We Cannot Be Honest In A Spiritual Centre
We can be honest outside…
…but in being honest, we are acknowledging a part of ourselves that we are frightened of, and that we fear could open a floodgate of doubts. We have doubts because we are uncertain and lack total confidence. We have joined something which has not been explained completely, so people become protective and defensive.
There is a difference between being Buddhist and being a practitioner.
There is a difference between being a practitioner and being a person whose practice is the continuity in daily life.
We are looking for something to give us a sense of direction, something that we are longing for. Interestingly,the word ‘competitiveness’ comes from competit: “to strive for”, so you can see the dual problem. We either long for or strive for something that can inspire us, or that same thing can make us blind to anything other.
After a moment of honesty, a barrier is created to protect that which has been exposed, as we feel vulnerable. ‘Honest’ is honest about the way we feel; although the feeling may be mistaken, we are being honest by revealing that is how we actually do feel. This isn’t being true to ourselves; it’s being honest that we don’t understand. Down the pub, we may be honest in expressing our opinions, but in a dharma centre, we expect others to be more empathetic and tolerant of our misunderstandings. But this isn’t the case. If we are honest, people don’t like it. They don’t want to be contaminated by an alternative view to the one to which they have conformed. If they are honest and they speak as they find, then – metaphorically – they have to kill you 😉 . They do this by not speaking to you again, as they don’t want anyone to acknowledge their weakness and confusion. Pity, because that is precisely their path.
This is subtle hope and fear. People are striving for something and do not want to be contaminated by the doubts of others. This reveals a lack of compassion, empathy, understanding and real confidence.
This competitiveness gives rise to pride and jealousy, which reveals ignorance of everyone’s true nature. Competitiveness is having or displaying a strong desire to appear to be more knowledgeable or successful than others. Alternatively, we could display inverted pride of being extra humble.
In ordinary life, emotions happen all the time, as we make judgement to cope, but it is not so intense. A spiritual centre reflects our emotions, smashing us in the face…wham! This is because we still think we shouldn’t have emotions – and this is where proper instruction is essential to understand the wisdom aspect in everything, including the so-called negative emotions which are vital for progress.
If we were honest, compassionate and confident we could spar cheerfully with one another, and be of mutual benefit. But all we seem to want to do is appear better than others – especially in the eyes of the teacher – so we conform to a system and gaze at the guru, hoping that will put everything right. But it doesn’t, as we still have to go home. People are people and protect ‘their self’.
Outside the dharma centres, ordinary people are often more helpful and friendly, and do not have the same intensity. They may no have awareness of “the view” but for short moment, they have a good heart.
In short moments we all have a good heart.
The good heart is our true nature.