September 13, 2009

Teachers of imperfect reputation

A few lines from Nathan on Dangerous Harvests caught my eye.
I’ve been reading Sogyal Rinpoche’s Tibetan Book of Living and Dying before my bedtime meditation. I’m aware that Rinpoche was the subject of multiple scandals during the 1990’s, so his reputation isn’t so good I suppose. But regardless of reputation, and issues with his “in the flesh” teaching, this book is filled with practice gems, and it’s illumination of the Bardo teachings for modern practitioners is extremely important.
He didn’t dwell on this thought, so I’m expanding on it from my own perspective. Words are not necessarily false because the speaker is imperfect, but likewise nor do wise and truthful words imply the speaker’s perfection. In building new Buddhist institutions, we often have to wrestle with teachers of less-than-desirable reputations and even contradictory teachings; this dilemma applies almost everywhere. Regardless, I tend to believe that if you have well-fitted teachers, they will help guide you to be a better person, and those close to you will notice this change.

1 comment :

  1. Hi Arun,

    "Words are not necessarily false because the speaker is imperfect, but likewise nor do wise and truthful words imply the speaker’s perfection." Very good point, and I totally agree. I didn't want to wade into the whole Rinpoche scandal issue because I just don't know what is true and want isn't. I've read plenty of accounts, both supportive accounts of Rinpoche and very negative accounts, but getting into all that seemed a distraction to what I wanted to say.

    I appreciate that you, too, focus on what we can learn from these issues, regardless of the specifics of the background of any given imperfect teacher.

    Nathan

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