Safety in Practice within Religion and Spirituality

A number of issues within Buddha Dharma have come to my attention recently from various sources. Since my values are about loving kindness and compassion as much as I can I make an effort not to dig up the ‘dirt’ sort of speak. You can read my first book Resilience through Yoga & meditation to discover the reasons behind the why.

What do we put our attention on, when scary-dirt comes up in front of us?

I believe the ‘dirt’ needs to be dug up in a safe space of a retreat under a care of a teacher who understands both what type of ‘dirt’ will arise and will be stirred and how long will it last and what kind of effects will it take on the person.
We have to take into consideration that people come to Buddhism and to Eastern traditions with a goal of achieving something, exploring something new/discovery and with a goal (conscious or unconscious) to fix something. With these three as a plinth, finding ourselves in the land of the new religions and spiritualities opens the possibilities that are endless both for success and for suffering.

This is why as an accredited teacher I recommend others to have accreditation and credentials to back up your work, as well as insurance and wavers to deal with the realities of life that may arise to the surface unexpectedly in some cases. People are not ‘badly intentioned’ I make an effort to notice and help cultivate the good and positive qualities in students, yet the process of study of Buddhism, nature of mind, tantra work, and the composite mechanics of Buddhism is designed to surface attachments, aversions and problems that need to be addressed. This we call ‘purifying our karma’. All this hangs solidly (and is a humorous thing for me) on the illusory concept of identity and association with self – the illusory ‘I’ is what creates the biggest problems in the modern world. the identification with the self as solid and concrete is the fundamental error that all people make, looking for the I and the ways in which we connect to and with the ‘I’ are the basis for the third root of suffering: Ignorance.

Some people are easier to take care of than others, while other people seem to take up more energy as well as more effort and also require different support systems. The body, mind, psychology and the relations that each student brings to the teacher are the matrix that drives the collective of that teacher’s Sangha as well as of the individual (and connected) students.

In all these cases we have to evaluate both the individual, the way we function as an organization/community as well as the way we function as a society and culture within which we are providing these services.

We can not forget that today more so than in the past; in 21t century being a teacher of he dharma means providing a service of education, with a promise of enlightenment. In the past the community played a greater aspect and in today’s work due to the implementation of technology we have severed some connections and now some people are preparing to integrate themselves back with humanity and to live in more cohesive communities, like they did in the past. Simple society and government rule does not provide the home or heart that people are looking for and needing. Buddha Dharma with its some thousand year old history has the necessary tools for educating people with a knowledgable way of cultural and societal ways of life.
Students need to be really made aware of what the Buddhist work entails and what the ramifications of their decisions are and how they will affect their lives. Without that students may find themselves lost, and confused and unable to make the choices and decisions.

With the sudden and unexpected emergence of the negativities in the Dharma I think it is best to focus on the following principles of the Buddha dharma:

Four Noble Truths;

The Four Noble Truths (Skt. catvāryāryasatyā; Tib. འཕགས་པའི་བདེན་པ་བཞི་, pakpé denpa shyi; Wyl. ‘phags pa’i bden pa bzhi) or the Four Realities of the Aryas, were taught by Buddha Shakyamuni as the central theme of the so-called first turning of the wheel of the Dharma after his attainment of enlightenment. They are:
the truth (or reality) of suffering (Tib. སྡུག་བསྔལ་གྱི་བདེན་པ་, Skt. duḥkha-satya) which is to be understood,
the truth (or reality) of the origin of suffering (Tib. ཀུན་འབྱུང་བའི་བདེན་པ་, Skt. samudaya-satya), which is to be abandoned,
the truth (or reality) of cessation (Tib. འགོག་པའི་བདེན་པ་, Skt. nirodha-satya), which is to be actualized, and
the truth (or reality) of the path (Tib. ལམ་གྱི་བདེན་པ་, Skt. mārga-satya), which is to be relied upon.[1]

Noble Eight Fold Path;

The noble eightfold path (Skt. āryāṣṭāṅgamārga; Pali ariyāṭṭhaṅgikamagga; Tib. འཕགས་པའི་ལམ་ཡན་ལག་བརྒྱད་པ་, pakpé lam yenlak gyépa, Wyl. ‘phags pa’i lam yan lag brgyad pa), belonging to the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment, is practised on the path of meditation. It consists of:
correct view (Skt. samyagdṛṣṭi; Tib. ཡང་དག་པའི་ལྟ་བ་, Wyl. yang dag pa’i lta ba)
correct intention (or thought) (Skt. samyaksaṅkalpa; Tib. ཡང་དག་པའི་རྟོག་པ་, Wyl. yang dag pa’i rtog pa)
correct speech (Skt. samyagvāc; Tib. ཡང་དག་པའི་ངག་, Wyl. yang dag pa’i ngag)
correct action (or conduct) (Skt. samyakkarmānta; Tib. ཡང་དག་པའི་ལས་ཀྱི་མཐའ་, Wyl. yang dag pa’i las kyi mtha’)
correct livelihood (Skt. samyagājīva; Tib. ཡང་དག་པའི་འཚོ་བ་, Wyl. yang dag pa’i ‘tsho ba)
correct effort (Skt. samyagvyāyāma; Tib. ཡང་དག་པའི་རྩོལ་བ་, Wyl. yang dag pa’i rtsol ba)
correct mindfulness (Skt. samyaksmṛti; Tib. ཡང་དག་པའི་དྲན་པ་, Wyl. yang dag pa’i dran pa)
correct concentration (Skt. samyaksamādhi; Tib. ཡང་དག་པའི་ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་, Wyl. yang dag pa’i ting nge ‘dzin)

The 6 Paramitas;

Bodhisattva sangha from the Longchen Nyingtik field of merit
The six paramitas or ‘transcendent perfections’ (Skt. ṣaṭpāramitā; Tib. ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་དྲུག་, parol tu chinpa druk; Wyl. pha rol tu phyin pa drug) comprise the training of a bodhisattva, which is bodhichitta in action.
Generosity: to cultivate the attitude of generosity.
Discipline: refraining from harm.
Patience: the ability not to be perturbed by anything.
Diligence: to find joy in what is virtuous, positive or wholesome.
Meditative concentration: not to be distracted.
Wisdom: the perfect discrimination of phenomena, all knowable things.
and 5 Precepts.

The 5 Precepts;

I undertake to observe the rule:

  1. to abstain from taking life
  2. to abstain from taking what is not given
  3. to abstain from sensuous misconduct
  4. to abstain from false speech
  5. to abstain from intoxicants as tending to cloud the mind

27 Sources of Mistaken Conduct;

Twenty-seven sources of mistaken conduct (Tib. ཉེས་སྤྱོད་ཀྱི་འབྱུང སྒོ་ཉི་ཤུ་རྩ་བདུན་པོ་, Wyl. nyes spyod kyi ’byung sgo nyi shu rtsa bdun po) – these are mentioned in chapter five of the Bodhicharyavatara, verses 48 to 53:
Verse 48:
(1) attachment (chags pa)
(2) aversion (khro ba)
Verse 49:
(3) to be wild (rgod pa)
(4) mockery (ga zhar)
(5) pride (nga rgyal)
(6) self-infatuation (rgyags pa)
(7) exposing others’ faults (mtshang ’bru ba)
(8) causing dissension (skyor ’byin)
(9) deceit (bslu ba’i sems)
Verse 50:
(10) praising oneself (bdag la bstod pa)
(11) criticizing others (gzhan la smod pa)
(12) insulting others (gzhan la gshe ba)
(13) picking a quarrel (’gyed pa)
Verse 51:
(14) desiring gain (rnyed par ’dod pa)
(15) desiring respect (bkur sti ’dod pa)
(16) desiring fame (grags par ’dod pa)
(17) desiring a circle of attendants (g.yog ’khor ’dod pa)
(18) desiring personal service (rim gro ’dod pa)
Verse 52:
(19) wishing to give up working for the benefit of others (gzhan don yal bar ’dor ba ’dod pa)
(20) desiring to pursue one’s own welfare (rang don gnyer bar ’dod pa)
(21) wishing to have pointless conversations and conversations that incite attachment and aversion (don med chags sdang gi gtam smra bar ’dod pa)
Verse 53:
(22) being impatient (mi bzod pa)
(23) being lazy (le lo)
(24) being fainthearted (’jigs pa)
(25) being boastful (spyi brtol)
(26) talking nonsense (mu cor smra ba) and
(27) being attached to one’s own group (rang phyogs la zhen pa)

The infinite wisdom of the Buddha Dharma points us to simple and profound reminders of impermanence and also the root of all suffering.

Meditation and dialog will continue to be the most important tools in not only reaching enlightenment but also in developing proper ways to utilize wisdom and develop Boddhichitta as we grow in the evolution of humanity.

Continue to practice with authorized, accredited teachers.

Information Source: Rigpa Wiki

Image: Adobe Stock

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