Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

This video is not particularly interesting and in calling India a 'Hindu Buddhist country' it demonstrates the speaker's sparse knowledge of Buddhism. Also, it's not about a monk who sold his expensive car but it does mention a monk who tried to get someone to buy him one, a senior monk from a 'top monastery in Kandy.' The reason I am drawing your attention to this video is because the speaker's experience almost exactly mirrors one I once had in Sri Lanka and one that quite a few people I know have also had in Buddhist Asia. In the speaker's case the experience led him away from the Dhamma. In my case it strengthened my resolve to know the true Dhamma. The speaker's experience also reinforces I point that I think is absolutely crucial to the progress of the Dhamma. Western Buddhists, or indeed anyone new to the Dhamma, should not 'take Refuge' in Burmese culture, Tibetan culture, Japanese culture or in Thai culture. They should take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. They should not idealize Burma, Tibet, Japan or Thailand; rather they should make the Buddha, the Perfectly Enlightened One, their ideal. One would hope that lands where the Dhamma has prevailed for centuries were better than others and that those who wear the yellow robe were better than others, but this is not always the case. And it's pretty much the same for Hinduism, Taoism Christianity, Sikhism and other religions too. The Dhamma resides in the heart and mind of those who truly treasure it, not in any particular cultural milieu or geographical location. Have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvG3wDL_zPE&feature=related. Beyond the 'buy me a car' incident there is nothing else of any interest in the video.

While you are on line also have a look at this unusually inspiring, insightful and moving blog. http://www.shinscancerblog.blogspot.com/. It really made my day.


Anonymous said...

I'm not going to watch the video, but great point.

Taking refuge in the Triple Gem instead of a culture around a tradition is what directed me more towards the Theravadin tradition instead of the Zen tradition. Yeah, the robes look cool, and the temples are beautiful.... and Zen gives me an opportunity to be married and be a priest, but that ain't what it's about.

I also think that's why I have a preference for the Western Vipassana Movement (teachers like Jack Kornfield and Gil Fronsdal), because those guys are your normal everyday guys, no robes or shaved heads with special titles and all, meaning a blue collar country boy like me from the middle of the Bible Belt has some hope and doesn't have to wait for rebirth to end up in a monastery to practice.

teckguan said...

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Shravasti Dhammika said...

Dear Jamie,
From the middle of the Bible belt? And you survived? Nice going. May the Buddha's words continue to guide and protect you on your future journey.