Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Preventing Degeneration of Holy Dharma

The degeneration of Buddhas teachings is inevitable. Buddha Maitreya will come because the Dharma has dissappeared. Our job is to make sure it does not degenerate on our watch!

We need to understand what is pure and what is degeneration. What are the signs of degeneration and do we keep silent when it is happening? The truth is that there will always be manifestations of wrathful behaviour whenever there is any trace of degeneration. The real question is, when we encounter people who are wrathful, shocking, challenging us, do we see them as emanations or a force of evil?

In the 1980s in this tradition, it was seen as normal to challenge each other in this way, and the teacher would often mock (and by doing so) warn clearly of the signs and dangers of degenerating the tradition. Using elaborate and comical theoretical scenarios and often posing themselves as the 'clown' who behaves in this degenerate manner. One example was mocking how we might use our status as a 'buddhist' to impress people, make friends, gain status and maybe even make money.

Now there is silence and no criticism is allowed. It is as if the 10 youthful wrathful attendants and many of Shugdens retinue have been gagged. When we do Kangso (extensive Shudgen prayers) we transform local guardians, ghosts, spirits - all those we fear and see as enemies or challengers - into Dharma Protectors who are emanations of Shugden. There is a reason for this! These beings CAN FUNCTION to protect and enhance the tradition. It all depends how we see them. If someone comes along like a crazy Drukpa Kunleg with a donkey saying can he join your monastery as he has a good voice and all you care about is music, we should be like those monks he spoke to. Thanking the crazy person for teaching then telling the story saying he is emanation of Shugden. Not he is an evil man. Of course you send them away, we cant have Buddhist centres filled with wildness and wierdness. But to say they are evil beings is totally wrong. To have a sadness that we are surrounded by enemies. Who decided they were enemies? We did! And so the protection for the tradition is reducing because we reject the teachings and warnings instead of being blessed and inspired by them.

To protect the teaching in the Gompa itself from degenerating is what will protect the rest. Any problem can be solved via a teacher. Therefore below I am going to post a summary on pure teachings based on the differences between Geshe Kelsangs style and western teachers style. Of course all comment is welcome and if my article is wrong and comments are made I will edit it. Its important to be accurate and correct

Geshe Kelsang teachings are always demonstrating the following Dharmas:

Unconditional love
Unassuming love
Faith in others
Unrestricting love
uncontrolling love
Unlecturing love
Unarrogant love
Humble love
Thoughful love
Intuitive love
Considerate love
Careful love
Unforcing love
Gentle love
Respectful love
Equality love
No favourites love
Focus on meaning of Dharma
Focus on future lives

We need to be aware that students copy their teacher and so we are creating a tradition of how western people teach. As Geshe Kelsangs teaching style becomes a memory and unseen by the next generation, these lineages could be lost as well as these demonstrations of love. Also the instructions given can change meaning if not taught with love. For example without seeing all in front as equal and precious we might give a teaching only for new people or only for experienced people. It is quite easy to reform a teaching so all people benefit from it and its powerful for all as indeed Geshe Kelsang did achieve every time he taught without exception.


I sincerely believe the ITTP (Teacher Training Programme) would benefit greatly from having videos of Geshe Kelsangs teaching style studied and discussed as part of the curriculum. Perhaps after 2 students give a talk on a topic, play a video where Geshela teaches that very topic, and then discuss the differences.

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