Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/16/2015

Delusion

This weekend I was fortunate enough to have helped bring Bhante Saddhasara to Manhattan for the second time and to be involved in making plans for him to return on a more regular basis. In doing so I have met wonderful people from different backgrounds and with their own personal, spiritual narratives that both she’d light on my own and brought me to reexamine just what it is I am doing. 

My recent rejection from training under a Seon master who I will not name was difficult at first for me but, with time and reflection, I am beginning to wit as a blessing. I always knew that the training, if I were accepted, would have to be taken with a grain of salt and I would necessity leave to the side those things that didn’t accord work my own (Theravadin) understandings. But after talking at length to a new Dhamma friend about her heart-rending experience with a lay teacher and hope it almost destroyed her faith completely,  I see now just how dangerous it can be to associate oneself with a tradition that does not clearly define and emphasize morality at every point. 

This is not to say that one cannot progress in another school or that there aren’t problems with monks and mums in the various Theravadin nikayas, just that the chances seen to be stack more in your favor with a solid adherence to the Vinaya.

Delusion is, almost by definition, something we cannot see in our daily life and it can sneak in to pull the rug out from under us at almost any time. By attempting to follow the Doctrine and Discipline of the Lord Buddha as best as I can understand it I hope to give delusion as few footholds as possible. May the sasana last for another 2500 years and may we all work hard for our liberation!

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Responses

  1. Yes! I share the same aspiration friend. As far as teachers and disappointment–I experienced something that has me questioning set views of “right” and “wrong”…my sister attended a Tibetan Buddhist retreat and learned the Red Vajrasattva mantra. She shared the mantra with me, which I chanted during my daily practice for over a month. She had made a recording of the group chanting the mantra and the first time I heard it I burst into tears, there was such a strong resonance and familiarity about it. During the month that I included the mantra in my practice, I chanted for the healing of many people, for the awakening of sentient beings to their true nature, etc.–only pure intentions. Recently she told me that she was chided by another Tibetan Buddhist friend who believes that my sister should not have shared the mantra with me, and that I need to receive “the empowerment” before I can rightfully repeat the mantra. Could you perhaps shed some light on this? I have stopped chanting the mantra because it now carries a negative charge– which is a shame, given that it brought me great hope and strength through the repetition of it during the time that it was included in my daily practice. Who to trust? Is it true that it “should not” have been shared? If I was chanting with a pure heart, how could that have harmed anyone? But now that I have been told that the mantra wasn’t supposed to be given to me without an empowerment, does chanting it become immoral, or is this only another construct of some other deluded mind or deluded belief system? Sigh.


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