I was going to write about reflections I’ve been having about being alone in the midst of wild nature – during which times I can feel ecstatically free – and loneliness which creeps into my mind more these days since I’ve retired from Order activities.
But, this morning in meditation I was reflecting on the different motivations we have for living the Buddhist life; the different myths that drive our lives. Some people, as it were devotees of Avalokitesvara, are strongly motivated by compassion for the world; some are driven by the quest for Wisdom with which they could cut off the bonds of ego, and their sadhana would be Manjusri. I am driven by the desire for Freedom, the liberation of Milarepa which is in essence Vajrayogini. I was reflecting on the reality of these transcendental forces feeling something of them move in my soul and I started to think about Vajrapani. He is supremely confident because he stands in the Ultimate and he defeats the maras because he is therefore unassailable.
Coming back to earth a bit, a certain resignation letter came to into my mind and I started to compose a response for Shabda which I later wrote down:
Over the last few years I have read various comments in Shabda and elsewhere effectively suggesting that people like me, who have been engaged in the work of the Triratna Order over the past forty or fifty years and who defend Bhante, his teaching and the movement he established, are doing so simply because they wish to maintain their socio-religious status or because they are psychologically dependent on their membership of a religious cult – i.e. Triratna. I would like to challenge this accusation.
I, and some others, are disciples of Sangharakshita because we know from direct experience that his teaching and the supportive conditions of the movement he established have enabled us to live full and generally happy lives and, more importantly, have opened a door to Insight. For this reason I consider myself a member of the Order he founded and I wish to continue following his teaching and practices with vigour and – with others who share my confidence – to pass them on faithfully to other people in various ways.
Almost thirty years ago, in series of discussions with a very good friend of mine who was one of the six Dharma heirs of Suzuki Roshi, we realised that every Buddhist is both a member of the Mahasangha because they follow the main tenets of the Buddhist tradition and of a particular tradition or Order which teaches the specific dharma-vinaya that they follow. To be useful a particular tradition must be clear in what it teaches.
So, I must raise an strong objection to any erstwhile brothers and sisters who denounce my teacher as false and impute base motivations to my confidence in his teaching. I know my teacher was genuine and for this reason I wish to preserve his teaching.