Something To Be Aware Of: Gurus and Old Practitioners
The subtle problem of spiritual achievements
We all fall into the trap of wanting to make our life comfortable but, spiritually speaking, this is where the devil gets its teeth in! Here, we have to remember that the devil is our own internal, ordinary mind that clings to desires and loathings – that which we call ‘ego’. As attachment to spiritual achievement, it’s a problem at the highest level, but it can also be that which tips us over the edge 😀 It’s why the devil can never win, because the devil is an illusion.
There are certain characteristics and behaviours that we notice in others that may give us an uneasy feeling … before we experience and admit it within ourselves.
Old practitioners do not get angry because they know it won’t make them feel good. Desire gets worse when we know the Dharma makes things good for us. We understand that jealousy and pride will rob us of the comfortable (and complacent) attitude that we have: being stuck on our fixation – our attachment to bliss and happiness – our desire hasn’t actually diminished at all.
We learn not to be proud because people will put us down, and we will feel bad. There is a genuine confidence with the teachings because we have been practising them for a while and they make us happy. This confidence is mixed with pride that we know so much: we’re not harming people because we can deal with our emotions, and we secretly think we are special.
We have learned to control ourselves and our environment in order to be ‘happy’.
We are in a ‘feel good’ Dharma.
It’s possible that we have come more intelligent, but somehow we are more self centred – we are the great Samsaric masters. This is easily done, and so we have to be honest about our basic wounded-ness, and everything we are covering up. It isn’t easy to be that truthful.
If we feel bad about such matters, it will only complicate the issue; it’s just good to be aware. We see that we put a spin on everything. We hear the teachings in the way we want to hear them, and we indulge ourselves. Becoming caught up in the culture of entertainment, we do whatever we want, but this is not ‘freedom’. Ultimately, it’s a relief to find and admit our hidden flaws, but that takes courage. Question everything.
All human organisations are subject to being … well, human. Spirituality is all about the reality of consciousness rather than acquiring a culture of ‘self’ respect and superiority. This is where spirituality moves into a religious organisation, which turns into politics and power. Old Tibet was a form of feudal system in which people had obligations to the guru – and nowadays, gurus still have their own kingdoms. We should not just follow a guru blindly and accept everything he or she says as everything has to be examined by us. Teachers are not to be adored: they are merely a reminder of the essence of the teaching because the essence of the teaching is what we are, and is within us all the time.
We shouldn’t blindly follow others, but at the same time, we shouldn’t dwell too long on what we might perceive as a mistake otherwise we will be in danger of corrupting our inner peace through a self-indulgence of criticism. We can choose to stay or move on. We may not all on the same path, but our inner wisdom essence is the same.
The Dalai Lama explains about Lamaism and its problems: