddha. I am sure he does!

I can see that people are starting to take guru devotion to an absurd level. There are other places in my blog that I have described my experiences but it would not be appropriate for me to repeat them here merely to show how devoted I am. I won't do that. So if you still think I am any less devoted by saying or writing it that way, it's your business. Unlike some people, I do not need to advertise my guru devotion by either politically or spiritually correct constructed sentences.

If your sentence is politically or spiritually correctly constructed, does that mean you truly have the correct devotion to your guru? Not necessarily. Conversely, if your sentence is not politically or spiritually correct, does that mean you do not have true devotion? Not necessarily too. 

Therefore, we can still say things on a conventional way, i.e. the way others usually say it too, and not merely to say it in a way to prove we have guru devotion. As long as it's there in your heart, and you do really care for your gurus and hold them in your hearts as Buddhas, and its reflected in other aspects of your life as well (and not merely in how you say things), don't worry about superficial matters! I am not saying it is not important, but at the end of the day, it is substance that matters over form. If the form is there but there is no substance inside, it is really useless. While we should not be sloppy over form, only if there is substance, will spiritual realisations come about. If you do not know what "substance over form" mean, ask your qualified accountants. I learned from them too. They should be able to tell you. I guess that's how you apply an accounting prinicple in religion.

Anyway, the latest update I have on Kyabje Lama Zopa is dated 28 April, 2011 as below.

Dear Friends,

This morning was an early start for Rinpoche. The physiotherapist came to his room at 9 a.m. sharp and began Rinpoche’s training, helping him to understand how he can get out of bed by himself and into a wheel chair with the minimum amount of help.

 Then the two therapists and I (with Rinpoche in the wheelchair) went to the gym. Sangpo and I had dressed Rinpoche in his swimming shorts and singlet. (This is the first time ever Rinpoche has gone to the gym, in gym style clothes.)

 Rinpoche spent about one hour in the gym and the therapists were quite surprised by how eager and fast he was in learning to reuse his right leg again. The therapists are mainly concentrating on the right leg moving (the right arm has no movement at all, but that will come later). In the gym session Rinpoche was mainly learning how to help himself get onto the wheel chair and off and back on to the bed, and some simple walking movements.

 Rinpoche still is not able to walk unaided but the process has started. At the end of the session the doctor and the two therapists were quite pleased with Rinpoche’s first session in the gym and his progress. Tomorrow they want to Rinpoche to go in the hydro pool to start exercises there. Later today Rinpoche will have a session with the speech therapist and the occupational therapist.

 Both the therapists were surprised by how much Rinpoche was laughing and joking through the session. Rinpoche commented to the therapists that he thinks his progress is partly due to the 3,000 monks in Sera Je doing prayers.


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