Saturday, February 28, 2015

a case of the spiritual no-no's

I don't want to get into a latter-day pissing contest about it, but because I took some trouble to respond to a question about spiritual dishonesty posed on a Buddhist bulletin board, I think I will save it here:
is this a series of allegations that will bring the chickens home to roost, or merely another sensational flash-in-the-pan that will prove to be unfounded...?
Federica -- Your question is too narrowly focused, as if one or the other options provided some kind of 'answer' or 'explanation' of the issue. Having lived through three sex-and-power-based eruptions at the Zen center I once attended (and you may well ask why I hung around for three) ... and having seen how it all panned out in the end (from the 1970's to the present) ... well, I know that the bright-eyed devotees may be offended (it's not my teacher after all ... my teacher is yummy and enlightened and wise and kind and holy, etc. etc.) but the sociopathic-asshole gene is an equal-opportunity employer just as the supportive and loving and sincere gene is: It's not a matter of either/or; it's a matter of both/and. Should we write such behavior off? Absolutely not. But should we expect it to be solved with heart-felt get-togethers at which 'deep listening' and ethical manifestos evolve? Get real!

The Vatican, the Jews, the Boy Scouts, nunneries and monasteries, posh prep schools, well-heeled universities and for all I know Islamic State ... same stuff, different venue. Each example of off-the-tracks behavior may be heart-rending and cruel and hypocritical and infuriating ... but another TED talk and another avowal of transparency and regret simply won't cut the real-time mustard. No one, as far as I can figure out, can talk human nature to death.

Is my outlook bleak and pessimistic and too sweeping when it comes to spiritual adventure? I don't think so, but of course others seeking improvements and relief in their lives are likely to disagree... there is a personal necessity/insistence about praising whatever spiritual discipline 'I' follow: Why else should I take it up? My ethical and rarefied and pure way is the one true way ... it's the other guys who have the problem. :)OK ... knock yourself out... but at least take the trouble to investigate and find out what is true ... not true from my point of view, but true from your own.

Spiritual discipline does not mean being some kind of credulous, forelock-tugging wuss. Call out the hypocrites and damn all damnable behavior! Stick up for those who are wounded! Live the outrage! Play the psychological explanation card! Wax smooth and wise and understanding and at peace!

I can't tell anyone what to think or how to get around the cruelties of glowing gurus. Everyone has their own responsibility. My own bottom line is this: Religion is a lie (about like anything else) and it is up to the devotee to find the truth and healing properties within that lie. This may sound cynical, but I don't mean it with a cynical tone that a thoughtless atheist might employ. Lying is not a good idea, but how and why it's not a good idea is hardly contained in any book or text or religious group hug. It's worth some investigation ...

What are things like when they don't need fixing and we all do what we can to fix them?

1 comment:

  1. I'm guessing they'd be about the same, with less angst maybe.