The rain is raining all around. This time of year, the lake below my house is visible through the trees, which are bare of leaves.
I've received an application for some Buddhist training which is quite daunting. It's asking for the story of my life (!) which, at this age, is rather full. What do I include? What do I leave out? The divorces? (not relevant) the suicides (also not relevant except that my brother's death propelled me into deeper practice)
They are looking for reliable folk who will stay the course and offer substance to their local community. All well and good. But. I'm old. And white. So there's that. They've warned me that they will be reading many more applications than they can accommodate so the whole thing may be moot. And I'm not sure where I stand right now with all of it.
After this past year of turmoil in one of my Dharma communities arounds sexual misconduct and the larger Me Too movement, I am suspicious of old forms. Including the 'sage on the stage' model of teaching Buddhism. this isn't to say that I revere and love my teachers, all cut from that model, but I'm looking for something different, something that brings everyone into the room with their own wisdom. Call me impatient and I know just getting the hang of meditating is an important first step, but I oppose the hierarchy that is modeled in Dharma centers. Oppose it. And I believe when we put someone on a throne, abuse of power happens. There are plentiful examples.
Perhaps a Dharma teacher can set me straight but I've long felt uncomfortable with the structure. Almost all religions have a similar structure-the 'expert' who doles out advice and spiritual teachings, and the audience, who presumably doesn't have access to those same teachings. The Buddha did it by himself, he taught himself the path to liberation from suffering and his many teachings all point to that. But he didn't say, worship me and all will be well. He said, try it for yourself and see if it works. So I literally follow that.
Sure I have Buddhas and Quan Yins all over my house. But don't mistake that. They are reminders that we (WE) have the answers in our own heart-minds. The Buddhas or Gods or whatever you wanna call it are all WITHIN US, not in some external place or person.
Noticing I'm hyperventilating. Sorry.
Enough of this rant. Feel free to argue with me, or agree, it's all good. I"m just trying to figure it out. For as long as I have more time to be alive, I will be investigating the truth of the end of suffering, for the benefit of all beings.
Love and kisses,