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.
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?