Not all Rolls Royce-driving tulkus…

An interesting piece by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, better known to some as a film director and writer than as a lama,  appeared on The Buddhist Channel today. He wrote:

We must aspire to galvanize myriad manifestations of the Buddha, not just throne-hopping, Rolls Royce-driving tulkus who are a product of nepotism."

~Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche in The Real Dark Age on The Buddhist Channel Jan. 30, 2012

He writes earlier in the piece:

Shakyamuni with his lotus feet may approach your doorstep for alms but if we keep on being obsessed with Patek Philipe watches, fame or friends, or six pack abs, then Buddha’s truth is an annoyance, an inconvenient truth.

I had to look up Patek Philipe watches because I’ve never encountered such things. They cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars for the best models from the descriptions I found and make the Rolex look like a Timex if one is to believe the hype.

Moving on.

This teacher’s approach is one that resonates with me a lot. I enjoyed the book What Makes You Not a Buddhist, which quite a few people have also read as far as I can tell.

Then I think of teachers like Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, who just walked away from what could have been great renown, with hundreds if not thousands of students. He left two letters, one of which was for the general public and the other for his students. In the latter he stated, in part:

I have made a firm decision, based on the advice of the great masters of times past and my own heart’s desire, to, as the example goes, take the reins into my own hands. Our lives are as fragile as a bubble and the activities of this life are as endless as the waves of the ocean. Yet whatever we do, we should rely upon and place our hopes in the Buddha’s sacred and divine teachings. It is the Dharma that will benefit both us and other sentient beings. For this and other reasons, I have become disillusioned with the experiences of this life.

With genuine conviction in the lineage and instructions I have received, along with a motivation to be of benefit to others, various causes and conditions have prompted me to make the decision to wander alone, without fixed location, in remote mountain ranges. Though I do not claim to be like the great masters of times past, I am now embarking on this journey as a mere reflection of these teachers, as a faithful imitation of the example they set. For a number of years, my training will consist of simply leaving behind my connections, so please do not be upset with my decision.

There’s an example being set with these teachers. I hope people are paying attention to it.

If being a famous Tulku or a film director or an author of books or a teacher of thousands or a name on many people’s lips isn’t enough, then what is?

3 comments on “Not all Rolls Royce-driving tulkus…

  1. had to look up Patek Philipe watches because I’ve never encountered such things.

    You never actually own a Patek Phillipe. You just care for it so the next generation doesn’t have to sell it to avoid becoming one of the unwashed masses.

    Yeah, in that set that buys them, Rolex is Casio. I keep telling my wife that. Seriously, they are. Though Hublot’s probably better. :-) Not that we can afford either a Rolex or Patek Phillipe, let alone a Hublot. It’s an absurd thing to own …

    • Philippe, you philistines! Philippe!

      If those tulkus can afford Pateks, they’re paid better than I thought, though.

      However, the Calatrava starts at fourteen large. I’m pretty sure you could afford one of those, Mumon, if you really wanted one. Hell, even I could, if I saved up for a year or so. And of course there are lovely used ones on the market, previously owned by thrusting businessmen gone down in the world, or oil sheikhs who upgraded to the next model.

      Yes, absurd. Marques like Patek are just very high-end mass production; pure status symbols and conspicuous consumption.

      I am fascinated by watches, though, and I would be sad if the craft of mechanical watchmaking was lost. I don’t want one of these either, but I think the world is a slightly better place for holding someone who makes them.

      • Petteri-
        That’s why I’d gravitate toward Hublot anyway – it’s easier to spell. :-)

        But most likely I’d get neither; I might get a less controversial Grand Seiko Hi-Beat.

        But I agree with your point: I own an Oris aviator, actually. I too think the world is a better place for the existence of these design objects. But in my economic circumstances it’d be as crazy to get a Hublot as it would to by a Strad for my kid to practice on.

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